Don’t forget, Part 2 of "Native Waters" is tonight at 9 p.m., Saturday at 1 a.m. and Monday at 7:30 a.m. In this episode we’ll be fishing near Charenton in the basin and south of Houma near Bayou Dularge. Joe has traveled down to our world and we put out the red carpet for him, though the fishing wasn’t quite as good as it could have been thanks to two hurricanes and several cold fronts that came through that week.
If you think I’m making too big a deal of this, well…you’re right! On the other hand, as a former FM radio guy, I am all too familiar with the concept of "one hit wonders."
Oh, and by the way, Happy First Day of Your Seventh Decade to my pal C. Rodger Robinson! You don’t look a day over your Sixth-Point-Ninth Decade!!
It remains, as the Times-Picayune called it, "a hopeless mess."
While I’d really rather satisfy my readership with something light-hearted and joyful, how can I find anything happy to write about when the heart suffers so badly over the status of Louisiana’s coastal residents?
When some 12,000 trailers are sitting in Arkansas but FEMA won’t send them here because – get this – "if they are located in the flood plain, they would have to be raised and anchored, and that would make them permanent. FEMA isn’t putting permanent housing in place because parish governments don’t want that."
Huh??? FEMA dictates the dadgum elevation requirements! They shoot themselves in the foot left and right, and Louisiana’s homeless evacuees are crippled because of it.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands remain homeless and are not only distraught and hopeless, but are committing suicides and violent crimes from sheer desperation. We’re not just talking crackheads and crazies here. We’re talking people who last August were hard-working homeowners with families and some sense of order in their lives. Katrina and Rita destroyed most of that. Federal, state and local incompetence killed the rest.
And meanwhile again, the state legislature stayed up until way past their bedtimes into the wee hours of this morning to butcher the governor’s levee board consolidation plan in a typical example of Louisiana political stupidity.
Many legislators grumbled about attending the special session as if tending to the needs of many tens of thousands of hurricane ravaged Louisiana citizens and businesses and hundreds of thousands of others waiting for the next hurricane to destroy their lives as well, was a bother. Many wouldn’t even attend the opening of the session at the convention center as the governor requested, too callused and wrapped up in their own political hand-wringings to give a rip about the rest of us. Many state legislators haven’t even visited the devastated areas of the coast yet, and that’s a shame.
The Picayune said, "Maybe those lawmakers who couldn’t bother to take a bus ride through our misery simply aren’t capable of understanding the magnitude of what happened here. But maybe they are. And if they saw the damage first-hand, they might be shamed into acting responsibly."
They should all resign or be impeached.
How can any of us in St. Mary Parish, knowing how high the waters came inland for Hurricane Rita that made landfall 150 miles away, go about our lives, grocery shopping, going to movies, having a barbecue…knowing that if we take a Category 3 or above hit directly we are doomed? And nobody from Washington to Baton Rouge is doing anything to protect us?
All they want to do is call each other names. Democrat and Republican. Liberal and Conservative. Left and Right. Red and Blue.
Hurricanes don’t care what your political party is, and neither do flood waters. Ask Trent Lott.
The Picayune also reported this little gem yesterday: "Louisiana National Guard official said that Navy officials, pretending to be contractors, appropriated buses that were on their way to the Superdome the Thursday after Hurricane Katrina struck. The buses were used to rescue family members of Navy personnel hunkered down at the Fairmont Hotel."
Oh, and how about this? The AP says that, "Twenty-eight government agencies, from local Louisiana parishes to the White House, reported that New Orleans levees were breached Aug. 29, the day Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, documents released Thursday show."
Yeah, CNN and Fox showed us the ruffians and the drug users and the government dependent all over the televisions for weeks. But did they show us Kemberly Samuels?
"I bought my house in 1981, paid it off by 2003. I put two kids through college. I worked my whole life as a schoolteacher," said Samuels, 52, whose home in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward was ruined by five feet of standing water. But her time in the Astrodome, then in a church, then in search for a Houston apartment that would take her housing voucher "was the most humiliating time of my life."
Don’t you folks realize that we all could be Kemberly Samuels if Hurricane Whatever whips through St. Mary Parish, throwing a 20-foot wall of water right through our homes?
What does it take to get us mobilized, to get us to care that our lives and property and jobs and our entire way of life is at stake and our state leaders are shooting us in our feet and our federal leaders don’t give a damn what happens to us?