iPods appear to be programmed with a sense of irony. When I turned on my iPod for my Monday morning commute and set it to Shuffle, the song that came up first, at random, was Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” :

Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away

That seemed funny at the time. I’m not laughing now. I wasn’t prepared for how hard this has hit me. I was born in New Orleans, but I haven’t been back there in over 30 years. I vaguely wanted to go, someday, retrace my roots – my father was born there, and his mother, and, a few generations before that, our Tiemann ancestor came from Germany and settled there, just in time to fight for the state of Louisiana in the Civil War. I still have relatives in New Orleans. Hopefully.

I figured there was time yet in my life to go back to New Orleans and learn something about where I came from.

I was wrong.


Below is from the Woodstock alumni group; KIS refers to our sister school, Kodaikanal International School in south India.

Sept. 1, 2005

Joel lives in Gulfport, MS and is a nurse. He raised lots of money from his hospital and others in his area for the South Indian Tsunami victims, established a non-profit and went over to India for several weeks to find places where he could be helpful. Quite a guy!
Jane Cummings

…As to our situation I haven’t had time to think about it. We stayed at my step daughters house for the hurricane and on my way into work last night stopped by our house, it was overwhelming I must admit. It was in a 500 year flood zone, essentially meaning that it would not flood. We are close to I-10 and our house was 10 feet higher than I-10, was told that interstates were built above all flood levels, wrong! I had checked into flood insurance when we first moved there and was told that we didn’t fit in the qualifications because of the elevation, well, 90% of the damage is flood damage and not covered by insurance! But at this time that is all beside the point.

I stopped at the house to get a uniform for work and not much was left in the house, ended up coming in in my shorts and t-shirt, we are working 20+ hour shifts because so many staff cannot get to work or have not been heard from, the stories we are hearing of survival and death are amazing and beyond my normal comprehension. This is truly America’s tsunami. I had been planning to be leaving for the reunion Thursday morning, that is not happening, I was really looking forward to seeing you but that will have to wait for another time. I fear that the fatalities may well rise above 1,000 in a two county area, there are some areas 10 miles deep and twenty miles long that nothing is left standing and was completely under water, nobody knows yet what happened to those residents who stayed. We are having Coast Guard helicopters, sometimes one after another for hours at a time bringing in survivors picked off roof tops. The hospital was severely damaged however the only one in operation on the Mississippi coast except for one on the far eastern side of the coast so needless to say we are being stress to the max to provide for the needs of the people. I do believe that after the search and rescue phase is complete that martial law will be implemented.

I have not had time to contemplate my personal situation, I find it ironic that 15 years ago we lost everything in a house fire, and now a flood, that’s the definition of “hell & high water” for you! Anyway the bottom line is our family survived and we can replace anything else in time. So it’s one day at a time and it is times like this that one has to re-evaluate priories and be thankful for what we do have. My break is over, I’ll be in touch periodically, thanks for your concern. You can share this note with anyone you think may be interested.

Take care, Peace, Joel Turner, ’70

and, in case you’re inclined to blame the victims…

Worse Than Iraq?

from a discussion forum for professional TV photographers:

The reports coming out of New Orleans right now are just unreal. People are getting beyond desperate and it’s only a matter of time before someone in the media gets shot. I’m urging anyone who can contact your people on the area – get them out before all hell breaks loose. You can always go back after the military has regained control.

If you don’t believe me, then just read this

It’s the same thing on CNN and Foxnews too. For God’s sake, get clear of this while you still can. No story is worth dying for, not even this one.

Lighting a Single Candle

A sample entry from http://www.hurricanehousing.org/

Housing for 3 people in Selma, AL

I live in an old mobile home in a rural area outside of Selma. I don’t have much but what I do have I am willing to share as best I can. I figure we can make room for 2 or 3 for a few weeks. It ain’t much to look at and I ain’t much of a housekeeper but it’s dry when it rains, cool in the summer with air and warm if the weather should turn cold. Town is about eight miles away. Work in the local area is spotty at best. I have a real friendly couple of pets here, both a dog and a cat (well, to tell the truth sometimes the cat ain’t so friendly) and if you have a friendly socialble pet that might be able to get along OK with them and might like to run around on a couple of acres in the country, we’ll see what we can do to accomodate. If you’re looking for luxury, this ain’t for you. If you’re looking for someone that will share the little bit that they got, come on up this way and lets see if we can’t do something to get you settled. The conditions here are probably best for someone that can get around OK. Disabled and handicapped would have some problems. All I ask in return is that you pitch in around the house and provide as you are able.

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