I get up early, early in the morning...

New Orleans canoe:
New Orleans French Quarter.jpg:
Metairie trees Katrina.jpg:
Here Lies Vera God Help Us All.jpg:
Superdome New Orleans after evacuation.jpg:
"I get up early, early in the morning 'cause I can't sleep at night/Keep on wondering, baby, why you won't act right."

-- Professor Longhair, "Misery" 1957

"The federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today."

-- FEMA Director Michael Brown in an interview on Thursday (video here)

"They don't have a clue what's going on down here... Excuse my French, everybody in America, but I am pissed... ."

-- Mayor Ray Nagin in radio interview on Friday

"The guy who runs this building I'm in... His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night...
"Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody."

-- Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, on Meet the Press Sunday (video here)

"George Bush doesn't care about black people."

-- Kanye West during NBC's Concert for Hurricane Relief Friday (video here); the remark was edited out of the West Coast broadcast; comments at Hiphopmusic.com

"I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had a water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid... Offers of medicine, communications equipment, and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency."

-- statement on Saturday from U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

"When the president and the governor got here, I said, 'Mr. President, Madame Governor, you two have to get in synch. If you don't, more people are going to die.'"
-- Mayor Ray Nagin in the Times-Picayune on Sunday

"I'm not surprised at what the feds say... They're keeping the body counts down because they don't want to horrify the nation... They just don't want to know how many were murdered by bureaucracy."

-- Broussard on Monday

"We're angry, Mr. President."

-- Monday editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune calling for every FEMA official to be fired 

"They knew about the levees years ago. This shit wasn't a coincidence. The main areas that got flooded was the hoods, the black communities, all the people making minimum wage... They�re trying to move us out and recreate that whole city for the white people.

-- New Orleans rapper 5th Ward Weebie in forthcoming issue of Ozone (from my email)

"Hundreds of firefighters have been sitting in Atlanta, playing cards and taking FEMA history classes, instead of doing what they came to do: help hurricane victims."

--AP report at 7:02 p.m. on Tuesday

"We can�t leave now. This is when they need our help the most."

-- my friend Machelle on Monday, among thousands of New Orleans residents staying to help cleanup efforts (via VatulBlog)

"Effective immediately, any public safety officer... is hereby instructed and authorized to compel the evacuation of all persons from the City of New Orleans."

-- order issued on Tuesday evening night by Mayor Ray Nagin

"We've already been through the worst of it, so to be forced out now is kind of frustrating."

-- my friend Machelle speaking on the phone Tuesday at 10:13 p.m.

The best New Orleans news links continue to be: UPDATED THURSDAY: the WWL-TV blog (click near top of page), the Times-Picayune blog (see the archive), WDSU, WDSU video, the Interdictor group blog (and message board), this Livejournal of a New Orleans nurseFox, CNN's Katrina blogNPR radio, Josh Britton's blog, Home of the Groove AudioblogWWOZ (back up and running!), VatulBlog, Democracy Now radio, City Pages BlotterTalking Points Memo, Crooks and Liars (video), and Times-Picayune photos.

I also recommend New York Newday's blog on New Orleans, KLRZ-FM radio in Louisiana (more here), this list of Katrina-concerned blogs, Yahoo's most viewed photos, this helpful Katrina thread at ILE, and this ILE thread on the political fallout. More links and background can be found posted on Complicated Fun last week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

I've posted a page of cool charity events in Minneapolis/St. Paul in September, but don't miss New Orleans' own ReBirth Brass Band this Saturday at the Cabooze. To many, they embody the spirit that won't be drowned, burned, starved, or dispersed.

Please donate to the Red Cross, or consider helping Acorn's Katrina relocation effort, the Minneapolis Relief Effort, or Hurricanehousing.org. (Here's a complete list of charities from Instapundit.) Village Voice Media will match employee contributions up to $15,000 to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' (AAN) fund for Gambit Weekly employees, whose newspaper was flooded. As posted here last Wednesday, former City Pages staff writer Katy Reckdahl and her family are safe. Here's the story of how her baby became one of the last born in New Orleans, and here's a forum for sharing more information to help displaced Gambit staff.

Now when you buy the 4-CD Big Ol' Box of New Orleans, record label Shout! Factory will donate all profits to New Orleans disaster relief efforts (order here). Despite my minor quibbles, it's a pretty wonderful introduction to the music of the city (the music Katy and her family love). The Strummernews message board also reminds fans of the late Joe Strummer of his love of New Orleans, and urges them to donate to various charities. See also the Aid for New Orleans Musicians fund. Lets replace more lost trombones.

UPDATE THURSDAY: I've just learned that Madison's Mama Digdown's Brass Band and Minnesota's Jack Brass Band have organized a fund to help New Orleans brass band musicians. Write checks payable to Mike Olander (reliable and honest drummer in the Jack Brass Band) with the subject line "Brass Band Relief" and send them to Mike Olander, 13712 Susan Lane, Burnsville, MN 55337. You can also send checks payable to Tipitina's Foundation with the subject line "Brass Band Relief" to the same address. They're doing basically the same thing, but for all New Orleans musicians. The money will go to relief, instruments, and setting up gigs for destitute musicians. If you want to donate an instrument, contact Mike at 612.207.2727. For inspiration, he's Keith Spera in the Times-Picayune: "Hurricane disbands N.O. Musical Community"

Below are links to a few key stories of the past few days. I really don't know what to add, except that this disaster will turn out to be some kind of a turning point, for the better, I hope.

Photo credits: Freddie Hicks, front, and Michael Knight paddle through New Orleans on Sunday, photographed by the AP; Sgt. Robert Stanley of the 82nd Airborne Division patrols the French Quarter on Sunday, photographed by David Smith/AP; oak trees on Northline Drive in Old Metairie today, photographed by Rusty Costanza/Times-Picayune; a makeshift tomb in the Garden District on Sunday, concealing a body left by a hit-and-run, photographed by Dave Martin/AP; Louisiana Superdome after evacuation on Sunday, photographed by Greg Pearson/AP/The Times.

Days 4 through 9 of an American disaster

Man in flood water undernearth Interstate-10 on Monday, photographed by Eric Gay/AP

UPDATE FRIDAY MORNING: Before/during/after photo site.

New Orleans musicians taking to Houston stages, starting with ReBirth's friends (and relatives) the New Birth Brass Band tonight at the Rhythm Room. Apparently they played a jazz funeral for Katrina last night at a place that's being called "Treme, Texas," Sammy's at 2016 Main.

Well of course: Business elite hope for future without the poor, reports the Times of London.

Classic: "George Bush Doesn't Like Black People" (MP3) remixed by the Legendary K.O., words by Big Mon and Damien, a.k.a. Dem Knock-Out Boyz.

"Part of the effect of Katrina is making the usually invisible visible" Nicholas LeMann in the New Yorker (thanks to Emdashes)

From today's New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Even on Tuesday, as still-rising waters covered most of New Orleans, FEMA official Bill Lokey sounded a reassuring note in a Baton Rouge briefing.

"I don't want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl," Lokey said. "That's just not happening."

A Katrina timeline from Talking Points Memo

Gun dealers doing brisk business in Baton Rouge.

Mike Davis is a prophet and I think you ought to listen to him.

It's possible to agree with the fact cited in Jack Shafer's Slate article "Don't Rebuild New Orleans" and still see that he's dead wrong. Jesus, of course it's a poor, corrupt city. But this is a chance to keep it beautiful (and black) while improving and reforming the place. Meanwhile, Hitchens loses me when he calls Nagin "flaky."

Times-Picayune on July 24: "City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans' poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."

Cynthia Tucker: "At least Nagin and his fellow city officials were trying to figure out how to get the poor out of town if disaster struck."

The Minneapolis Public Library has put together a list of government documents relating to the dangers of a high magnitude hurricane�specifically affecting the U.S. Gulf states. Log on to Mplib.org and click on "hot topics," then find the topic "Hurricane Katrina."

Valid questions from the right about the state and city emergency plans

Wesley Pruden attacks the attackers and repeats lie about the state of emergency declaration

Cheney told to go f*$# himself while explaining, essentially, that the feds won't pay for the cleanup.

Pew research center: Huge Racial Divide Over Katrina and Its Consequences

Please reach out to your Republican friends and argue with them. According to the NYT: "More than two-thirds of Republicans said Bush is doing a great or good job."

F*$#ing amazing: According to polls, 62 percent of Americans believe the "response progress" has been satisfactory.

Mississippi and Alabama had no plan for those without transportation.

Jesus, who needs the Onion? NYT: Barbara Bush calls evacuees better off

Prince has recorded a song for Katrina (thanks MNSpeak)

Eric Foner on "the Power of Outrage"

Steve Perry: An account from within the convention center

This Fox video clip reported that people were being locked in the convention center on Sunday and not being allowed to leave New Orleans.

Public Enemy's Chuck D recorded a new song over Labor Day weekend for New Orleans: "Hell No We Ain�t Alright." Lyrics here.

Charmaine Neville's harrowing story on video (thanks to Hiphopmusic.com)

Why was the Red Cross banned from bringing food and supplies into New Orleans as late as Saturday?

Anne Rice in the New York Times on Sunday: "To my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us."

Bless the Onion: Area Man Drives Food There His Goddamned Self.

Let's get it over with and laugh at Sean Penn (thanks American Idle)

Same for Geraldo, busted in Salon

Efforts to save historical documents stymied, according to Times-Picayune on Monday.

Corey Anderson's page o' pundit quote rundown

Steve Perry in today's City Pages: "The failure to spend money toward the protection of a major American city... is not really different in kind from countless less dramatic measures undertaken in the name of getting government off people's backs."

Bob Shieffer blasts response to Katrina (video)

"Officials say red tape hindered relief efforts" reports New York Times (yeah, no shit)

Tim Russert lays into Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff (video), and  discusses the events with Don Imus (audio): "You can't spin on this. People see it. They feel it. They smell it. And you can't say something that conflicts with the harsh reality on this."

The Washington Post and Newsweek passed along the White House lie that Louisiana's governor neglected to declare a state of emergency (only the Post issued a correction)

"What It Means to Miss New Orleans"

This New Orleans brass musician head count at the ReBirth Brass Band's message board, and an evacuation route for my friends still there.

Camp Ripley in Minnesota prepairs for thousands of New Orleans refugees, as well as Hmong refugees?

Let us not forget Bush's classic comments from Friday: "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house--he's lost his entire house--there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
Ben Stein's defense of Bush that day.
Op-ed piece in New York Times: "Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency."

White House trying to regain footing (New York Newsday)

Jordan Flaherty's Notes From Inside New Orleans: "This disaster is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence." (Read his New Orleans diary of the past week.)

"Charges of Racism" outlined in New York Times.

Cockburn: "Katrina the aftermath is payback time for decades of stupidity, greed, pillage, racism."

Times on police suicides

Katrina Could Prompt New Black "Great Migration"

New Orleans fouled water going into river, and the flood water will harm the lake

On "awakening from the dream that was New Orleans," a remarkable admission of racism's banality there, and in every city.
Garden District fire.jpg:

National Guardsman fighting fire in the Lower Garden District on Tuesday, photographed by Rick Bowmer/AP

Friday email about my friend Machelle (see more recent quotes above):

I just received some good news from Machelle. Troops are arriving. She saw a TX Nat'l Guard military truck a couple blocks away from the house.

Later Friday email on Machelle:

Ok, this is the lowdown from Machelle, whom I talked to about an hour ago: The troops are in New Orleans. Helicopters all over the sky and there is a marked troop presence. Apparently, the president just landed in New Orleans. (A part of me wonders if all of the helicopter coverage is solely to cover the C-in-C.) Military trucks have been sighted a couple of blocks from Mac's residence in the Lower Garden Dist. and "normal people" are wandering the streets after days of them being empty.

St. Charles Ave. has been a bit scary, but they are hoping that these people will be incarcerated, allowing people to leave their homes to start the cleanup and rebuilding effort. Machelle and company have food and water for a few weeks. They are hoping rations enter the city soon for troops, relief workers and residents. As long as the troops don't kick them out, MACHELLE AND HER FRIENDS ARE STAYING IN THE CITY to help the troops and kickstart New Orleans' recuperation.

I will remain updated (as will her sister, Amy) as long as she remains in New Orleans. After ample warnings not to let herself turn into the Florence Nightingale of this mission, I let Machelle go. Please hope that she stays safe. Frankly, I hope the troops kick her bodacious butt out of the city, but in a small, teensy-weensy way I find her resolve admirable.

Sorry, Kevin, I tried the best I could to convince Mac to leave when the troops showed. But, she stood her ground and said, "If it makes you feel any better, I can pretend I'm leaving, but I'm not." We all know how much we can convince Machelle to change her mind even in times of jeopardy. What we can do now is hope that harm stays out of her way. Something tells me she will be fine: she's going to be of use to New Orleans or a soldier will pick her up by her waist and carry her kicking and screaming out of the city limits. I can't do anything but try and be positive about it now and support her in her decision.


Machelle is safely out fo New Orleans. She left with her friend Rob and headed to Florida. I received a call from her late last night, and they were in Florida. She said she wasn't sure what she would do, but she wanted to get some sleep before she tried to make any decisions.

Personal note: I haven't yet tracked down David Jeffries (a.k.a. DJ) or Nona Honere and her family. If anyone hears anything, please let me know.

From the department of unrelated good news:

CBGB: "open until the cops come"

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