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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Treading Water

Yo Le Tango - Treading Water.

We are waiting...waiting for Isaac to turn hurricane. Waiting to see where it'll land. Waiting for Wednesday to see what, if anything, we're dealing with. Above all, waiting to make sure the **** cable's on Thursday night for South Carolina at Vanderbilt.

I was supossed to be on my way to Natchez this morning...then onto the Louisiana State Penitentiary...

Photobucket hats, Leadbelly, the Rodeo.

That trip's been cancelled. Not only are prisoners being transferred there from the Coast...people from south Louisiana have booked every hotel room from here to Dallas.

Folks are jumpy. If you live around here, especially south of here, hurricanes are just part of the territory. They don't come every year but they will come. Some are worse than others.

Kate was the worst one I sat through as a kid. Me and the Sister spent that night in the hallway just like them kids in the picture. Even in there we could hear the wind pushing against the house and pine cones pelted the roof at a rattling pace.

Of course, my parents, in true Cracker fashion, stood on the front porch gawking.

"Look a'dat."

"D'you see that?"

Turns out what they were watching was the glow of tornadoes that were bouncing dangerously around the house. Just as the storm started to show the first signs of slowing, my brother pulled into the drive way. He had spent the worst of it trying to find a place to buy cigarettes. HA!

The real disaster became clear the next morning when we realized that, instead of being cut loose for a week while the school was shutdown, we'd be spending every hour of daylight picking up limbs and raking.

Some are worse than others...then there's Katrina. Seven years ago today, on a creepily similar path to Isaac, she reached her most vicious strength. Next day she came ashore on the western edge of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and erased it. The counter clockwise sweep of the storm took care of the rest...a 30ft wall of water mauled everything in it's path. Houses were blown to atoms, floating casinos were picked up and moved half a mile inland. More than 200 Mississippians lost their lives. Jackson is 160 miles from the coast. Katrina hit it us as a Category 2 storm.

For a minute that was the story. Then the levees gave way in New Orleans. Even though Mississippi had taken Katrina in the teeth, the Gulf Coast was almost forgotten. I read a story in the Guardian a couple of years ago on the anniversary of the storm. It claimed that New Orleans had been hit by a 30ft storm surge.

It conjured up images of the Quarter being crushed by giant waves...of Andrew Jackson being toppled in his square and, most horrifying of all, Crescent City Books being turned to pulp. Not exactly...that's what happened to Mississippi...the extreme northeastern edge of New Orleans sticks out between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne.* Except over land, there isn't really a clear path from the Gulf to New Orleans. To be sure, the water came and it was a disaster but it was not an obliteration event like the Coast had suffered.

Of course, one reason Mississippi didn't make as many headlines was because our governor, Hailey Barbour, came out the next day and declared that looters would be shot...and everybody knew he meant it.

Anyway, Isaac is not Katrina...and maybe once it passes maybe people can get back taking these things in stride and I won't have to cancel my &*&^ plans and spend the entire week in the office.


A Katrina stump...trees killed by the storm have been carved into fish, dolphins and birds from Gulf Port to Waveland. Reminders but pleasant.

*The French Quarter in New Orleans sits against the Mississippi River and being on that side it avoided most of the damage.


  1. Can't imagine seeing that as a kid. Something to be said for England's lack of all things hurricane

    There's also something to be said for your Governor's approach to matters.

    Batten down the hatches and also just curious but why were you going to a prison.

    1. Not for any of the reasons predicted when I was a young man...I sell food.

      Angola is its own story. You can't take a street map in there...nevermind, a phone or a camera. So I sketched feverishly when I could.

      All hurricanes are dangerous but, most of them are doable....Katrina was a 100 year storm.

      I should point out that with a storm like Isaac we are fairly safe in Jackson. We'll get dissipated bands of the storm, well below hurricane strength and more dangerous for spawning tornadoes than anything else. It'll rain for sure.

      Barbour was a good one.

  2. Mate I lived through a Cyclone here a couple years back. I consider myself a big boy who can handle most things without fear. That had me beat. There were several times during the night that the whole house shook shuddered. But we made it unscathed. cant say the neighborhood did though, house across the street had a tree through it, and no power for 4 days.

    I take it on board that if I live in the north here we will definitely get them, and one day it will take the house with me. But still worth the lifestyle and everything that goes with it.

    Good luck with what ever mother nature throws your way

    1. We got lucky during Katrina with the power. We were in a town house next to a relay station, and while our friends were out of power for a week, we had it the next day.

      We had it a lot harder for the tornadoes that ripped through our neighborhood four or five years ago. Martha's been culling pictures from the old computer. I'll post some of those when they're available. We were in the dark for over a week.

      We should be fine thank you.

  3. Stay safe and yes, as Sharron says and as our weathermen are wont to say over here when the wind gets a bit on the feisty ticket, "Batten down the hatches". (Not sure what you do when you have no hatches nor battens?)
    Hope it moves on quickly and destruction is at a minimum. Lots of luck and we await your next post with bated breath!
    That tree stump carving is amazing by the way. And I absolutely love your sketch - beautiful.

    1. Please. If you don't have don't count.


      Thank you ma'am. I imagine we'll get some thunder and there'll be tornado warnings but's a good excuse not to do anything at work today.

      Those tree carvings are so beautiful and they run all along the Coast. As far as I know that was something arranged by a couple of local residents and the artist refused to be paid. All he wanted was for his wife to be able to sell some of his carvings while he worked.

      Thanks on the was quite a scene watching them form up for work and march off. Very much like one would imagine the old horse and musket armies did.

  4. Scary stuff. The summer holidays with three little people causes enough of a hurricane through our house. x

    1. Hey Mrs. Hearth...welcome to the party.

      We have hurricane Blake every night...just this week I've confiscated a pirate ship, a fire truck and about 200 army men all because of issues surrounding bath time. Mainly a refusal to get in and then out.

      This is the slowest moving storm I've ever seen. It's been hovering around New Orleans and Baton Rouge since last night. We should have had our share by's not even here yet.

      Startin' to get a little breezy though.

  5. Hope the weather ain't too shitty, I must admit, its one of those things that makes me think "why do people live there", same as I think about the folks near volcanoes and such. I guess people look at me under my could of drizzle and think the same, still its not going to kill me... not directly anyways.

    You are lucky with bathtime, I had to 'poo in the bath' incidents this week, too damn busy drawing a green monster with two hammers with his bath crayons to open his mouth and say.

    If its any consolation it was sunny this morning, then this afternoon pissed it down like I have never seen, with a thunderstorm, and finished off with a sunny outro and lovely sunset. Mental country. Stay Safe.

    1. Let me tell you what's mental...the Boy brought home the Good Manners award from school today. The Sister describes him as the perfect child. I'm thankful he is so well behaved for everybody else but, we'd like to get some of that action every once and a while.

      The closest I get to manners from him, without threatening, is him telling me..."Yes ma'am" and then breaking into a giggles.

      I'd rather deal with dirty diapers again than that. I appreciate the intensity of his artistic focus but...:shudder:.

      You wouldn't ask if you'd ever been on the Gulf got an open invitation.

    2. Yeah, we'll get to it one day. Got Denmark and sweden on our list first though. You've done your best to sell it I'll give you that, but its always just seemed so big and boring, just a bit blank. None of the quirky detailed landscapes I love, just big skys and sea. Perhaps thats just the pictures, guess I'll have to wait and see!

    3. That's the shoreline...powder sugared beaches on barrier islands (usually washed by waves that are turqoise yet crystal clear).
      If you want quirky you'll get it in the bays, inlets, bayous, deltas, etc. I'll be down there shortly, no doubt...filling peoples freezers back up.

    4. The Boy got another Good Manners award today and has been obnoxiously bragging about it for the last hour.


  6. Now that's some weather. We don't get none of that here.

    1. I don't know how you do it...pregnant magic...but, you manage to slip a comment into the spam file every once in a while.

      It was the most meandering storm I've ever sat through. Very rough on Plaquermine parish and the North Shore but, otherwise fairly uneventful. In in this area we get straight line winds in spring and fall that are three times as bad as Isaac.

      Still, a lot of loose debris to pick up. Yard work for, not without it's tragic consequences.

  7. Like their style: your ma n pa out on the porch and your brother looking for a pack of cigarettes. Giving the old rude salute to nature: Hey! Isaac! Call yourself a hurricaine! Ha! (well, they would have been calling the blower something other than Isaac - but you know what I mean).

    I watched the news and thought of you as I drove that pissing-awful 40 mile minor road through the desolate arse of Lothian. Aqua-planing in the family tub down the side of the slopes, just giving up and doing a mind-numbing 5 mph (heavy revs) against the foot high flow of sudden river from the fields.

    You can see I probably didn't think of you that much... cos I am a shallow wummin and just haven't mastered the art of rude-saluting nature whilst at the same time saluting true bravery-in-the-face-of-hurricaines...

    I just got too scared and thought I was going to be swept off the road to join the stranded cows lowing from a grassy 'island' in the middle of a sudden pop-up lake.

    I am thinking of you now though. Better late than never...
    And I am glad you are hale and hearty - and probably even fitter after clearing out that yard...

    1. You would've been really proud of me during the round of tornadoes that passed our yard a few years ago...standing in our 6' windows mezmorized...gawking. I'd been around 'em before but I'd never seen any that close. That's a story for another day.

      I like to fact I assume...that in times of mortal danger all my readers turn to me as the subject of their final thoughts. I just love you all and I want your final moments to be happy ones.


      Stay safe out there.

  8. It was hurricane Elaine you dufus, not Kate! Geez!

  9. Ok...maybe it was Kate. But Elaine sounds better!

  10. Elaine was just more yard work...for me.

  11. For those of you who don't know and haven't been around long enough to guess...the anonymous poster is my sister...Little Fred.

    If you'd like to read about all the mean things she's said about me...including calling me a demon...just click Text from my Sister.

    As always I am, and nothing but, her loving brother.

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