Okay everybody, our progressively more and more surreal stay in West Memphis is coming to a close. We have managed to find quite a few people (the post below has a list) who made their way out in various directions, we are also still looking for many (another post right below this one).
Alexis and I have experienced an amazing array of good fortune all of a sudden. I have made contact with my Mother, Father, Sister, and Grandmother and they are all okay. We have also made a very bizarre discovery about the state of the city.
On a lark I tried my landlord’s landline and it worked! He had stayed to ride it out and had no idea that he was in the middle of one of the most massive disaters in American History ™. It seems that the area around St Charles and Napoleon are almost unscathed. He said that the power was out and he was just waiting for the people to return and the powert to come back on. He had no idea of the violent chaos a mere 20 minute walk away at Canal St. He is currently there with about 4 other people. I told him where the food stores, water supplies, booze, and parlor games in my apartment were and told I would get him updates. I then proceeded to explain what the newcasts were saying and caution him about the verious hazards. I’m contacting FEMA and letting them know here he is to try to get him out.
From what can gather it is going to be months before we can return and even then it will be a harsh envirnoment. Current projections say 4 months till people are allowed back in and 6 mos. til the water is pumped out, that is assuming we don’t get another storm our way before the end of Hurricane Season. That would make us dry at just about Carnival time. If the city is open I WILL be there to march with my Krewe Mardi Gras morning and there will be a Rumpus Toast even if I have to make it myself!
As far as returning I do not know how viable that may be. Even with the majority of the physical work done the economic factors as well as the truly assinine level of violence may preclude it. Our current plan is headed for Bloomington, IN to see my fiancee’s family and then off to NYC where some dear friends have set us up with digs and work. If we have to permanently relocate Bloomington is probably going to be it. Time and recon will tell.
This evening was an odd one, we went to a local Baptist Church that was putting on a dinner for the refugees. The Doodler, Lex, Esther, Gina Forsyth and I joined the large and varied crowd of New Orleanians for some really good fried chicken and some classic southern style proselytizing. Fortunately the later was in sparing amounts, and it did me good to see church folk actually living up to the values they espouse. Being from N.O. most of my interactions with the extremely religious have involved microcephalic fire and brimstone at Mardi Gras and Baptist ministers with huge diamonds, huge waistlines, and really expensive cars. This was a very nice change of pace.
Gina Forsyth brought her guitar and fiddle and did a few cajun tunes for those gathered to eat. We had rescued her cats, car and guitar from the city on our way out (incidentally allowing us to get more people out), and she joined us here yesterday direct from touring Denmark. We then made our getaway right before the Bible Study. Many thanks to those good people, but I prefer to skip the God Talk(tm). Debating beliefs is something I will have time for later. Fantastic chicken though!
Now for that request: please survey the lists below and pass the info on. We should let as many people as possible know who we have found and have as many ears to the ground about the missing as possible.
Be safe and take care of each other.