The Thermals - Ballad Of Big Nothing (Elliot Smith cover)
I'm going to spend tomorrow afternoon and evening drinking bloody mary's and eating rice and beans, watching a monstrous and uncontrollable weather system stomp all over the city of New Orleans with some of my friends who grew up there.
People from New Orleans have a sense of inevitability about hurricanes. About ruin in general, actually. The city's legendary party culture is different from Vegas's corporate hedonism. In New Orleans, you party because you need to maximize the pleasure when times are good to balance out the absolutely assured ass-kicking which is coming to you as the sad son of a bitch you are. Juvenile gets gold teeth, the city's oil barons build the Superdome and ex-pats watch yet another meteorological disaster befall their fair city while getting retarded drunk.
I spent a summer in the city back when it was an amusing, aging drunk of a city and, though the summer of 2003 (?) was among the worst I've ever had (RIP Money Mike), I spent enough nights drinking away the humid tedium at Butler's (also, RIP) and saw enough shows at The Maple Leaf to tear up when Randy Newman opened one of the myriad fundraisers for Katrina victims with "Louisiana, 1927" out of both nostalgia and grief. I was working at LSU medical center and I'm quite sure any progress I made in my research of protein motifs was destroyed when most of the power to downtown New Orleans went out and all the windows in the towering building I had worked in blew out during Katrina.
Katrina almost wasn't "the big one." It actually fell short of the worst predictions and things weren't apocalyptic until the levees broke and dumped up to twenty feet of water on almost 80% of the city (according to some e-mails I wrote at the time). The tragedy of Katrina was that it was avoidable. Not so sure about Gustav, although at least evacuation plans are going smoother this time around. I will let GW9K give the geological knowledge on the dangers of the bol Gustav.
Three years ago, I was dealing with the end of a very intense three-year relationship with a girl from New Orleans. I had been in Brooklyn for about a month and her on-again-off-again situation with a new man played a big role in getting me to leave St. Louis in the first place. As it would happen, the stability that said man provided to her while her family tore itself apart during the aftermath of Katrina led to them settling down. They recently got engaged.
(I'm working through another break-up right now, less complicated but still painful, and here comes another hurricane. This, of course, means I control the weather.)
I don't really have a point, I'm just thinking about it a lot right now. I hope everyone who has people living in harm's way knows their people are out of harm's way and I'm hoping for the best. With a refreshing beveredge.
Labels: disasters, hurricanes, new orleans