Hi. I’m a DPW / Gate clowngineer who now lives with some other “derelicte” members of D.I.Y. society, building up a Katrina-bombed house in the Holy Cross neighborhood of New Orleans. The Holy Cross is the sliver-by-the-river area of the Lower 9th Ward which didn’t get crushed by a tsunami shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit landfall. All around our neighborhood, during the day, you can hear hammering and sawing and the shouts of construction workers complaining about heat and sun. It sounds like a Deadwood background reel, or Black Rock City being built.
Meanwhile, we’re living with no refrigerator for the moment. Also, zero grocery stores exist within biking distance — reasonable biking distance — so for the past we-don’t-know-how-many days in a row, when we’re not being fed at the fancy-pants restaurants at which we toil, we partake of the HOLY CROSS BREAKFAST: Fried chicken and a pickle.
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ADOPT-A-DIRTBAG: Why not send a DPW / Gate / Burning Dude desert-rat hooligan (or yourself) to New Orleans to help rebuild with Lowernine.org?
Hurricane Katrina still haunts New Orleans, and she likely always will. She is an ogre. She is an abusive ex-lover out on parole. She is the backdrop, the turning point, the literal dark cloud hanging over everyone’s past, seeping out into the present, humidifying the future. Her human survivors remain buoyant — awash with both what-can-you-do resignation and silver-lining contentment.
Katrina gave America the biggest mother-nature bitch-slapping in its history … right upside this murderous and gorgeous city’s face. 80 percent of New Orleans flooded, and 1500 people died — half as many humans as the ones who perished on September 11th, 2001. Then, while the government callously sat back and watched in catatonia — like an 8-year-old pouring gasoline on an ant-hill — the good people of the United States mobilized to help.
When the storm hit, for a blessedly large number of out-of-towners, horrified empathy morphed into positive action.
Rick's the one in the dark grey T-shirt
In 2006, Rick Prose chaperoned a church trip from Maine down to post-Katrina New Orleans with his daughter’s youth group. Working mostly in the Gentilly area, Prose shot some video of a man scavenging gutting debris on the curb. The scavenger said something like: “You think it’s bad over here … Wanna come see my house in the Lower 9th Ward?”
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