Katrina links: the big picture

Here’s a brief selection of links to some blog posts that have helped me grapple with the aftermath of Katrina in the last few days.

Two Cabbies in New Orleans, from the marvelous garden, is my favorite appreciation of the city so far. Never mind all the rampant corruption, endemic poverty, police brutality – it’s through stories like this that you learn the true flavor of a place. And in an update yesterday, Patry reported that she and her husband have made contact with one of the cabbies they befriended.

“The state of the city, and the number of the dead is far worse than anything you see on TV,” he said, his voice briefly cracking. “But I feel grateful to be alive, grateful that my children are safe. People have shown us so much love.”

“What do you need?” my husband asked.

Briefly, Chris faltered, his needs so clearly overwhelming. “I try not to think about that,” he said, attempting a laugh. “Because we need just about everything.”

Then he told us how his son had broken down in a particularly vulnerable moment.

“Where will we go? What will we do now?” the son asked.

And Chris responded, “We’ll be like Job. We’ll praise God more than ever and he’ll triple our bounty.”

Artist and former New Orleanian James W. Bailey wonders, Is America Really Prepared to Allow the Hoodoo Culture of New Orleans to be Destroyed by Hurricane Katrina? (thanks to Marja-Leena for the link). Black Cat Bone is an enjoyable new blog whose mission is

to burn the flesh off modern art to get down to the raw bone of what’s really happening with art in American society. Black Cat Bone is a free road trip through the wild, chaotic and blissful world of the contemporary visual arts and originates with a down-home Blues-based root philosophy born in the Delta of Mississippi. Broadcast live on the Internets on a daily basis from just outside our nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., Black Cat Bone utilizes advanced digital technology designed, engineered and manufactured by the Devil to tap into the cosmic positive powers of Hoodoo to better serve its world-wide audience…

The most linked-to essay in the blogosphere right now is all about Being Poor. I hope that its popularity, and the passion evinced in its lengthy message string, are signs of the start of a national conversation on poverty and class, and are not just a flash in the pan.

Maria of alembic has written a great screed on Blinders.

For the social narcissist there can be no such thing as the working poor. It is inconceivable that people should be working and not have anything to show for it. For the social narcissist, it is better to think of the poor as dependent on the government or charity rather than not having a living wage. This way, the social narcissist doesn’t have to be accountable for his or her part in this distribution of the garden’s yield … or, to bring it home to the backyard, the possibility that our little paradise in Marin is not exactly a realization of our pure will in shaping the landscape. Better to feel sorry for the poor than to see how we are implicated in their plight…

Should we succumb to anger, though? Does anger ever really solve anything? After a couple briefer attempts to explain himself, Dale of mole lets loose with what he calls My official Buddhist sermon on the subject. I found little to disagree with, surprisingly enough.

Finally, Pica at Feathers of Hope asks, What Can I Do? I like her answers.

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