"Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes, than to own the whole state of Ohio." -Lafcadio Hearn (1870s)
Dear Fall 2007 Students, Thanks for not doing stuff like this.
The fall semester of the year 2006S was the record-breaker for imbecility. My favorite example is pictured at right. The student handed it to me and nonchalantly walked away. I glanced at it, immediately called him back in, handed him the paper and gave him the "what the hell is this?" look. He looked at the paper, then back at me and asked me what the problem was. I asked if he was kidding. But he wasn't. When I pointed out that he'd turned in a paper, single spaced and written in all caps, he told me that he hadn't noticed it followed by a George Costanza-esque was I not supposed to do that? Was that wrong? I won't even get into the content of the paper.
Oh, and there are more stories, some much worse.
I was so wrung out by the students of Fall 2006S that I went ahead and scheduled a surgery I needed just for the temporary chemical lobotomy. It didn't last long enough.
This fall has been so different. My students have been incredibly great. The greatest. Really! And apparently I'm not the only one enjoying the reprieve from idiocy.
Yes, that would include me. And yes, I should have posted this a LONG time ago. I'll spare you all the excuses.
Maybe some of you NOLA bloggers remember the guys from an ABC news affiliate in Santa Barbara, CA who came and filmed the goings-on during Rising Tide 2007. It aired in the week after the two-year anniversary of The Storm and reporter Kevin Davis was kind enough to post the segments that aired on KEYT along with some of the raw footage.
Part 2: (My favorite moment is Ray's reaction to the mention of FEMA.)
KEYT anchor interviews Kevin regarding his experiences in New Orleans: (I wish he would have included my piece about how everyone is being screwed by contractors, especially since a caller brought it up.)
Here's Part 1 of the raw footage filmed at my house. I was horrified to see what appears to be the ass of a 45 year old woman on what actually appears to be me. Oh, the burden of vanity! (And yes, I am 45, but that's beside the point.) I think I've lost a few of those post-Katrina pounds since August, but maybe I've really just gotten used to them.
Here's Part 2 of the raw footage. In this part I tell the rest of the story (that I never got around to posting) of what happened with my insurance claim as it relates to the racking of my house.
As my claim with State Farm goes, the damage exceeds my policy limits (which I thought were adequate since State Farm adjusts them upward every year), and I still haven't been paid everything I'm due on contents and I've been paid nothing for Additional Living Expenses (ALE), despite the fact that we haven't been able to live in the house since the storm. My attorney is still on the case to collect this as well as the accumulated depreciation that's being withheld. I'm still tens of thousands of dollars short of what I'll need when it's all said and done and who knows what kind of help, if any, the Road Home will be. I've only had the initial meeting so far.
Here's some unsolicited advice to all you homeowners out there, and I'm not just talking about you folks in New Orleans. Check your insurance policy's limits. Make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild your home based on today's costs, and get a policy with provisions for a situation where widespread destruction could cause construction prices to become inflated. (Or you may be surprised to find yourself underinsured.) Consider the fact you may need a lawyer to fight for what you're due, but that may cost you from 25%-40% of whatever is recovered and that's money you'll need to rebuild. (All of this may be next to impossible for the middle-class citizen of New Orleans, where the cost of adequate homeowners and flood insurance plus the new property tax assessments may more than double your monthly mortgage payment.)
Please check out the other interview footage posted on Kevin Davis's YouTube page. There's some interesting stuff over there. (And thanks again, Kevin, for telling our stories.)
"'People are fighting over food and water, and the lack of electricity and running water are making life in the city impossible,' said Martha Lilia Lopez, who has been handing out food to victims on behalf of a nonprofit foundation she heads. Many in Tabasco remained camped out on the rooftops or upper floors of their flooded homes to guard their possessions from looters, but their resolve was running out — along with water, food and other supplies. 'We spent days without food. We thought we were going to die,' said Marta Vidal, 47, who was taken to safety by helicopter." From: The Associated Press: Food, Water Scarce in Mexico Floods
Do you know this pain? Or have you the fortune to have been spared of the experience of a natural disaster, its aftermath, and the struggle to save and rebuild the beloved place you call home. In either case, the reasons to reach out to your brothers and sisters in Tabasco should be crystal clear.
Whether it's out of empathy or from a sense of gratitude for what others did for you in your time of need, or out of gratitude for what you've been spared, please reach out now to the members of our human family in Tabasco. They need our help. So let's not turn our backs on each other in this time of need.
Please visit this link and check out the links to organizations providing aid to the region that are listed down the right side of the page, My friend Schroeder has seen firsthand the work of Save The Children in Central America and to them he gives his endorsement; that's good enough for me. Now, you choose one ... or more than one, and answer the call!