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...
Angola...red 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.
"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.