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Friday's List is full of woe

(9/3) Gienna Writes is a personal diary that's mostly about writing and photography. It serves as a creative and emotional outlet for me and as a space for my own words and pictures. I don't normally write about current events. But this weekend I'm doing something a little different.

I couldn't ignore Hurricane Katrina and the devastated people of the Gulf Coast area. So I'm writing about and linking to other people's words and pictures of the disaster.

If you have words and pictures you would like to share (either your own or someone else's), please feel free to leave a comment or email me at giennawrites at gmail dot com.

And if you feel moved to donate, please consider giving to the Red Cross or to Noah's Wish, an organization that rescues animals in disasters. Volunteers from both organizations are in the affected region and desperately need your help.

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(9/2) Yesterday I said that I was feeling overwhelmed by the news and images of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast area. And, quite frankly, I didn't even have a clue as to the full extent of what was going on down there. It seems like no one--except those who were living it--really did.

It finally sank in as I watched the evening news last night, and saw images and heard stories that will stay with me as surely as those from the September 11 terrorist attacks have ... a dead man slumped over in his wheelchair, covered in a makeshift shroud; an entire family stranded in their car in a drug store parking lot with a flat tire and an empty gas tank; a mother, laying safe in her hospital bed and holding her tiny newborn, telling how she had not seen her five-year-old since, while swimming to find him some asthma medicine, she had gone into labor.

I'll be honest--I condemned those who were looting stores and wondered what the hell was wrong with those who didn't get out of the hurricane's path and ended up sitting on the roofs of their houses, surrounded by rising waters, waiting to be rescued. Now I understand that many of these people didn't have a choice. What were you supposed to do if you didn't have a car, or money for gas, or a place to go even if you did have a car and money for gas? If you were elderly, or nine months pregnant? These people, faced with impossible choices, did the best they could do.

Today's Friday List was going to be made up of writing and photography on Katrina that I found to be especially compelling. But, to be honest, I got a little overwhelmed again. I think I'll leave this post up and update it with links over the long weekend. If anyone has suggestions for additions, something you read or saw or heard that really moved you, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email (giennawrites at gmail dot com).

Here's what I've got so far:

Under WaterHitting BottomHelp Us, PleaseFirst Water, Now Fire

(Note: Clicking on these images will take you to a PDF of the front page of each edition. They might take a while to load.)

(9/2) I hope the staff of
The Times-Picayune win the Pulitzer for their home-town coverage of Hurricane Katrina--they damn well deserve it. The staff of the daily newspaper had to evacuate to higher ground in order to keep publishing; they've been sleeping in their new offices and working on laptops since. You can see their unbelievable coverage of Hurricane Katrina here.

The Times' site,
NOLA.com, shows how community journalism can be at its absolute best even when things are at their absolute worst. The perspective is haunting: there are e-mail postings from people who are trapped and wondering when help is coming and a list of links under the heading "What's happened to my neighborhood?" that simply gave me chills.

Read more about how local media outlets covered the disaster while in the midst of the disaster in this
NY Times article: Flooding Stops Presses and Broadcasts, So Journalists Turn to the Web.

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(9/2) PJKM, one of the members of the oddly-named group blog Babies are fireproof is from New Orleans and has been posting her experiences there. Her three most recent posts ("Homeless," "They're Trying to Wash Us Away" and "A Town Like Alec" are simply beautiful examples of writing grace under extreme pressure.

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(9/2) As mentioned in yesterday's post, disaster-relief organizations for animals and humans, including Noah's wish and the Red Cross need your help. But make sure your money goes directly to those who really need it, not scumbags whose first thought is to come up with a scam to line their own pockets. Read about it in the Washington Post article, Scammers Hit Web In Katrina's Wake.
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(9/3) Noah's Wish has started a Hurricane Katrina updates site to document the animal rescue efforts of the 65 volunteers they have working in Slidell. Obviously, updating is difficult at the moment, but they report that they are currently managing rescued animals in 3 locations with the numbers growing rapidly: 168 in a boarding kennel; 100 in the emergency shelter; 40 in a grooming shop.

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(9/3) Two highlights from last night's A Concert for Hurricane Relief on NBC ... The first was Aaron Neville singing Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927," with its goosebump-raising refrain: "They're trying to wash us away." The song is about the Louisiana Flood of 1927. If you want to learn more, click here. Reuters has a piece about the Big Easy's musicians here. See the comments for the lyrics of "Louisiana." I'm pretty sure Neville didn't use the word "cracker" in his version, though.
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The second moment was, of course, was when rapper Kayne West stymied NBC censors with a quiet and cleanly-worded (but very emotional) protest over media treatment of the victims of the hurricane--the majority of whom are black and poor--and added that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people." There was a several second delay to the broadcast, but the censors were on guard against gangsta-style f-bombs and totally didn't expect West to deliver a political statement. You can see a video of the moment here. The Washington Post has a funny "why we love live TV" take on it here.
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(9/3) Read the original "finding versus looting" post by Wonkette, which I think was the first to point out the AP photo that showed a black person "looting" food and the AFP photo that showed white people "finding" food (which has since been removed ... oddly enough the black looter is still up there).
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(9/3) Read the Yahoo! News statement on the photo language controversy. Read more at Salon (free if you get a one-day pass and watch an ad). The upshot is that the photo agencies say that the captions are based on what actions the photographer actually witnessed first-hand.

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(9/3) "Vacation is Over ... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush." Whatever you think of Micheal Moore (or George Bush, for that matter) he is a good writer. "Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them?" Moore writes in his open letter to Bush. "I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag." Read the entire piece here.
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(9/3) The truth laid bear is hosting Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Weekend ... And for some reason Instapundit is trying to keep track of it all.

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(9/3) Speaking of keeping track of it all, Universal Hub is doing an amazing job collecting bloggers' responses to Katrina. Read what Boston-area writers have to say here. There are exerpts from more far-flung locales and a mind-boggling list of other sources and resources on this page.
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Updating ...
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1 comment:

Gienna said...

Louisiana

What has happened down here is the winds have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline
The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangelne
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tyrin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, "Little fat man isn't it a shame what the river has done
To this poor crackers land."
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away