Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"... Under mattresses in the hallway..."

What follows is a quote from the Livejournal of author Poppy Z. Brite. In the past Ms. Brite has been known for her dark fiction, but in recent years she began to write in a decidedly different vein. To some, she is as quintessentially a New Orleans writer as Anne Rice.

A blog entry written August 28, 2005:
It took us eight hours to drive the approximately 80 miles here and I am exhausted. The only cool part was that as we drove through Bayou Sauvage, we saw about a hundred Magnificent Frigatebirds hovering low over the highway. You seldom see these birds over land unless a hurricane is coming or has just passed. These appeared to be all females and juvies -- I guess the men ride out the storm and send their families inland.

Besides the two animals and a few clothes and toiletries, here is what I brought:

-- My computer.

-- My copy of A Confederacy of Dunces signed by Thelma Toole.

-- My copy of When the Saints Go Marching In signed by Buddy D.

It's at times like these that you find out what you really cherish, I guess.

From an e-mail sent on August 30, 2005, information edited at the writer's request:
Ginny and Steve E. have not been heard from since I spoke with Ginny at 11:00AM yesterday(...)I have contacted Red Cross but have heard nothing yet. Ginny's last words to me were "We just lost 2 huge oak trees... my God,they were 300 years old! Listen... we are going to get under mattresses in the hallway..." Hopefully you can send up a Prayer,and maybe...find me someone in the Red Cross besides the robot that answers the phone...
More from the same correspondent, an out-of-state friend of Ginny's, the following written to the author of this blog later the same day, August 30:
I'm Ginnys out of state contact...She and Steve went through Camille when they were youngsters.

They live in Dixie, by Hattiesburg, on 5 acres. Ginny and I were in constant contact Sunday and Monday... till trees fell...

Dixie is tiny town so hoping someone will know something. They have children,too. She promised she would let me know, or have another contact let me know if they were ok...


When airplanes plowed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, it was obvious to anyone watching that in a moment the world had changed, irrevocably.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is a disaster of a very different kind, much more slowly revealed, and in its way, equally horrific. It may even be the death of an American city, or at the least the worst blow of any kind to strike a major American city since the ravages of the Civil War, 140+ years ago. New Orleans seems to slowly be turning into the new Atlantis.

And truly, at this moment, no one has a grasp on the destruction that has been wrought in the region of southern Mississippi where the Ginny and Steve about whom you read above live. In Biloxi and Gulfport, the true number of dead may not be known for months to come.

For a different view of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, take a look at the following links to www.flickr.com:

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