[lit-ideas] Re: Essay on New Orleans

  • From: Carol Kirschenbaum <carolkir@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2005 18:55:48 -0700

This makes 9/11 look like a fender
> bender by comparison.

ck: Damn, you're good with facile comparisons! But of course you're 
neglecting to factor in the simple reality that while in the throes of a 
desperate situation, the victims really don't know what they're facing. On 
9/11, initially (and later, too), many thought the attack on the WTC was 
just the first in a series, possibly close together. More attacks--all over 
the US--seemed imminent. And the aftershocks of grief, with thousands of 
people suddenly dead--missing, perhaps worse? But I'm also thinking about 
NYer behavior during its many blackouts. Looting is famously minimal.

However, I came to praise New York, not revile the South. Back to the 
hot-weather explanation.  Now, I've lived in plenty of hot climates--central 
Texas,  Jackson and Oxford, Mississippi, Fresno, and New Orleans. Only in 
New Orleans did I pass out from heat exhaustion. The humidity is 
unbelievable. I wonder how much aggressive, nutsy behavior is directly due 
to the lack of drinking water (dehydration can alter mental functioning) 
along with FEMA's utter lack of planning.

FEMA, btw, seems to have few if any sensible plans for *any* disasters in 
*any* city. For instance, in case of any emergency (nuclear war, floods, 
whatever) in Austin, Texas, FEMA's plan is to evacuate the entire city north 
via Hwy 183, which was a notoriously slow, pot-holed, two-lane road that 
inspired the bumper sticker, "Pray for me, I drive 183." Roads surrounding 
New Orleans make Hwy 183 in Texas look like a better-kempt Autobahn.


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