Thursday, June 22, 2006

The daily Katrina slog

This morning I'd like to celebrate The Garden of Irks and Delights, where Lisa is coming out of her shell to express the very real daily slog that she and other New Orleanians are still fighting to recover their lives:

But I am indeed a fish out of water. I am out of my element. Shall I count the ways? Let's just look at the most obvious. I haven't spent a night in my own house, in my own bed, since August 27th, 2005. Sometimes, I lay in bed here with the lights off and I can't remember where I am. I think I'm home but on the wrong side of the bed...or am I in Keswick or in Charlottesville? Or at Renard's? Mom is my best friend, a wonderful hostess and a phenomenal cook. Being here is lovely. But I want to be back in my house. I want a normal life again. I'm tired of all the toil and trouble that has become the way of life in this city. I'm not alone. We're all going through it. Nothing is easy. Nothing is now. (I'm still waiting for State Farm to get their engineer's report so I can start the foundation work that has to occur before any of the other work can be done.) Will this ever end?? I wonder how many people on the Gulf Coast ask this question every day? I wonder how many people here can see a normal life as part of their future?

Meanwhile, the impression of the rest of the country might be that by now New Orleans should be well on its way to recovery. That impression would be false. Ten months after Hurricane Katrina, more than 250,000 New Orleanians remain displaced from their homes, and 80 percent of the city remains devastated.

Lisa continued in her post today with a gut-wrenching, honest portrayal of what it feels like to live this experience:
Katrina Fatigue?

Well, yeah. We have it, too. The million-plus of us who have been living it every day since 9-29-05 in a way much more real than the rest of the world. We're tired of it all and wish every day that it would all just go away and things would be back the way they were before It happened.

The remarkable thing about Hurricane Katrina is the bonding that can occur in the blog forum. I know -- it seems really impersonal (and it's true that I don't know personally many of my fellow New Orleans bloggers) -- but there are things people will say in writing that aren't expressed as honestly face to face. I started blogging before Hurricane Katrina, but with Katrina, blogging took on a completely new and more meaningful purpose -- to defend New Orleans, to communicate to the rest of the country what's happening, and to help create an extended community.

Finally (thanks Lisa), Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post "gets it":
The painfully slow reconstruction of a city taking place today doesn't yield great video; the absence of progress is the story. The 250,000 people who have been unable to return -- more than half the city's population -- are not easily available for interviews. And even if they were, I don't imagine producers getting terribly excited over displaced folks talking about having to stay in motels or trailers or with relatives. ...

And then there is the unsettling quiet. There is no one for miles around -- no traffic, no children, no dogs. ...

If people saw what I saw, however, they would understand why journalism's work here is not done -- not by a long shot.

But slim can't muster any sympathy for corporate media in his no fish, no nuts post:
The problem is not that the story in New Orleans is "too big" to convey, it's that the corporate media wants to move on. There's no margin in continuing to cover New Orleans - unless, of course, it gets hit with another storm this season. Then they'll rubberneck until our necks ache.

And Tim of Tim's Nameless Blog wants to remind everyone that we are not ok.

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At 6/22/2006 07:07:00 AM, Anonymous Adrastos said...

I liked what you said about our little virtual community of bloggers. There has been a lot of bonding of the online variety. But every time I've met one of my colleagues we've gotten along.

Thanks for the excerpt from Lisa's blog. I just cruised her site and noticed that she's linked to me. It's time to add her to my linkeroos.

At 6/22/2006 08:04:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Lisa's good people.

It might be time for blogger barbecue or something.

There have been a couple of activities at bars, but I'm not much of a late night person anymore.

At 6/22/2006 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, I threatened another blogger get together when I got to town, but after two dinner partiets for old friends, my wife has pulled the plug on all that cooking and cleaning for a bit. Still, Gentilly Girl was talking about getting the blogger's dinner (with free wine!) back on track.

Lisa is a great addition to our little family.

At 6/22/2006 06:21:00 PM, Blogger oyster said...

"I started blogging before Hurricane Katrina, but with Katrina, blogging took on a completely new and more meaningful purpose -- to defend New Orleans, to communicate to the rest of the country what's happening, and to help create an extended community."

Couldn't agree more. You are doing great and necessary work, Schroeder. Press on!

At 6/22/2006 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Adrastos said...

Well said, Oyster. Me, I'm very frustrated right now. Blind panic and stupidity annoy me.

At 6/22/2006 11:29:00 PM, Blogger LisaPal said...

Schroeder! Wow! How honored I am to have been featured so prominently in your post today. You have one of the best sites out there, but I had no idea what a NOLA-blogging demi-god you are! On the average day, I get 16-20 unique visitors to my blog with as many page-loads (half are regulars and half are the disappointed visitors from repressive countries who came after doing a search on "sex games" or "slutwear." But today, thanks to you and this post, I had a record-breaking 99 unique visitors with 250 page-loads.

You are the man!!!

At 6/23/2006 04:20:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

No, you are the man ... er ... woman (thankfully).

The feelings you put to words obviously required a considerable amount of thought and difficulty, but those kinds of personal reflections are the most important way for others to understand what's happening.

So good on ya Lisa!


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