Thursday, September 01, 2005


I was going to write about writing today (how funny is that sentence?) but there is way too much else going on in the world and swirling around in my head about the disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Let me start by putting the link to the American Red Cross here, so if you haven't had a chance to make a donation, hey! G just made it convenient for you!

I can't believe this historic city, with its rich history, musical culture, and iconic images of Mardi gras and merriment, is in all essence gone. I realized this morning on my way to work that it's something that I'll now never see or experience.

The news reports out of the region have me in shock. This is where my head spins. How could the situation have gotten so out of control? First of all, I don't care how poor you are, how desperate you are, there is no excuse for driving a forklift through a Walmart and wheeling out a shopping cart full of DVD players and televisions. Food, yes. Diapers, blankets, a tent? Hell yeah. A Dell notebook? Give me a break. I mean Jesus Christ; the city is in ruins – where the hell are they going to fence it? How far up the interstate do they think they are going to get on foot with it all?

People shooting off guns, arson… it sounds like the Superdome should now be known as "Thunderdome." It's appalling that things were allowed to progress to the level of civil unrest that unfolded. I can't believe that people had no choice but to remain in the city because they had no money, no transportation, and nowhere to go. We take so much for granted, being able to load up a (gas guzzling) SUV with precious belongings and drive to a motel or a relative's home.

It's easy to be an armchair quarterback, and hindsight is 20/20, but they knew how serious this storm was on Friday. I heard reports that it was well known what the effects of a storm like that would be on New Orleans. Why weren't they more prepared for the potential after effects?
It's all so terribly horrible and sad. Thank god for the reports of people giving aid, and the positive stories coming out, like this one: I heard a reporter today who was in the Superdome, and spoke with some kids who were throwing around a football. One told her with a grin that he used to play all the time in the project but he never thought he'd play football in the Superdome.


ChrisWoznitza said...

Hi I´m Chris. Greatings from Germany Bottrop !!

Giovanna said...

Well, hi back from Massachusetts! Thanks for visiting.

MK said...

I think you saw my email but this is all so overwhelming. I too cannot understand how the escalation progressed without getting enough help in htere. I mean food can be dropped in deserts have way around the world and they can't get water into dying babies and older people?
one of the saddest parts is how the people stuck keep asking if people in the outside world know/care about their plight. how many people I hear about on the radio/tv who are calling into the programs to let someone know where they are and that they are trapped by water with no food and water. I feel like chaos like this can strike in many different forms whereever you are and that makes me nervous. Not enough to change my life, but hopefully enough to get some supplies around the house and have a plan for escaping if my family is not all together.

Giovanna said...

I just saw the e-mails now. I wish I could come and give you a big hug. :)

Ali's insight was enlightening. I asked her if I could post it here. Or she can.

I'm going to stop looking at news for a while and write.

MK said...

Yeah gfo write.
I should be writing in my journal about my boy's first week of preschool. There are so many good memories and funny stories. He's hilarious. He could not figure out where his friend Thomas went on Tuesday since on Monday Thomas was wearing a Thomas the Tank Engine tshirt and (surprise) on Tuesday he had changed shirts!

Watching the news is wiping me out.
Our course now would be a 'great' time for al Quaeda to 'visit' especially with the anniv. of 9-11 i na week. I have watched tooooo many X-Files episodes.

Giovanna said...

I have watched tooooo many X-Files episodes.

Oh Jeez... don't even go there.

*I can't escape it!*


The little ones are so precious. This is a great time for you.

I'm going to post Ali's brother's story here. I'm blown away.

Giovanna said...

As I alluded to before, a good friend of MK, JoBee, and I has a brother involved in the rescue effort in New Orleans. We were e-mailing back and forth today about the tragedy, and I wanted to share what she told us, (with her permission of course. And she joined the TANC board! Yeah!)

My brother is currently in NOLA as a rescue worker. He is now a fireman for Miami, specializing in structural damage, as well as an EMT, so he went the night Katrina hit.

The problem with getting help in is that the conditions deteriorated so quickly after the storm hit. Usually a hurricane hits, then help is mobilized. Here, help stood waiting on the sidelines for the storm to pass and conditions to reach a safe point for travel, but that never happened. The levies broke, spilling Lake Ponchatrain into the area. The main bridge that connects New Orleans towards Slidell, where we lived, and Mississippi is destroyed, so there is no way to approach into the city from the East.

Now that they can try to get supplies in, still not an easy thing, they are getting shot at, so they put a hold on sending in rescue workers. A police officer has already been shot in the head.

I won't get into details about what has been seeing, as it is pretty grim and very upsetting. The final numbers of lives lost will be staggering. He wants to go home, he is beyond stressed already, and in fear of his own safety. His own water and food rations are dwindling down as well.

The waters are currently receding at a rate of 1/2 inch per hour, but it isn't fast enough. They are having a very difficult time navigating in boats as there is tons of debris/vehicles in the water like little mines, alligators, poisonous snakes, etc..

Honestly, I'm not sure how NOLA will ever recover from this, and I believe things will only get worse before they get better. I also see major problems spilling into Houston.

It is horrible beyond comprehension.
Another update on how insane it is there.

My brother and the rest of his rescue squad were driving to their next search location when a gang of about 20 youths got in front of the vehicle and forced it to come to a stop. They surrounded them and one held up a gun and demanded their supplies. My brother is an ex cop, having worked both in NYC and Florida. He reached out of the window, grabbed him by the shirt, pulled him up to his face and pulled out his own gun, pointing it right at him. Several of the others with my brother had weapons themselves and drew them as well. My brother proceeded to yell at them that they were here to help them, what the hell were they doing? They backed off and let them pass. My brother was pretty freaked out about the whole incident. He's never had to do something like that, and said he hopes he never does again.

As we spoke on the phone tonight, he tries to call just to let me know he is ok, several bodies proceeded to float past him as he sat on a pile of debris. That's what he's been sleeping on, piles of debris. They get 2 hour breaks.

He's ready to come home.

Brain Diva said...

Wow, what a difficult/horrible situation that must be... Honestly though, what is wrong with these people who won't let RESCUE WORKERS do their job? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Go loot for food/water if necessary. But put the guns away & leave the good people do their job.

Bee said...

Desperation is a horrible thing. Humans are capable of doing the worst in times of desperate need.

I feel so useless

MK said...

Okay, being a "bottom line" thinker kind of gal. Apparently, all a foreign nation or other entity needed to do to kill thousands of Americans on American soil again was to make 3 block long breeches inthe NOLA levees and voila. Chaos and interia and a government that cannot respond.
If you think about it the storm damage would have been bearable it was the rising and then remaining water that caused this week's crisis. Just thinking.

Giovanna said...

I can't think about it anymore. I have to come up with something nicer to post about to move forward. I dread the day we hear the death toll.