In my post last night about the GOP's worries for next week during their convention I said it was something for the RNC and McCain to worry about. Checking this morning's National Hurricane Center's Gustave map and knowing I'm coordinating an event in New Orleans for tomorrow evening while most of the city prepares for it's anniversary of the arrival of Katrina, I'm heart broken over the latest developments of Gustav. Right now, the map shows it heading straight for Louisiana, which the upper-right quadrant (the worst area of the storm) set to track right over New Orleans coming Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The pictures and stories I've taken and heard of the recovery are incredible–read here: (The Dream They Call The City of New Orleans). What they don't need is another storm. Gustav at last reports last night was predicted to be at least a Cat 3 when it gets into the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.
Please say a prayer for cooler Gulf waters and for the people of New Orleans; so many of whom still are trying to rebuild. Yes, the GOP will be competing for media attention next week, but really, I'm more concerned with the people who will be fighting to keep every last thing they have in this world, and getting the heck out of the way of Gustav.
From April, on the Dads Center:
can hardly believe it’s Thursday, and at the same time, can’t believe
it’s just Thursday. What a fast week it’s been. I was not excited about
making a trip to NOLA Monday, but it turned out to be a very good
experience. The media coverage of our events was good, but I got to see
some gems that I didn’t expect to see. There were a couple of men who
were helping us from the NOLA area for our events. Nearly every person
I’ve talked with when I have been to New Orleans talks about how
they’ve got a contractor coming to their house, mostly either that day
or in the coming days. In St. Bernard Parish and even in Gentilly,
there still are many piles of rotted wood that have been removed from a
house sitting at the street awaiting pick up. I did notice that the
number of smaller trailers parked in front of houses has dropped
significantly since January, which means people are getting back into
their houses more and more. But as you stand in front of a school
waiting for a live shot, you can’t help but notice the number of full
dump trucks going by, the number of concrete trucks passing you by, and
semi trucks loaded with 2 x 4s and ply headed for somewhere nearby. And
the haunting X spray paint markers still are on many of the houses,
even revamped ones, I guess as a symbol of not being fully ready to let
go. The number at the bottom of the X is the number of people searchers
found dead in the home. It’s always better to see a 0 there, obviously.
Down on Canal Street Monday evening in the un-spring-like chill we
recently experienced, things were hopping. Tourists were out walking,
locals were out walking or doing what ever it was they do, and the
shops were open along the street. As I walked from the La Quinta on
Camp toward Canal Street I could not help but be fascinated by the
bricked buildings and the patchwork of concrete along the sidewalk and
road and imagine all the stories that could be told of events that had
happened along those spots throughout the many, many years of the
city’s history. There certainly is a special magic to this city from a
historical perspective, something I didn’t expect.
And so the guys we talked with told some incredible stories of
survival, of rebuilding, of adapting to the curves life tosses you.
There was a story of a man whose mother was in her late 80s and he
physically had to carry her out of her house before the Storm hit
because she’d been there most of her life and didn’t want to leave.
They went east toward Mississippi and the rains that came a week or so
later after Katrina flooded them from that spot, too, and now they’re
in Natchez, on the east side, and safe for now from flooding.
Then there was the discussion of “the Katrina Smell” as they call it
in NOLA. A smell of rotted wood, mold, etc. that lingers because of the
tens of thousands of homes that have yet to be touched that got water
in them from rising water or leaks in the roof and the spores of that
disaster still abound. They said they don’t fret so much about mold in
New Orleans like we might in other parts of the country. “This New
Orleans, we’ve got mold here 24/7.”
Then were photos that were taken of the inside of schools, places
where the water levels got as high as 22 feet. And now the schools back
open, looking brand new and life goes on.
I wish more was being done to capture the stories of rebuilding that
are going on. They are priceless and special and would make a great
documentary. I wish I was at a place in my life, too, where I could
take a few months to go down there with a camera crew and record some
of these incredible stories of survival and rebuilding, and share them
with the world. They would inspire new hope in mankind. And while as an
outsider up until Monday and Tuesday I would have questioned why anyone
would rebuild where they know another storm shall hit again in the
future, these fokes I talked with have a special love for their city,
one you don’t see in Dallas or Fort Worth. Texans will boast about how
glad they are to be from Texas and how everything here is done this way
and not that when they’re in other parts of the country, but in New
Orleans, these fokes love their city and they want to put their lives
back together, whatever shape in which that might be.