I know one person in New Orleans, at least as well as you can know someone with whom you’ve traded newsgroup posts for almost 10 years.
We heard from him today. He posted today to alt.aol.tricks, where we hang out, that he got out. He’s safe with his family at his sister’s in western Florida.
The Philadelphia Inquirer filled two thirds of the front page with this picture. The little tiny web-based JPG does not do the printed version justice.
It shows a sea filled with the roofs fading off towards downtown in the background. The picture at the link is too small show the blue expanse of what used to be Lake Pontchartrain filling the streets and yards and alleys of what used to be a city.
I can’t say I’m surprised at reports of looting. Those who could not or chose not to evacuate pretty much have nothing left–no food, no water, no spare clothing. Nevertheless, I can find no sympathy for those who have chosen to take advantage of this disaster to stock up on DVD players, televisions, and other such luxuries. And I wonder, how many are stocking up on guns and ammo?
And, for that matter, what are they going to plug all those Xboxes into, anyway?
Stray thought–not only have I-10 and many other highways collapsed along the Gulf Coast. So to has the “information super-highway” collapsed along the coast. I can type all I want, but the people I’m typing about will probably never see it. By the time they are online again, today will be old news.
Granted, there will be information backroads–reporters and relief personnel with fresh cell phone batteries and satellite connections, but a lot of the news will have to come to us the 20th century way–from people on the ground relaying what they are seeing and hearing by telephone, from garbled government press releases, and from eye-witnesses as they are debriefed after each day’s work.
I feel as if, since I am so bold as to put comments about this in a public place, where anyone can read them (whether or not anyone does), that I should be able to find more to say–something with profundity, with power, with import.
But I can’t.