In Our Hands
Scout Prime e-mailed me the other day to let me know that she and Athenae and several readers of First Draft were going down to NOLA to help do some renovation and recovery work. I asked Scout to keep me updated on how things were going, and got an e-mail this morning from Athenae with some links to recent posts and a little update. As Athenae said to me:
My brain's a little bit mushy from the sun and the drywall dust, but here's what we've got so far.
What's hard to understand is just how on their own people are down here. I asked someone, soon after arriving, if people were allowed to leave up the markings put up right after Katrina that say what homes were searched when and by whom, and they looked at me like I was insane, like "allowed?" Who's going to tell us when to take things down, put things up, fix things, tear things down? People are really just left to their own devices here, to survive or not to survive.
It has been such a long, long haul for so many folks in the Gulf region. I get e-mails from readers in the area pretty often, and it is just heartbreaking to think of someone going through this, thinking that the rest of America doesn't care about them — because the hollow promises made to them with the Bush speech in NOLA under the kleig lights haven't remotely come to pass.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. Scout and Athenae being their journey with "Our Lady of the Driveway," and the photos of how things still look in some neighborhoods in NOLA are painful. Then on to "Wherever You Go, There You Are."
That people are having to do this on their own. That we could drive around and around and see, but for the few homeowners who had their money or insurance doing work on their own, charity organizations working piecemeal, instead of an army. Instead of a wave — a surge, I'll make the Iraq comparison, the switch, what if we'd sent 25,000 here instead? — of help rolling over these places, replacing the marks from where the first waves hit.
I'll have constructive thoughts later. Mr. A, a WWII buff, has been talking to me about the Marshall Plan and about what it would take, money and manpower and how long it would take. Mostly, though, having now seen it, I would like very badly to rip somebody's face off.
And then to the demolition work that the First Draft Krewe has been doing. That is putting your values into practice, one wheelbarrow load at a time. And I love them for it. Mostly, I just want to give Scout and Anthenae and their readers and all of our readers in the region a huge hug this morning, because I cannot be there to help — but I'm hoping that by shining a little more light on this, we'll find a way to let the Gulf Coast folks know that they are not, not by any stretch, forgotten. (That last link has some suggestions on things that can be done to help. If anyone has more suggestions, please share them in the comments below.)
In recent days, I've seen articles about the problems cropping up with rebuilding because of public works delays. And the NOLA rebuilding plan has finally been unveiled by the mayor and the rebuilding czar — but still no real answers on the levees.
Finally, because I just love this clip, I wanted to link up the Harry Connick, Jr., Branford Marsalis and other incredibly gifted musicians and their love song to their beloved New Orleans. The Aaron Neville YouTube above is haunting, and this one is just some amazing music with such a reverance for their home town.