Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Liveblogging Harvey from New Orleans, Part Deux

*You can find Liveblog Part Un here*

Hello, Gentle Readers, and welcome to Day 2 of the Shtetl's Harvey Liveblog.

Good morning from New Orleans on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and the 0th anniversary of Tropical Storm Harvey. It is raining, and Jared the Cat is informing me he's ready for breakfast. Those are the updates so far.

Apologies to people named Harvey at this time. You are not to blame. Seek comfort from the Katrinas of the world. You will likely become unique butterflies, if the baby-naming trend plays out.

Hopefully this rain is just tedious and not dangerous. There is something a little macabre about packing a to-go bag: "Will this spoon be the spoon I use for days?" "Do I need a copy of my expired passport, just in case?" Etc, etc.

I just wanna read my feminist bicycle science fiction
stories and get on with my day, y'heard?

Received a text from the National Weather Service: "Flash Food Warning this area til 10:30 AM CDT. Avoid flood areas." Thank you, National Weather Service, for that informative and helpful message.

Still raining. Trash pick-up proceeding as scheduled in the neighborhood. Someone clever put a sign reading "I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN" on the Broad St. pumping station. In other community news, Juan's Flying Burrito is offering $1 kids' lunches today.

From @CampusConnection
Well at least today there's a new Hurray for the Riff Raff music video! A beautiful celebration of Brown and Black imagination and physicality.

The rain stopped a little while ago. People are starting to come out to walk their dogs and stuff.

Took a stroll around the neighborhood. It's a little blustery and drizzly, and there aren't a lot of people or cars out. Otherwise, things seem okay (except maybe for the 350 alligators on verge of escaping Texas facility).

Starting to pour again.

Jared shelters in place
Well, campers, this ends the riveting documentation of Harvey here in New Orleans. Thanks for tuning in.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Liveblogging Harvey from New Orleans, Part Un

Welcome back to the news from my living room, dear Concerned Readers of America: in particular, my relatives up North!

Summer on the Gulf Coast is never without its surprises, as Tropical Storm Harvey (née Hurricane) has demonstrated to my beleaguered neighbors in Texas. Indeed, the news footage of the past week has been disturbingly reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina's trauma imagery back in 2005. Without making light of the true suffering and devastation already incurred by the storm, I aim here to document the situation from my perch in Mid-City, New Orleans. 

I did some last-minute, upscale hurricane preparation shopping at Whole Foods, mostly to scope out if the Amazon discount rumors are true (they're not, unless you count a $1.99 avocado as a discount). I remember shopping for Hurricane Isaac back in 2012, cruising other people's carts at the Chalmette Walmart to see what I should buy to be PREPARED. It turned out that the hot commodities were: bread (for sandwiches), batteries (for flashlights and things), liquor (for feeling less terrible/afraid), condoms (for sex), pet food (for pets), and ice cream (for...a melty treat when the power goes out? Never could figure that one out). I picked up some sandwichy things and headed home through windy rain.

It's still kinda raining, as it's been all afternoon. I'm mostly worried about my car flooding, because New Orleans still can't figure out how to pump out floodwaters from a normal rainstorm. "[I don't know] what I was thinking biking [to work today]," my friend tells me when I offer her a ride home. Sigh. Dear Reader, take a minute to reflect on whether your city has adequate infrastructure. If it does, that's nice for you. Go out and salute your functional stoplights and sewers.

Princess Jared does not suffer tropical storms gladly
A break in the rain. I'm heading to water aerobics class, which may come to feel like a folly in a few hours' time. School is cancelled tomorrow, and the mayor is saying to "stay home, stay off the streets." Try telling that to my escape-artist cat.

Say what you will about the South, we really take care of each other here.

Why does NPR feel the need to re-broadcast Terry Gross' crappy show when I want to hear nonstop alarmist weather reports? Ugh. I can't stand Terry Gross. This is all her fault.

Discover sent me a customer satisfaction survey about the phone call we had yesterday. I had to report that someone stole my credit card and somehow ran up $200 at a KFC in New Orleans East. "They should have known better," I told the agent. "I've been vegetarian since 2004." How do you even spend $200 at KFC?? That is some short-sighted hurricane prep if I know anything about it.

Oh man, the ice cream truck is passing by. This must be a thing here. Hello!

Spotted some racist claptrap on social media regarding the Cajun Navy and their confrontation with suspected "looter" "thugs" "from New Orleans." I would like to esteem the Cajun Navy's acts of heroism in saving people without all the bureaucracy and self-congratulation we see from conventional, better-resourced outfits, but come the fuck on. That kind of language was used to discredit and demonize the efforts of Black New Orleanians - largely neglected by the public and private sectors - to survive Hurricane Katrina. You may remember the news reports claiming that Black people "loot" food while white people "find" it.

PS: Do not donate to the Red Cross. Check out Another Gulf Is Possible: A Just Harvey Recovery for a list of front-line response efforts in need of support. Also see Mutual Aid Disaster Relief for a smart message about the need for community-centered relief.

Here is a great "Queer Guide to Hurricane Season," compiled by great New Orleanian Miriam Belblidia. Peruse its suggestions for maintaining your mental health and physical wellbeing during this stressful time, as you are simultaneously soothed by the classical music broadcast by NPR instead of the nonstop alarmist weather reports we might actually want to hear.

I'll just put these news reports here with the simple suggestion that if we were to value each other as humans, maybe we could all survive and thrive together:
Moving the car to slightly higher ground, though it's not raining. Getting a "to-go bag" together just in case, but really more to tempt The Fates not to make a big deal out of the whole thing. Kinda like lighting a cigarette while waiting for the bus: Surefire way to make the bus arrive right quick. Now for picking out a festive outfit to wait for the rain.

Bedtime - hopefully nothing terrible happens!

*Part Deux of the Liveblog can be found here*