It’s raining hard again here in New Orleans, and my heart’s beating like an anxious dog’s. I have spent the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week trying to talk my 80-year-old father into evacuating his home north of Houston, and also thinking about all the water in my life.
My heart didn’t used to freak out at the sound of rain, not even in the years after Katrina. That was a onetime tragedy from which New Orleans would bounce back and then never let that happen again, or so we told ourselves. My heart’s painful, triggered beating began just a few weeks back into this summer, when New Orleans filled up with water again after a simple hard rain. Sans warning, several of my friends lost their cars, and many of their houses took on water. The clubhouse of our legendary African American carnival krewe, Zulu, flooded to just under Katrina levels.
The saddest flood story I heard came from my young friend Gregory, who stopped by my house Monday morning with a box of pancake mix in his hand. A native New Orleanian, Gregory has the tendency to put the good news first, and sometimes even exclude the bad news altogether. It seemed strange that he just wanted to eat pancakes with me at my house, so after we’d shared a post-breakfast blunt, I prodded him until he finally shared the bad news: After finding a great new apartment, Gregory had rented a U-Haul and packed it with every single thing he owned. That afternoon it rained ten inches, filling the streets and Gregory’s U-Haul with several feet of water. He lost all of his belongings at once, just as he had during Katrina. Luckily for U-Haul, it’d sold Gregory every type of insurance except flood. His new apartment also flooded, so now he had nowhere to stay, nowhere to cook his pancakes.
After that flood, the water slowly, very slowly, drained away, and it came to light that several of the turbines that power New Orleans’s most important pumps were dead—two had died at the beginning of this year’s hurricane season, and another back in 2012. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is president of the Sewerage and Water Board that maintains the pumps, thinks you should CLICK HERE to read the rest of this essay at VICE…
Or watch THIS DEPRESSING FOOTAGE of New Orleans most recent flood (Aug 2017).