Hurricane Katrina: Four Years Later

by angeliska on August 29, 2009

A hard day, full of painful remembrances and revelations.
I wake in a panic, the dogs are barking wildly and I twist my
shoulder in my haste to rise, my body not as awake as my mind.
Head pounding, worried for my dear Grampa who is ill in the hospital,
and today is that day- the anniversary of our southern Armageddon.
Four years, can you believe? I can’t. I feel like I am just only now
beginning to recover from the giant holes that damn storm blew
in my life. I still am in the process of re-shaping myself, my identity,
and my community and it’s taking a long time- because so much
was lost in those muddy waters. I am only now starting to grasp
the full scope of what it meant, and means. If you have some time today,
take a moment to think about it. I’ve you haven’t been back to New Orleans
since the hurricane, or especially if you’ve never been before-
do yourself a favor and go! It’s still there, y’all- and it needs not to
be forgotten. So many people in the last few years have actually told me
that they just assumed that there was nothing left there,
that the city had become a ghost town. Some imagined it was still
underwater, a flood-plain still filled with floating bodies.
Well, it has more ghosts now than ever, that’s for sure-
but New Orleans is a vital and beautiful beast,
still busting out with life and dancing on broken legs.
Go get in the middle of that, see it for yourself-
and then come tell me a story about what you saw there.
If you know full well what it means to miss New Orleans,
then tonight light a sea of candles for all the dead,
be with the ones you love, drink a sazerac or
a Pimm’s Cup and go shake it out!
My friend Jose Fernandes stayed in New Orleans
during the storm, in his apartment on Esplanade.
He spent the days afterwards slapping mosquitoes,
watching the water rise through the streets and wandering
around through the desolation offering help and taking photographs.
They are some of the most poignant and beautiful images
I have seen from that time. I looked at them over and over again
in the months that followed, always coming back to this first one, especially:

I also highly recommend going to see Clayton Cubitt’s
Katrina Portraits
as well as his personal chronicle about Katrina:
Operation Eden
Josh Neufeld’s brilliant graphic novel A.D. – New Orleans After the Deluge
is out in print! Finally, my own copy to hold and read!
I read this voraciously when it was published in chapters
online, and it affected me more than almost anything else.
So well done, and every bit of it true.
“One of the best-ever examples of comics reportage,
and one of the clearest portraits of post-Katrina
New Orleans yet published. An essential addition
to the ongoing conversation about what Katrina means,
and what New Orleans means.”
– Dave Eggers
Please take a minute and read the Katrina Pain Index,
from the folks at Counterpunch.
If you’ve still got it in you, here’s some collected writings
about my experiences with Hurricane Katrina,
in reverse chronological order. Dig in.
New Orleans in August
One Year
Lower Ninth Aftermath
The Triumph of Death
What can you do?

Kid Koala – Basin Street Blues
(via Clayton Cubitt, with thanks)


thank you for this info/site. it was a day none of us will ever forget.

by danielle on August 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm. Reply #

Thank you for sharing those links.
I wasn’t there, but reading through your posts & links, I felt stunned, panicked, resigned, furious, sad. (Your words before it hit “Please don’t obliterate my city. Swerve, damn you” made me cry a little.)
I’m so sorry.

by OdetteOdile on August 30, 2009 at 2:21 am. Reply #

Oh my goodness…I have tears in my eyes, I can’t even imagine going through such a thing! The Deluge is one of the major archetypal events of human history. So many cultures have myths regarding the “Great Flood”~ a Divine cleansing, one that brings about a time of goodness and general prosperity. I hope that’s been true for you!
I haven’t been back to N.O. after Katrina. But I did have the pleasure of spending plenty of quality time pre-flood! My friend Samantha and I were talking after she had returned from visiting N.O. (before the flood) She kinda predicted the flood, except she explained it more like an explosion. She said “that city is going to explode” I told her I thought the ghosts there were very restless. I always stayed at the Marquette House when visiting. They are little studio apartments with kitchenettes. The building was an old Cival War hospital…and sooo haunted. I got that feeling when I was there too, everything was haunted! My friend said she “heard” alot of weeping and moaning, and even screaming and rioting. I think there were too many people conjuring up spirits to make a profit. Cemetaries crowded with tourists…maybe the spirits were angry?I suppose the dead can actually rest in peace now that things have slowed down a bit there.
I noticed alot of spiritual abuse going on as well…the “Voodoo” community does alot of things adverse to tradition…so I think the Lwa/Loa were pissed off too.
Anyway, my dear, I have one of those blog award thingies for you on my blog…check it out!
love & magick,
xo Lavona

by Lady Lavona on August 30, 2009 at 8:43 am. Reply #

I grew up in Louisiana, and I have made numerous trips to New Orleans. New Orleans is place I always considered a spiritual home.
Sleep eluded me the night before Katrina hit. I couldn’t banish from my mind the image of the looming hurricane. Whenever I drifted asleep, I woke up in a panic. Come morning, I was relieved to find that New Orleans was spared the worst. That relief was short-lived.
I went to New Orleans with my family a few months after the storm. My heart was heavy while I surveyed the damage, but I did feel a sense of hope. I returned this year for my first Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Mardi Gras in other parts of Louisiana was nothing new to me. One plan was to catch the St. Anne’s parade. It was magical. I was so bummed to be jolted back into real life after the festivities were over the next day.
Some friends of mine have made plans to visit NOLA this Halloween. I’m envious!

by April Violet on August 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm. Reply #

My sweet Louisiana sister. Today I hug you and cry with you. For all the loss, anger, fear and hurt, but also tears of joy because we survived and have seen many blessings since.
I love you…

by Chad on September 1, 2009 at 9:38 am. Reply #

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