Thursday, September 04, 2008

This Is Our Home

It's odd to run across this 23-minute video about housing in Post-Katrina New Orleans at precisely this moment. I picked it up from an Amnesty International petition table on the campus the last day of classes before we went home to prepare for Hurricane Gustav. And watching it as I wait to see what will happen this time is eerie indeed. Here we are, almost three years to the day after Katrina hit, watching the weather with baited breath. I'm going to schedule this to post during what might turn out to be the middle of New Orleans' next adventure. Seems poetic.

"This Is My Home" - Part 1

"This Is My Home" - Part 2

"This Is My Home" - Part 3

Update: Activist/lawyer/writer Bill Quigley, featured in this video, wrote a little piece for Truthout that captures some of the difficulties now being felt here. I'm not living in my car, but I am living without power for the fourth day, with no end in sight. Fortunately, the University got electricity today and I'm camping out big time. Still, at some point I will head back home to a hot, damp, dark place with no computer, no refrigerator, no way to cook and an iffy phone signal. Boy-oh-boy, what I wouldn't give for an oil lamp about now. Still, having a little bit of money and a few options sets you apart even during the aftermath of a natural disaster.

And Haiti's under water and waiting for yet another storm. I may be uncomfortable, but under the circumstances, I can't complain without thinking of those who still haven't gotten home at all yet or, worse, of Mike and the street kids in Haiti.


Macon D said...

Best of luck to you, and stay healthy! It's great that you can still keep your good fortune in mind in such circumstances.

Changeseeker said...

Hey, Macon. Thanks for the good vibes. They're gratefully accepted. It's not hard to keep your sense of perspective when you have friends that keep you posted. Interestingly enough, I was in Florida for eighteen years and lived through probably a hundred near misses during that time without ever going more than five or six hours without electrical power. It's hard to fully appreciate the discomfort without experiencing it.

Actually, I have open-ended invitations to stay with friends who have generators or power. And the thought crosses my mind from time to time, but sometimes I like to go ahead and bite the bullet. I need to know what this feels like if I'm going to understand.

A year ago, I lived through the whole summer in Tampa without a/c to make sure it could be done (since I was telling students that a/c is causing at least SOME of our global warming problems). I'm not so sure we're always going to have all our creature comforts and I want to have a clue how to handle it before that happens. Like, one really important thing I've learned in the last three days is having an oil lamp is really smart.

Cero said...

Hurricane planning (my eye is on Ike):

We must get oil lamps and battery powered fans. These two things would solve many problems. With a good fan a/c is missed less.

At Lowe's I have already bought a crank radio that is also a flashlight, a distress light, and a cell phone charger. My 1989 TV can run on D batteries (I need to unearth the rabbit ears).

I have decided also that we need CANDELABRAS. Candles really work for light if you have 4-7 of them going in a row, I discovered, and this is why people invented candelabras back in the day, I decided.

What I really, really want and do not know if I can find is a solar powered battery charger for computers. People who are used to microwaves (I am not) probably fantasize about battery powered microwaves - do these exist?


I was brilliant though about food planning, although nobody believed it would work. I literally packed the refrigerator with ice, in plastic bottles and ziploc bags, including some artificial ice. I precooked stuff, including fresh vegetables and hard boiled eggs I could then make salade nicoise with, using tuna, olives, and anchovies from the can. I made ratatouille. I still have hummus and tabouli mix in boxes, that you just mix up with water. Etc. People thought I was nuts to have so much in the fridge, but it was all stuff that wouldn't *rot* quickly, and I had all that ice (and an extra ice chest of ice). They thought I was nuts not to have more canned spaghetti and things like that, and so much fruit (I had 2 watermelons, a pile of grapefruits, and another pile of apples, in addition to dried fruit and nuts), but I swear my system is better and lasts longer, and makes you feel better, and a lot of it was based on planning to eat things you would normally leave out on the counter or in the cupboard anyway. I think I should write a hurricane cookbook or something, would it sell? Final note: I realized that if you don't have a gas stove, you can create a large thermos of hot water before the electricity goes, then you have tea water, at least for a while.

Changeseeker said...

Great ideas, all, Cero! And a hurricane cookbook is a stupendous idea. With chapters and creativity and humor (and inspiration?). Please. :^)

P.S. If you decide to do this and want contributors of one kind or another, I'd like to be included.

cero said...

Should we start the cookbook as a collective blog?

(I am trying to grow edible mushrooms on a log, but I think I have confused it and them.)

Changeseeker said...

I don't know, cero. I have a sizable mushroom growing under my alamanda bush, but being as it's an alamanda (and poisonous), I wouldn't eat the mushroom. ;^)

In the meantime, I'm trying to get my brain around Ike coming when I don't yet have power after Gustav so I'm not feeling expansive at this moment.

cero said...

This is a shiitake mushroom log from Graton, CA (Sonoma County).

Indeed. I can't take on a book project like that now, OR a blog on it, but I'll bet it would make money. And it could have a public service version. I can't take that on now but I can make notes toward
it. It's part of my IKE preparedness frenzy.

(They keep saying it's too soon to tell about Ike and everything, but by the time it is late enough to tell it will also be too late to prepare anything. I mean it is this coming weekend and most of what I can see anywhere is still discussion of Gustav. This is not to discount the sufferings of those under Gustav, it liquidated my savings and all, but: at this point getting ready is more important than getting prepared, I say.)

I have decided everyone who doesn't have a gas stove needs a hibachi or a camping stove of some sort, so they can cook. We must get pieces of serrano ham, or any ham that doesn't need refrigeration (and ham's also OK semi-cool for a long time). Then it is easy to use the ham for flavoring and make potato and vegetable stews and fry ups. None of this would need refrigeration, or at least not serious or good refrigeration.

Also, to amuse the palate, one could make sun tea, no cooking needed.

Rent Party said...

There were typos in this comment:

"This is not to discount the sufferings of those under Gustav, it liquidated my savings and all, but: at this point getting ready is more important than getting prepared, I say."

I suggest:

"This is not to discount the sufferings of those still under the influence of Gustav, which liquidated my own savings, after all. But at this point, I think getting ready is more important than getting PREPARED."

Changeseeker said...

Cero: We were under a severe cloud cover all last week, for which I was grateful, since it seemed to keep things cooler. Will sun tea "brew" under gray clouds? I would have loved some tea.

Rent Party: Your version is more clear, it's true. I'm sure Cero appreciates the help, given the amount of stress we've all been under. :^)