Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wake Me Up When September Ends

When I first started thinking about my annual Katrina anniversary post, I searched for just the right photos to illustrate it. But I won't be using them. After spending the weekend watching what Hurricane Irene did to the east coast, I just can't look at any more flooded streets, any more shattered houses, any more white swirling clouds. So instead, for anyone and everyone savaged by this latest storm, this song's for you:

While hurricane season technically lasts from 1 June to 1 December, everyone in New Orleans knows that the truly dangerous period extends for three weeks on either side of 10 September. It's during that nasty six week window that the Gulf is at its hottest and conditions are somehow ripe for funneling killer storms our way. Betsy, Camille, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike...they all fell within that six week period

This is the time of year when I just sort of hunker down, shut my eyes, grit my teeth, and wait for it all to be over.

Monday will be the sixth anniversary of Katrina. Next year will be seven; soon it will have been a decade, then a quarter century. With every year, Katrina recedes farther and farther into the past. I recently reread some of the posts I wrote in the months after the storm, and I was frankly astonished at the number of the things I'd forgotten from those days. But one thing I remember quite clearly about the weeks after Katrina is the way people kept playing Green Day's Wake Me Up When September Ends. Our houses were either open to the sky or protected by flimsy blue tarps; water was still standing everywhere; the levees were battered, weakened, or gone. We knew if another hurricane hit the city, at that point, all truly would be over. So we watched the sky, and hoped, and held our breath, and waited for that six-week danger period to be over...for September to end.


Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, what you said! :)

paz said...

Last picture is lovely: evocative and haunting. I am sure Yemaya, mother goddess of the ocean, approved of this offering.

Steve Malley said...

I hear that!

On a side note, your Katrina posts were actually what got me writing about the quakes. :)

Steve Malley said...

And on a REALLY side note, it looks like I'll be in New Orleans right around Halloween/early November! :D

cs harris said...

Charles, wonder how long it will be before this anniversary doesn't hang over us for weeks as it approaches?

Paz, I wish I lived on the beach so I could watch the sun rising or setting over the water. But then I think about hurricanes and go, nah.

Steve, your posts on your city have haunted me ever since I read them. And are you seriously coming to New Orleans? How neat!