August 30th, 2005


More Katrina

I'm trying hard not to watch the news, the devastation of New Orleans. One official has described the city as "a nuclear holocaust without the radiation." Martiall law has been declared, and at this hour, there are no civil rights in the city of New Orleans. There's also no electricity, no drinking water, and no sewage. The evacuation continues, though now there are fears it may not be possible to get everyone out of the city. Mayor Nagin has confirmed that overnight a 200-ft. wide breach opened in the levee holding back Lake Ponchartrain "at the city's 17th Street Canal — near the city's center." He has also been quoted as saying, "We probably have 80 percent of our city underwater, with some sections of our city, the water is as deep as 20 feet." (quotes via And the water's still rising. I am so grateful that docbrite got out on Sunday afternoon, that's she's safe in Mississippi, but...what the hell do you say at moments like this? That beautiful city. All those people. And that's just New Orleans. There's still Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile. Fuck. I haven't talked with my mother in Birmingham since yesterday afternoon. I haven't been able to get her on the cell or landline. I'm sure she's safe, but it worries me, nonetheless. Here in Atlanta, it's still a little windy (gusts up to 26 mph) and some of the last cloud bands are racing across the sky. We had tornadoes yesterday, to the south, east, and north of the city. Carroll County seems to have been especially hard hit. If you're able to contribute to the American Red Cross, I urge to please do so now.

I spoke with Harlan last night. He'd been trying to contact me and Poppy, to be sure we were okay.

As for writing yesterday, it went better than on Sunday. I did 1,190 words on Chapter Eight and stumbled into an Unexpected Scene (which happens to me too, too often). There were numerous interruptions, but I wrote through them. Proofreading from Subterranean Press arrived (my two stories for the second issue of Subterranean magazine), which I have to get to tomorrow. I spoke with Bill Schafer, and it seems I somehow neglected to do the cover I'd said I would do for the Little Damned Book of Days chapbook that's being offered with the limited edition of To Charles Fort, With Love, and so I have to get to that after I write today.

But it's hard to think of much of anything but New Orleans...
  • Current Music
    The Decemberists, "Red Right Ankle"

Addendum 1: Correction

As anyone who's been trying to learn more about conditions in New Orleans knows, the information presently coming out of the city is patchy and sometimes confusing and contradictory. This morning I said that New Orleans was under martial law, which is what MSNBC was reporting at the time. I heard it said repeatedly on television before I posted it here. But now it seems that only Jackson Parish is currently under martial law, not the entire city. I have no wish to add to the confusion.

I still have not ben able to reach my mother in Birmingham.
  • Current Mood
    worried worried

Addendum 2: relieved

I just got through to my mother, finally. They'd been without power and telephone service (including cell) since yesterday, and much of Birmingham still has no electricity or phone service. But, as she said, compared to the horrific and deteriorating situation in New Orleans and the destruction in Gulfport and Biloxi, they came through Katrina unscathed. So, yes, I'm fine and my family's fine, even if we're all somewhat shaken. Regardless, I may still be heading out to Birmingham late this week, as soon as I finish this chapter. It's one thing to hear someone's voice and be told they're okay and another thing to see for yourself. I'm going to try to reach Poppy tonight, but given that 80% of Mississippi is without electricity and the phones lines are wrecked and cells are jammed, I really don't expect that I'll succeed.

Anyway, I still have work to do tonight. I had dinner in front of the television, trying to catch up on the news. To say that the situation in New Orleans is grim would be a terrible understatement. Once again, I urge people to donate blood or money to the American Red Cross. It's probably about the best thing you can do at this point.
  • Current Music
    cicadas, which are somehow comforting