Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Zenfo Pro Breaks Down...
Time to Grieve a bit.

I've cried five times today.

First, at the realization that there are places that I once frequented that will no longer exist. Most people don't realize how vibrant New Orleans is, places like Tipitinas, La Chat Noir, the bar off Elysian Fields where a librarian-toasting drink, the Dirty McCarthy, was invented. (A double of Dewars with a pineapple juice chaser...sounds disgusting, but trully a mind-blowing combination of flavor.) The hotel where my parents stayed during my LSU graduation -- now a windowless hulk.

Second time was over a stereotypical Gen Y student crying into a cell phone over the sudden deterioration of her $600 shoes because of the remnants of Katrina blowing our way. It was some damned pathetic. I was actually so angered and appalled that some spoiled rich kid would DARE bitch about heavy rains destroying her shoes when millions of people - including some of America's poorest - have probably lost everything they own in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama.

Third time was in a stairwell at the library where I work. A staff member told me she'd keep my friends and family in Louisiana in her prayers.

Fourth time, I was sitting in a coffee shop here in town, trying to get information about the priceless historic and rare collections in the various repositories throughout New Orleans. The Jazz Archive at Tulane. Earl K., the main Tulane library? What about Loyola? Or Zavier? Or UNO? There's the Greater New Orleans Collections. Jackson Barracks. New Orleans Public Library. The galleries. The court records and vital information. No luck. It then occurred to me that the entire recorded history of greater New Orleans may have simply washed away. I collapsed into my truck seat and balled and shuddered like I haven't in a long time.

Finally, I cried when I got an e-mail from a long-lost friend, Michelle, telling me that one of our mutual friends was safe and sound in Houston and that her home only suffered minor damage. Then it occurred to me -- this horrific and terrible thought:

How many friends, colleagues, and family -- from LSU, from New Orleans, from the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, distant cousins who live and work in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish - may I have lost? There's no contact in or out of most of Louisiana. Gov. Blanco has now declared martial law, the lowland parishes continue to flood. How many librarians and staff will not show up to work when this is all over?

Been trying for two days to block that last thought out of my mind. Guess I finally broke down.

I can't cry anymore. I've got to think positively. Everybody's okay, hopefully. Regardless, they're still in my prayers.



KFigment said...

Call me cold but I have to believe that even great storms have a reason. When great tragedy strikes it is usually followed by something beautiful. This is not the first time New Orleans has been struck. The 1st time allowed for the beauty and cultivation that we have seen today. Now may be the time that change must come again. A city like that will not lose it's magic. The treasures are safe and as every city that can be struck by a hurricane precautions have been taken. Most of those who have died refused to leave their homes in the face of danger. They had fair warning and as tragic as it is they had a choice.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving a voice to what all of us displaced Louisianians are feeling and trying desperately to explain to our friends and family who want to understand. But having never lived in New Orleans or Southern Louisiana these people can only say how sorry they are and ask about the safety of friends and family. While I am truly grateful for the safety of my loved ones I still grieve for the loss of the city I once called home. It will be a long time before I can put the emotional toll this experience has taken into words. Thank you for yours.

Smurf said...

I am praying too! Keep us posted with what's going on. I am so sorry! How hard! I know at first you hated the place calling it a whole nother country, but I could tell you grew to really love it there and I can't even fathom how hard this is on you! You are in my prayers Jay! ;)
Love you,

Anonymous said...

I'm keeping a good thought for all those in Louisiana also, hoping for the best amongst images that suggest frightening odds. My prayers are with them all, and with you.

Peace, Brother.

- G