Still preoccupied

On the face of it, there’s something more than a little presumptuous, I freely admit, about a Brooklyn blogger taking so manic an interest in Katrina and her wake.

Throughout my childhood and into my college years, I spent part of every summer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My sister and I flew into New Orleans and then my grandparents drove us out to their little town (Long Beach, located just west of Gulfport and east of Bay St. Louis. I haven’t heard much about it in the wake of Katrina, but that’s no surprise. Long Beach is a poor town with no casinos or significant landmarks. Given that the Bay St. Louis bridgeconnection to Biloxi” — um, there are some other towns in the middle there, folks — was wiped out, I’m willing to bet the whole area got slammed).

At least I don’t have to worry about my grandparents. They moved to Nashville last year, and my grandmother died this past spring.

But I have an unnatural tendency to obsess over possible disasters in general — the only parts of the Bible that resonate for me despite a childhood of religious instruction are Job, Ecclesiastes, and, for the apocalyptic fervor of it, Revelation — and I live in particular fear of hurricanes and the devastation they can wreak. While I grew up in Miami (not Southern, its deceptive location notwithstanding) and have a love-hate relationship with the South, I’ve always had this fantasy that I’d one day leave New York City and move back down thataway.

Visions of my future Southern life have always centered on New Orleans. It’s the best Southern city (except during Mardi Gras, when it’s best to hightail it out of town and enjoy Fat Tuesday from Lafayette or New Iberia or some other place that’s not overrun with tourists). It kills me to see those levees breaking — all those people already dead or dying, or in new and terrible danger, all those beautiful landmarks flooded.

And you know what? Fuck the oil.

I’m going to be tied to the news and the Internet for the rest of the day. Those who’re looking for bookish links should probably head elsewhere, at least until tomorrow.

If you want more Katrina news, there’s a Wiki. Terry Teachout has more. And you can join me in refreshing Google, where you can read the same wire story from a new source every three seconds.


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