"The Largest Mass Evacuation Ever in the USA"
In my respect of the good times and wine, women, and song New Orleans gave me when I lived there, I still care about it, even though the New Orleans of my Good Times is no more and never will be again, but still I have a part of it stenciled on my solar plexus (what I call what religious people call the soul) and I do confess, I did once love New Orleans.
I lived through one hurricane when I lived in New Orleans, Hurricane Betsy, and Betsy was, we were told by the weather advisory services, a horrific hurricane and that her evil eye was headed straight as the gull flies smackdab at New Orleans [Mr. Ed: The Wolf Man is talking about a time that was that was before the Corps of Engineers ruined the Mississippi Delta and its natural drainage and flood control system by channeling straight through those Delta marshlands (and we are talking the real Mississippi Delta and not the one the old blues dudes sung about) so the offshore oil platforms could ship their crude right straight out of the Gulf of Mexico--huge tankers we're talking about--up that channel and up the Mississippi River to the air-polluting refineries all around foul and polluted Baton Rouge.]
My wife and I prepared for Hurricane Betsy by stocking up on groceries, ice, canned goods, kerosine for our hurricane lamps, buckets and mops and sponges--we had hurricane shutters on our French windows that we shut tight and bolted top and bottom of the windows from the inside, slammed shut tight against the brick front of our slave-quarter apartment--yep, and it was a strange experience because you could see the old fireplace places of the times when slaves lived where we lived where they'd been bricked up when modernized--you know, the outlines of the fireplaces and the outlines of bricked in tiny square windows way up at the top of our two-story living-room brick wall--I never felt that the place was haunted by the slaves who used to live there and worked around in the beautiful old white stucco-ed Mediterranean-style villa right there hidden away behind its plain front on Dumaine just off Decatur with its courtyard and the high balconies surround that courtyard with its Roman-like fountain--it had lain dormant for many years--surrounded by banana trees full of cockroaches and lizards, and our slave-quarter town house apartment was around back of this wonderful old mean New Orleans mansion that was rumored to have been one of the finest bordellos in the Vieux Carre back in its heyday--and around back of this old whorehouse our apartment faced north and the hurricanes when they came came from the south, behind us, us getting the flyover garbage or roofs or whatever while we were protected by our brick walls and exposed old handhewned timbers--why we were cozy as bugs and partying when Betsy hit the Delta and started dead-aim at New Orleans--and that's how we prepared for that hurricane--my wife and I being naive as pixies in a Hell's Angel's club wearing Barack Obama for President buttons--nor did we expect to be ordered by the NOPD or the mayor, at the time it was Vic Schiro, to evacuate the city! We were warned that this was a major hurricane but we weren't panicked by that warning and we knew it was our natures (instincts) to not have evacuated even if they'd a told us the levee, which ran right above our heads, was maybe gonna breach--I mean you could sit on our balcony and look up to see big ships passing their stacks floating by like strange beasts occasionally letting loose a wall-shaking blast on their mighty air horns--the Mississippi River, we knew, flowed above the heads of those of us who lived in the Vieux Carre, now they call it the French Quarter--plus we stocked up on liquor--and we followed the advice of what we were hearing on the big New Orleans radio stations--we had transitor radios--and on the tv that was saying the tv stations were going to stay on the air until they were blown off the air. Besides, my newly wedded wife and I wouldn't have just locked up and walked away from our apartment and left all our possessions and treasures and our property to get in our MG sports car and head out onto the Pontchartrain Bridge and escape to that big puddles's north shore! Nobody left their property ever in that part of the world, as they used to say, "Come Hell or high water!" So my wife and I stayed and Betsy came up the river and the teevee was saying Betsy was headed dead on right into downtown New Orleans and people had taped up their windows and plywooded windows, too--I mean we left our MG parked out on Dumaine all during Betsy--and Betsy came and we waited for the roar of the winds and we heard no roar; and we waited for the torrential rains and the rains didn't come; and we waited for the stifling heat of the depression as the eye passed over us and we didn't feel any of that--in fact, it was because I swore I heard a bird chirping out off our balcony in a stand of some old but stubby oak trees whose tops waved up in front of our balcony--they were always full of birds--and I told my wife I heard the birds chirping and she said be careful when I got up and opened one of our windows and unhooked the hurricane shutter and opened it--and it opened onto one of the most beautiful afternoons we'd seen in New Orleans all year, I mean PEACEFUL as paradise, sunny, breezy, no high winds, no rain, no nothing, just a nice sweet day, and my wife and I opened up the windows and the doors and we moved out onto our balcony and I made a pitcher of planter's punch and we hung out for the remainder of Hurricane Betsy all in love and drunk and kissy and feely and soon we were back inside on the carpeted livingroom floor--my wife a slave to my passion! Turned out Betsy had missed New Orleans and slammed in over off Grand Isle, out past Cocodrie and Houma, over around Morgan City, and New Orleans was on its eastern outer edge, and there was some wind damage in parts of town and we did get some rain later--but otherwise, it was one of the nicest days I spent in love with my wife in New Orleans--it took a hurricane to get passion out of me.
The old-timers in New Orleans this time are riding Gustav out--them and thousands of illegal immigrant workers down there to rebuild New Orleans who are afraid to come out of hiding and evacuate--and this crooked mayor, Ray Nagin, successfully pulled off a royal move, a very French move, a Napoleonic move, he successfully scared the hell out of 1.9 New Orleanians and they volunteered to abandoned their property lock stock and barrel and run like dogs for high ground--and then on the day Gustav was due to hit, Nagin told those who wanted to stay behind it would do them no good to call for help, like calling 911 or calling the police or the National Guard for help--their calls would be ignored--911 wasn't going to be answered, Nagin royally declared--and now for the trick bag!! And I didn't figure this out, a New Orleans women who's fighting for the rights of Katrina New Orleanians who are still "immigrants" scattered all over the United States--and now as she says, there are 1.9 million new immigrants, some as far away as Shreveport, some in Atlanta, and I've even seen some on New York City teevee flying up here to be with their NYC relatives--this woman's question was, how does all that massive bunch of evacuaees get back to New Orleans and into it and back to their homes or apartments or tents or FEMA trailers? Already the Fascist government nutjobs are down there "taking over" as Michael "Mamlish Boy" Chertoff is chirping his "We're on top of this one" bullshit--and Georgie Porgie Bush is flying to TEXAS to keep track of the storm--and John "Nutjob" McCain is crazily saying his duty is to the US citizens of New Orleans right now--Hero John is going down to rescue people and be there to lead these people to safety! "John, you idiot," I scream at his fat bloated face on teevee, "you're not president yet and you are not a Louisiana senator--what the hell are you sticking your fat pigjowl neck into their business--you have no authority down there--go back to Saint Paul and spout out your racist bullshit as you desperately have to run desperate against a god-damn woolie-booger--and Obama's excuse for not going down there was he didn't want to take away from the rescue teams and the security forces--you see--he meant, they'd have to provide him with body guards and a palace to live in in Baton Rouge and he didn't want to disturb them--besides, Obama's not sure even a black candidate for president would be welcomed to Huey Long's old home turf--while his people are fixing to undergo another white shot at kicking blacks out of New Orleans! The Department of Homeland Security and the cops will be searching houses left behind, don't you think?--all the houses--and FEMA will have the power to condemn homes--and Gustav hit west of New Orleans over in the Cajun swamplands where they're used to hurricanes and they hunker down and ride 'em out--read Lafcadio Hearne's novel about life on Grand Isle, Louisiana, with a hurricane headed their way--but there is going to be high wind damages and water damage--one levee has water rolling over its top now and Lake Pontchartrain could backwash yet--pushing back at the ocean the huge amount of water being shoved into it by the 100 mph winds on the outer edges of Gustav and coming up the river, swelling the Mississippi up and over the levees the Corpses of Engineers has never finished repairing and rebuilding since Katrina. [How lucky were they that those slipshod levees barely held this weak-ass rainstorm hurricane?--I mean, I saw water pouring over the Ninth Ward-protecting levee that they rebuilt--did you notice how thin that levee was--the wiped out Ninth Ward nearly got it again--and they still could as long as the river is still high and maybe surging.]
Yep, some New Orleanians are going to turn around and try to get back home and they'll find checkpoints they're going to have to stop at--and what if they're asked for certain papers?--like proving they live in New Orleans for instance--and you know what about people who have no ID at all on them--yep, the poor no matter their color have very little ID--but especially poor blacks--senior blacks--or what about when you get to an ICE checkpoint and you're Latino and you've got your whole family with you and you've got no papers, no green card, no nothing, and you're pulled out of the still huge lines of traffic still trying to pour back into the Crescent City--or then once inside Orleans Parish, say, the Sheriff may have up checkpoints and then the National Guard will have checkpoints set up and Homeland Security may have Blackwater set up checkpoints to look for Al Queda terrorists who may try to use this to sneak into New Orleans and start a terrorist cell!--and all the criminal elements of our government are down there being ready to photoop this if the hurricane misses the city and then they can start blowing their own horns so raucously loud--and Cap'n John McCain is down there ready to prove his leadership qualities! It's like a French farce, folks, it truly is--and it is so racistly obvious that white opinions are the only opinions being given on the coverage of Gustav except from the Spanish channels--and I watched Telemundo last night for the best coverage of the storm--like they even had film of the storm's damage from Cuba.
FEAR--that's how you spell FEMA really! We the People are becoming totally vexed--our ship is sinking but so far only the lower decks are underwater--the restaurants and bars are doing a bang-up business--the swimming pool and the cabanas are still on the high decks, the executive cabins and celebrity cabins are fine--the rich and the privileged are never hurt by these tragedies, only the stone poor and already helpless--those who WHITE PEOPLE hate--'cause this really is White Louisiana, White New Orleans, White America's last chance to reconquer a city with a black majority and powerful black history--a black majority that was making an attempt to a follow-the-rules take over of the management of New Orleans, the school systems, even the police force and the Parish and City justice systems all controlled by white New Orleaneans! These bastards, and the New York developers, like Donald Trump, are toasting each other with vintage champagne right now hoping Gustav will flatten out some more poor black and poor white ares so they can buy up the land as condemned and so they can build condos and hotels and hi-rise luxury cathedrals for their most ardent admirers, the wealthy of the world on this NEW land--the monied of the world see a white-controlled New Orleans as an investment--right in the face of dumbass America--We the People who are shooting off on a rocket sled to Hell and we don't even realize it. You notice how more THRILLING amusement park rides are having to get these days?--our youth are so hyper they need to try and kill themselves through teasing death--matters not how long they survive only that they get their fifteen minutes of Andy Warhol-Pop-Op recognition for their death-defying thrills.
"You don't know what it means/To miss New Orleans...." or maybe you do.
for The Daily Growler