August 31st, 2005


Katrina 3

I woke this morning, hoping that during the night that Army engineers would have been successful in their efforts to plug the breach in the Lake Pontchartrain levee. But they haven't, and water continues to pour into New Orleans.

This morning on Good Morning America, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said, "The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it's like dropping it into a black hole." She has ordered the city completely evacuated, and Mayor Ray Nagin has said (also on Good Morning America), "We are looking at 12 to 16 weeks before people can come in." With tens of thousands of people remaining in the city, it's hard to imagine exactly how this evacuation is going to proceed. The numbers I've seen claim that 80% of the city's population left before the storm, but that seems like an excessively optimistic figure, with 20,000 still trapped in the Superdome alone. There are plans to house 40,000 refugees in the Houston Astrodome, people who will be evacuated to Texas by a bus convoy. It's a nightmare, a disaster of proportions I've not seen hit the US in my lifetime, I don't think. And in the flood of information from the internet, newspapers, and television, some of which is contradictory, it's very difficult to figure out exactly what's going on.

I just heard that it's presently 97F in New Orleans.

Once again, I urge you to please donate whatever you can to the American Red Cross (financial contributions to the Red Cross are tax deductible), which is already housing and feeding tens of thousands of people across the Gulf Coast. This things going to get a whole lot worse before it starts getting better.

Also, you may wish to donate to the Humane Society's Disaster Relief Fund. Protecting and controlling the countless numbers of animals, both wild and domestic, displaced and orphaned by Katrina is important not only for the sake of the animals, but is also important as a means of controlling disease in the wake of the storm.

An effort is underway, headed by Amber Van Dyk, to raise money for docbrite (Poppy Z. Brite), who was forced to leave many pets behind when she left New Orleans on Sunday afternoon. It goes without saying that she has been devastated by this storm. The fate of her pets and her home is unknown and will likely remain unknown for many weeks to come Like me, like most writers, she's not a wealthy person, and I can't imagine how she's going to recover from this. You can find out more by following this link. Poppy is extremely dear to me, and if you can help, I ask that you please do. Donations will be made directly to her PayPal account, as I understand it.

How do I even talk about the writing after all that? I guess I just do, that's how.

I did another 1,337 words on Chapter Eight of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. The first six hundred or so were among the hardest I've done yet for this novel, but then, an especially difficult scene bested, things got much easier. I spent another hour and a half last night working on a cover for the Little Damned Book of Days chapbook, but came up with nothing usable, so that still has to be done. I read Spooky the first half of Nancy Kress' excellent short story, "Shiva in Shadow," from The Year's Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Second Annual Collection. Then she read to me from a number of NOLA blogs, including some chilling accounts from people who escaped before the storm hit. I fell asleep to The Return of the King. Jackson's LotR trilogy has become my new comfort film.

Okay. That's enough for now. I gotta write.
  • Current Music
    Pink Floyd, "On the Turning Away"

Addendum: Poppy

I'm getting lots and lots of inquiries about whether or not I've spoken with Poppy since the storm hit. No, I've not. Christa (faustfatale) and I have been trying to get through on her cell, but the networks are either swamped or down. Darren (tjcrowley) did speak with her late on Sunday, I believe. I've also been trying her mother's home number, but I'm getting a recording that the lines are out. Given that she's in southern Mississippi, it may be some time yet — days, maybe weeks — before any of us can reach her, but I will keep trying, and if I get through, I promise that I'll let everyone know.

I've also been asked by a number of folks to notify the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries about the animals trapped in her house, because someone seems to have gotten word that they've begun rescuing pets. I've not been able to confirm this yet, that such rescues are happening, and it may be difficult or impossible to do so because there are no phones in NOLA, but we're looking into it, anyway. I'm a little skeptical that there's presently much of an effort being made to rescue animals, given that so many people remain to be rescued and resources are stretched beyond the limit. But there's always hope, and I'll find out what I can.
  • Current Music
    The Wedding Present, "Interstate 5" (extended)

Addendum 2

It has been a terrible, hectic day, and I just want to lie down in some room where there are no computers or television screens. But I wanted to post one last update for the day regarding Poppy. I still have not reached her, and I don't think Christa (faustfatale) has either. Calls just aren't getting through, which isn't surprising. I will keep trying, though. I know she's okay, but I'd really feel a lot better if I could hear her voice. When I do speak with her, whenever that is, I'll let you know.

Thanks to everyone who sent me leads regarding possible help with the animals she had to leave behind. I passed all the relevant information along to, and I have just received the following reply:

I have forwarded your request to our people in the field and they will do the best they can. Our thoughts are with you and your friend.
—  Dianne Montague

But I don't want anyone getting their hopes up. I've been told that the Humane Society will not be permitted to enter NOLA for the purpose of rescuing animals, and I doubt that Noah's Wish will have any better luck. Speaking with people today and reading posts and comments, I got the impression that a lot of folks online just don't comprehend the severity of the disaster that has struck the city. There's virtually no way in or out. Those people still there will die if they aren't evacuated soon. The water is still rising. I watched a video clip today of the moat that has formed around the Superdome, and there was a man wandering aimlessly through the filthy water, shirtless and dazed, clearly exhausted. It was a terrible, heart-breaking sight, and it seemed, for me, to bring this whole thing down to a single, terribly clear point, though I can't seem to put it into words.
  • Current Music
    a passing car