Friday, August 29, 2008

"WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?"


My neighbor pulled his boat out of the weeds this morning. I guess this photo says what needs to be said about the situation for too many people still at risk in New Orleans on this 3rd anniversary of Katrina and the levy failure related flooding.

I'm tired. So are many of my friends. There are people and families I know that have been in crisis since Katrina, keeping their heads and hearts "above water" so to speak. Some have already left. Some are planning not to come back. Often these are the craftsmen and carpenters. They tell me they cannot compete with the prices the Mexican laborer's are willing to accept and still raise their families. For others whom I know, going through the same motions of packing and evacuating on the anniversary of Katrina, one of the greatest national natural and man-mismanaged disasters, is taking a toll on them emotionally and psychologically. And with staunch big easy good humour, they will tell you, "we were going away for the holiday weekend anyway to visit family, friends," and once again I witness sweet lemonade being brought forth from what others would perceive as sour lemons.

I noticed yesterday in my travels through the city of New Orleans that in the previously hardest hit neighborhoods, many of the people whom I would see walking in the streets and hanging out on their porches and stoops, were noticeably not there. Traffic patterns were different as I needed to drive from Broad Street and Paris Avenue to Metarie. Usually it is a very stressful drive as their are many speeders and tailgaters on highway I-10. Yesterday, it seemed to myself and a friend in the car with me that people were driving with more care and thoughtfulness. Less personal drama being acted out on the highway and more contemplative, thoughtful actions. I perceived that their was a drawing together of community and consciousness as people were not only reflecting on the anniversary and their lives 3 years ago and since, but also a sense of we need to work together to get where we all need to go and take care of business.

I perceive that alot of people have already left. I am living Uptown at the time in the Black Pearl neighborhood if you want to Google where that is situated in New Orleans. It is a part of the city built on high ground. It is also where a good bit of the wealth is concentrated. I was speaking with someone who works at the Audubon Zoo this morning who will be staying to take care of the animals, he told me the National Guard and other rescue workers will be staying there as a base camp. What I didn't like is when he began telling me how they were needed to protect the people uptown from being looted by the people downtown. There is such an incredible disparity between those who have and those who do not here. And such fear of "other" - i.e. many of my friends and adopted family members from the inner city, 7th Ward, Desire and 9th Ward. In the local grocery store this morning the clerks were speaking of not losing their belongings "again" and who is shifting their belongings uptown and the sense of safety they feel here as they won;t have to worry about looters. Wow, after a few of those conversations this morning, I just needed to go lie down for awhile. It is amazing that racism and fear of other can transcend the reality of we are all planetary brothers and sisters on this ONE PLANET living here together - trying to make it through another day.

Well, I have a lot to do today. Laundry to wash and hang out. Car parts to pick up in Metarie. Car repairs to get done in Gentilly. A house to sort and pack. What I take and leave behind (besides the essentials) depending on the predicted category strength. I will be evacuating with a friend of mine who went through Katrina, the flooding and waiting to be evacuated 3 years ago to a friends empty house in Mississippi on high land in the woods.

As much as I would like to write more there is the delicate balance of sharing what is happening, with the need to take care of myself and be there for those around me who are in need or crisis.

I perceive as someone living here in New Orleans on this 3rd anniversary of one of our nations greatest national disasters, great communal grief and a solemn quietness in the streets. I also perceive an emptiness, whilst still hearing the sounds of power drills and hammers which speak of the future and hope.

I have about 45o photo's I took on Wednesday August 27 to put up when I have a chance to edit them.

I am very tired. I don't believe I am alone in this experience.

Blessings and prayers for the suffering on this anniversary of Katrina and the levy failure related flooding. And blessings and strength to all who are packing and preparing to evacuate, who are on the highways as I write, who are in their homes trying to figure out if they should pay the rent or use the money to take them, their elderly relatives, and their children out of harms way.

your planetary sister in New Orleans.


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