Katrina was when I stopped listening to NPR. During the weeks following the storm, the station seemed to feature readings by every well-educated, reflective person who could sort of turn a phrase and was not a New Orleanian. They wrote about how they felt about the images they saw on television.
I could not write at all for a week, or about Katrina until months later.
Today, I want to say something, yell something, weep something. If I reconstructed that time, I would say far too much, to no good end but turning the trauma back on. If I wrote about my current thoughts on the matter — how Katrina has moved from diagnostic to prophecy, and keeps moving — I couldn’t be heard above the din of today’s NPR-oids.
So I will limit myself.
One photo, taken in late October 2005: my grandmother’s china cabinet.
(Nothing of my other grandmother’s house survived the tidal wave in Waveland to be photographed. Multiply by a million or so. Special love to the Lower Ninth.)
One poem, published in The Lyric, Vol. 88 no. 3 (Summer 2008).
And one song, Fats Domino’s “Valley of Tears.” It wasn’t the only song I listened to obsessively in those months, but last night I noticed that it’s at the top of my iTunes Most Played List. And I didn’t start using iTunes until ’08.
Finally a non-titular piece of advice: stop reading the Nproids. Read the natives, or at least outsiders who are raising native voices.
P.S. I bought Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke as soon as it became available on DVD. I still can’t watch it. One day.