Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
We wrote, "The Tolling of the Great Southern Belle" ten years ago, after Hurricane Katrina had devastated South Louisiana and the coastal cities of Mississippi and Alabama.
Cappy was out on the boat, riding it out. His boat was tied up and he was alone. Everyone else had 'jumped ship', until after the worst was over. I heard him try to stay calm over the phone, but it was difficult, when he kept getting thrown hard from one side of the wheelhouse to the other. He thought he might not survive, but didn't tell me until much later.
I had 'run' to Texas to take a young woman there, in my SUV loaded with her stuff and cat, plus our two dogs. We were in a news blackout so didn't hear how badly things had gotten back in New Orleans, until the next morning in the hotel. I was only getting bits and pieces between times when the young lady (I had driven there and I had paid for our hotel suite) kept turning off the television, disgusted that "anyone would want to watch that stuff." (The original mold of ingratitude was not created because of her, but just one more thing to have to endure because of all the confusion due to the storm.) The first indication that let me know I had run from a very bad situation, was from Cappy, when the phone service came on temporarily between us. He said, "Oh, Peg. This is not good. The levee breached and there are bodies floating in the streets of New Orleans. I've never in my lifetime heard of that happening."
At the time I wrote the "Tolling" blog post, here at home, a few scant days later, anarchy seemed to be ruling the streets in New Orleans. Chaos. Panic. Death caused by the hurricane and flood was now accompanied by lawlessness. The death toll kept rising.
I feared that the beautiful city of New Orleans may have been completely gone forever, and so I wrote:
The Tolling of the Great Southern Belle
She was one of a kind, our Nola. She was a grand lady, the finest example of gracious Southern Hospitality. She was a beautiful hostess, a lady of refinement, gentility, and humor. (And her food!...My, Oh, My, Momma NOLA's Cookin'!) But for all her artisocracy and proper Southern manners,we all knew that beneath all the lace and petticoats, she was a foxy seductress, a siren, who's wanton, bluesy, raunchy, soulful, music wafted through her French Quarter. We loved her for all that she was...with all of her sins and for all of her goodness.
What a terrible 'cat-fight'. Nola had been able to defend herself against Betsy and Camille; been battered and bruised, but recovered...eventually. It appears that Katrina has beaten our Dear City and surrounding area.
New Orleans Saints have multiplied beyond number as of yet. More go Marching In all the time; those not having been rescued, and now more recently, victims of crime. No one knows how high the death toll is going to be. New Orleans, Louisiana, or 'NOLA', the Great Southern Belle is still tolling.