|Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 07:25 am: |
We just regained power after two days; now the same storm, much more powerful, is headed your way. Be careful!
|Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 08:16 am: |
Just now saw your message on my board. So I thought I'd come over here and check in. At this late moment, you're probably on your way out of town hopefully. Traci and I are definitely thinking about you. Every time I see the radar on TV, I keep thinking about you and Dara. Hope you guys are safe and that the damage is minimal. It doesn't look good right now. We're thinking about you.
Check in and let us know how you are when you can.
Very best wishes,
|Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 02:45 pm: |
What John said...take care, we're thinking about you here. Let me know if you need anything, and good luck.
|Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 09:55 pm: |
I hope you and Dara are safely out of the city, Andy. Let me know if I can help you in any way.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 09:36 am: |
Thank you all so much for your expressions of support and hope. My family and I are actually stranded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we had gone this past weekend for Bubonicon and to visit with my parents. We won't be able to head home, I believe, until this Monday at the earliest. From what I've read on the Times-Picayune's website, our neighborhood of New Algiers was spared the worst effects of the storm. We left a car at the airport, so it's probably lost to flooding out there, and my car on the street in front of the house may have also been destroyed. We left seven housecats at home, and their caretaker had to evacuate. I don't know whether we'll find any of them still alive when we finally get home again. From what I can find online, my Commodity Supplemental Food Program has probably lost 90% of its warehouses and food, or about $5 million worth of food alone, with several million dollars more in property damage. I have no idea how long it will take us to recover and to begin serving our 85,000 clients again. Please pray for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 09:58 am: |
Andy, at least you were out of the area. Thank god for that. I hope your cats are okay, Given that they survived Hurricane Lucius, I bet they did all right. The Commodity Services thing is horrendous. Is there some place we can make contributions directly to Commodity Services? Let us know when you can. Best to Dara and the kids.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 10:10 am: |
Glad to hear the update--the vsa list has been keeping me informed as to your Bubonicon sojourn. In fact, they want to contact you to entertain you while you're still in Albuquerque.
Email me if you're online again and you haven't contacted or been in contact with anyone(they don't know your local #).
|Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 05:20 pm: |
It's looking worse in New Orleans--I hope your area is still relatively unscathed, Andrew.
(I remembered you were going to be in NM, though, so that's at least a small comfort...)
|Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 05:39 pm: |
Andrew, all your friends in Austin are relieved to know that you and your family are safe.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 07:36 am: |
Hi Andrew, it's good to hear that you and your family were far away. Hope things aren't too messy when you get back.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 08:24 am: |
Here's the latest. Family politics have reared their ugly head at about the worst time imaginable. My folks here in Albuquerque have made it very clear to us that we are not welcome to stay here with them during this crisis, so we are seeking another safe harbor. Next, we're heading to my mother-in-law's condo
in Hallandale, FL, where she'll be joining us soon (she lives around the corner from us, so she is in the same boat as we are). Have no idea when we can return home or what shape home
will be in. We've lost at least one car, likely both, and I expect all of our 7 cats to die of dehydration long before we can reach them. The agency my wife works for has been destroyed by floods, as have all of the warehouses and food
distribution sites for the seniors nutrition program I manage. I don't know whether any of my computers and backups, either in my home or my office, have survived. Down in Hallandale, I plan to buy an old DOS laptop so I can get
some work done while waiting out events. I'll try to pick up the threads of a book I returned to recently, even though I've got about 90,000 words of it trapped on various laptops in New Orleans. Life is very uncertain right now. I
don't know where my family and I will ultimately end up and whether we'll have a city of New Orleans to return to. Say some prayers for the people of the Gulf Coast, who will be wandering like nomads for months to come. Thank you all
very much for your concern. It means more to me than I can say. The SF/fantasy community, both fans and pros, are the best people in the world and have been utterly wonderful to me and my family.
At least I attended two great cons these last two weekends. It was wonderful seeing so many of you. I think some of the New Mexican writers will be meeting us for lunch either today or tomorrow, something to look forward to. I also
also have some cousins and old high school friends down in South Florida, so I can commiserate with them while in exile.
Dara, the boys and I send our love and thanks to all of you.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 08:26 am: |
Oh, I forgot to mention, Adam-Troy, I'll post the address of where I'll be staying in Hallandale once everything is finalized and we're down there. I hope we'll be able to see you and Judi at least a few times.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 08:42 am: |
You have our prayers.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 09:06 am: |
As Josh said, and don't forget that you have friends in Austin if you need anything.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 10:21 am: |
Hi, Andy --
Please definitely post that address in Hallandale as soon as you're down there. I definitely will be contacting you as soon as you have that info posted here.
Hang in there, man. Very sorry to hear how this has turned since I saw you in Austin. We're definitely thinking of you over here -- and how to help you.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 11:14 am: |
Andy, so sorry you're going through all this. Thinking of you and your family.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 11:25 am: |
Let us know, Andrew. We will be here for you.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 12:05 pm: |
Christ, Andy, that's a whole pile of horrible. Our thoughts are with you.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 12:20 pm: |
Andy, Email me at email@example.com if you need ANYTHING.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 01:52 pm: |
Finally a little bit of good news:
According to WQXR (radio station of NY TIMES), the water has stopped rising in New Orleans. Let's hope the tide has turned.
Take care of yourself, Andy, and keep the updates coming when you have a chance.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 01:57 pm: |
Andy, we're all just heartbroken about your situation. PLease let us know if there is anything we can do to help. Our thoughts are with you.
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 04:31 am: |
Wow. . . it's so great to see messages from all of you. . . John, Chris, Lucius, Adam-Troy, Mikal, Caroline, Deborah, Eric, Josh, Jim, Ellen. . . I can't tell you how much it means to me right now to have you all as friends and to know that you're thinking about me and my family. Wednesday was actually a much better day, emotionally, than Tuesday was. Tuesday was awful. Some of my Albuquerque SF friends met me here at the hotel for lunch yesterday and really cheered me up; Jane Lindskold and Pati Nagle and her husband Chris treated me to lunch and also made a donation to my "refugee fund" (as did a couple of book sellers from Denver who visited with me at Bubonicon and saw that we were stranded at the hotel). As I said in an earlier post, SF people are the best people in the world, in my humble opinion. I've also been talking a lot on the phone to Steve Stirling's wonderful wife, Jan, and Walter Jon Williams surprised me with an extremely kind phone call. 505-843-7000 is the number here at the hotel if anybody would like to call to say hi; we're in room 203, and we'll be here until early Saturday morning, when we fly down to Fort Lauderdale Airport and head over to the condo in Hallandale. The local writers are looking through their closets and asking computer geek friends to look through their closets for any old MS-DOS laptop that's been sitting around for years gathering dust but still works; I'm hoping to take an old laptop down to Hallandale with me and get some work done while I'm on enforced "vacation." If anyone has a copy on floppy of an old DOS version of WordPerfect, either 4.2 or 5.0 or 5.1, that would be a godsend, since that's my favorite word processing program; although in this situation, I'll work with whatever ancient DOS program that's available (Xywrite, Wordstar, Word, EasyWriter, etc. etc. etc. . . . the graveyard of ancient computer programs is replete with extinct word processors). If anyone would care to mail me a copy of an old WordPerfect on floppy, as I said, I'll post my Hallandale address soon, along with the phone number.
Right now, our biggest fear concerning our home is the looters. I suspect our house came through with fairly minimal structural damage, since everything I've read online about the Algiers area says that both my New Aurora neighborhood and other areas such as Algiers Point are among the few "lucky" neighborhoods regarding flooding, since we were on the opposite side of the Mississippi River barriers from Lake Pontchartrain. However, as one of the few remaining "pristine" areas, my neighborhood may become a prime target for looters seeking stash that hasn't been inundated. They've already made fast work of the Super Wal-Mart about two miles from my house, stripping it of guns and consumer electronics. Actually, I wouldn't really care if they looted my house and stole our stuff if they'd just take a minute to fill the bathtubs with water for the cats. . . maybe leave me one old laptop with my files on it, that's all I'd really want; everything else can be replaced. We could live without a whole bunch of our accumulated junk, anyway.
Regarding my birth family, things have kind of taken on that weird Mellin family equilibrium. My stepdad came by to take me out yesterday to go to KMart to pick up some clothes for the boys and some other supplies, and he acted as though Tuesday simply had never happened, even though we'd been screaming at each other and I'd said my mother could go to hell. He was unable to talk about any difficult emotional issues at all (apart from the screaming), but he bought us hundreds of dollars worth of stuff and paid my hotel bill in an effort to say he's sorry without saying he's sorry. He didn't mention our confrontation at all to my mom, so we're still invited over for lunch today. I love my stepdad to death -- he's one of my best friends, and I'm enormously grateful to him for always treating me like one of his own blood kin -- and I've decided that putting up with my mom, despite my feelings, is the price I have to pay in order to continue having a relationship with him. Unfortunately, I have to ask Dara to also put on a false happy face for the remainder of our stay here, but she is a real trooper and is willing to make the effort in order to help me.
Typing is a little easier now that Asher has fallen asleep on my lap. For a while yesterday, I was typing with one finger while trying to keep him from fussing in this little computer alcove in the hotel lobby. I'm really only supposed to use this free computer for five minutes at a time, but the hotel staff know my situation, so they've let me stay in here as long as I want, until another guest needs to use the machine. Asher woke up at about 4:45 this morning, so Dara asked if I'd take him downstairs so she could catch up on her sleep some. I really don't mind having him with me down here in the lobby this early, since it's fun to show him off to all the airline personnel who stay here and who leave for their flights early in the morning. Lots of them have kids about Asher's age, so they're always delighted to see him, and he's very friendly with them.
Well, I'm being kicked off the computer temporarily, so I'll sign off for now. Love to you all!
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 06:11 am: |
Andrew: I think I'll be able to hook you up, software-wise, when you show here. (Indeed, we have been talking about getting another laptop, and may be able to lend you a functional desktop.)
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 07:24 am: |
Andy and Adam-Troy: I have a Compaq Armada 1125 laptop that runs on Windows 95 . . . but it already has WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS on the hard drive, because I'm a WordPerfect junkie myself. The only problem with the machine that I know of is that the battery dies fast (always did), so I'd work with it plugged in.
I have another laptop that I use now -- so if you'd like to have the Compaq, let me know and I'll clear my old stuff off the hard drive and send it to Florida.
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 07:30 am: |
If Andrew is amenable, you can ship that laptop to me, and I will see to it that it is personally delivered to him once he arrives in Florida.
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 07:46 am: |
Another possibility: I am about forty minutes from Hallandale; I work on two separate computers (one for internet submissions, one I keep strictly off the internet to avoid viruses), and you are welcome in my home, as much as you want, to use one or the other, even daily (as long as it takes), saving your work to disk. Think of it as commuting to work. Can't do much about gas prices, alas. But, hey.
We have a TV and VCR you can have -- i do mean have -- if you need 'em for the kids, and my sister-in-law may be able to provide some extra kid clothes.
We have three cats, so maybe the cat fix can help.
Kevin N. Haw
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 11:09 am: |
Just a fan in LA...
Andrew, I've never posted here before, but I wanted you to know that I read both 'Vampire and 'Bride with great enthusiasm and am glad you and your family are safe. I was about to try to dig out my old Wordperfect floppies, but from the other posts it looks like you're doing fine on your own. I'm a "computer geek" myself and but I probably can't do much tech support via long distance - the "DOS section" of my brain is so dusty that I doubt I can remember anything unless I'm actually sitting in front of the machine. Nevertheless, feel free to contact me (either for what tech support I can give or the floppies) on my website http://www.theHaws.org or directly at kevin.haw<insertatsignhere> sbcglobal.net.
As to you comments about your "family politics," I know it might not be my place, but I can only wish you patience on that front. Hearing your comments struck a cord. Today would have been my mother's 76 birthday. Regretfully, she drank herself to death back in 1999. It was a very sad end that left a lot of open issues for myself and my sister (another fan of yours, BTW).
Accept this simply as the rambling of some guy on the Internet if you will, but I suggest that you think hard about making peace with your mother. Not just the family friendly "I love you" peace, but also (perhaps more importantly) the "these are the things about you that drive me nuts and have given me baggage for the rest of my life" peace. Only with both sides out in the open (without anger) can you really accept someone for their flaws.
Again, my apologies if I've stepped out of bounds on this. Most likely, though, you will be horribly busy rebuilding your life and raising your family over the next few years (and that's without any issues about being a career novelist). It is likely that you won't get around to settling accounts with your parents for a long, long time. Even without the things you're facing, most of us never do. Nevertheless, you don't have these opportunities after someone's gone.
Apologies for being melancholy. I'm just kind of stuck in that mode today, I'm afraid.
Best wishes and stay safe.
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 11:37 am: |
It is your old pal Jeff Jackson. I tracked you down to here and am glad to hear you are safe. You can call me at 954-593-3028 here in Ft Lauderdale.
I cant believe that you had a 2nd child & didnt bother to tell me! I'll yell at you about that later. In the meantime, I may be able to set you up with some baby clothes & other supplies when you get here.
Love to all
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 12:49 pm: |
Hey Andy --
Marian here. Hope that the family isssues are clearing up. I am lucky in that area I guess. The people that I came with are mainly teachers and they are already investigating whether they can get jobs here. New orleans culture is spreading itself out again; just like after the oil bust. It will be interesting to see how the next few months go.
Meanwhile I bought a cheapo dress and will see how many Temple Sinai people ended up in Shreveport. There's only one reform temple here, so I am sure that I will see some.
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 06:04 pm: |
I know North Carolina is a bit out of the way for you, but my home is open to you and your family at a moment's notice. If there's anything else I can do, please email me.
|Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 10:55 pm: |
Here's the latest from our end. The situation continues to change at a dizzying pace, and between being on the phone for much of the day, watching CNN and listening to the assinine comments from the head of FEMA regarding the horrible situation at the New Orleans Convention Center, and having lunch at my parents' house (a deeply weird experience, given all that has transpired), our heads are spinning. But some very good things have happened. Steve and Jan Stirling drove all the way down from Santa Fe tonight to visit us and to deliver an older laptop that Steve is no longer using; this is incredibly kind of them, especially given that Steve is racing a deadline to finish up his latest novel. So I'm set up with a PC, but if either Adam-Troy or Brad have a copy on floppy of an old DOS version of WordPerfect that they could mail me or drop off to me, I'd enormously appreciate it, as that is my all-time favorite word processor, and right now I need a security blanket. Here is our new temporary address, as of this Saturday:
Andrew and Dara Fox
c/o Phyllis Levinson
2030 South Ocean Drive, apartment 1414
Hallandale, FL 33009
I'm not sure of the phone number down there yet, but I'll post it once I can confirm it.
Dara and I had the surreal experience of seeing two of our friends on CNN this afternoon. A whole segment got devoted to a high school friend of Dara's who we also know from our synagogue, who got separated from her newborn baby in multiple hospital evacuations but who was able to later reunite with the child, now eight days old. A few minutes later we watched a segment concerning swift boat rescues throughout the city (before they were interrupted by the inhuman predators roaming the city who are firing at random at storm victims and rescuers), and I recognized an elderly lady who was being helped into a boat. I'm almost positive it was Tillie Jones, a homebound senior citizen to whom I've been delivering monthly food boxes for years. I was worrying about her -- she lives by herself in a tiny, ramshackle house near the Mississippi in Uptown New Orleans, in my old neighborhood -- so I hope it actually was her being rescued.
I finally got a hold of my boss with the Office of Public Health this morning, and I hooked up with my partner Tim Robertson of Catholic Charities who runs Food For Families. They're both refugees along with their families in Baton Rouge. Tim and I will likely try to rebuild Food For Families at a rental warehouse in North Louisiana, east of Monroe. I'll probably be recalled to Louisiana, either to Food for Families' new location or to whatever new headquarters the Office of Public Health sets up. Right now, my boss doesn't know what the agency's plans will be; employees of my bureau are scattered like ants. She'll know something more by the middle of next week. So in the meantime, I'll relocate my family to Florida and wait to hear where in Louisiana I'll be temporarily assigned. I'll have to leave Dara and the boys behind in Florida with Phyllis, but Dara has told me that, as much as she'll miss me, if there is any chance that I can be of some small help in rebuilding the state, I need to go. I certainly agree. It'll be a rough few months, at minimum, but we'll have one hell of a set of stories to share with our boys when they're old enough to understand.
Cat update: I briefly had high hopes that my writing group friend Lena's father was still in Algiers, as he had reported to her on the conditions in my general neighborhood. I begged her to ask him to go over to the house, break a window to get inside, and fill the bathtubs and put out food for the cats. Alas (but happily for Lena, I imagine), her father has joined Lena in Houston. However, Lena may have some contacts with animal rescue people in the region, so she may be able to provide us with some help. Jefferson Parish is supposed to open back up to returning residents as of Monday, and Algiers is right adjacent to Jefferson, so possibly our family friend and handyman Mr. Martin might be able to sneak back into the neighborhood, check the status of his own home about a mile from us, and rescue the cats. If someone can get them food and water, I could pick them up upon my return to Louisiana and get them boarded at a vet until we're able to put the house back together.
About those wild beasts who are shooting up rescue helicopters and killing and raping fellow hurricane survivors, I think they need to be exterminated like the vermin they are. I don't understand why FEMA officials were scared off by a single sniper who shot at a helicopter trying to evacuate severely ill patients from Charity Hospital, canceling the rescue efforts until order could be assured. This is NOT a "normal" disaster. This is a war zone. They should've called in an Army helicopter and had the rooftop where the sniper was hiding obliterated by machine gun fire. Christ, we do it every day in Iraq, when needed -- why not here? Meanwhile, the patients at Charity die by the dozens, and mass death by dehydration is a real possibility at the Ernest Morial Convention Center. Why all the fucking pussyfooting around??? The most encouraging thing I heard all day was Governor Blanco saying that units of the Kentucky National Guard had arrived in New Orleans, and she had given them orders regarding these monsters who prey on their fellow New Orleanians and who force the abandonment of rescue operations -- shoot to kill. Thank you, Kathleen B.
Kevin, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, your good wishes, and your suggestions regarding my family. I have tried many times over the years to settle issues and make peace with my mom. It hasn't worked yet. This particular incident will require a lot of healing time on my part before I make any peace overtures again (this whole trip out to Albuquerque was the most recent peace overture, in fact). My stepdad today insisted that I owe HIM an apology, which I of course do not agree with. I tried explaining to him in less passionate language exactly why I'm upset with him and my mom, but he refused to understand. He also tried taking all of the responsibility for refusing to open their home to us, in a possible attempt to deflect my anger from my mother. If that's what he was trying to do, I think it was noble of him. Honestly, I don't believe that any major decisions in his household are made without my mother's approval. As I said above, lunch (which occurred after he renewed our arguement in the car in front of my two boys) was deeply, deeply weird. Still, I appreciate your sentiments, and maybe when I'm a little more distant from this disaster and these emotions, I'll be willing to make another effort.
Jeff Jackson, you old rascal, great to hear from you!!! I apologize a thousand times for not informing you of Asher's arrival. I'll make it up to you by buying you lunch at the venue of your choice. I'm really looking forward to seeing you and your family down in South Florida.
Marian, you hang in there up in Shreveport. We'll get our writing group back together again in a rebuilt New Orleans in the not-so-distant future. As for Speaker of the House Hassert, who suggested to CNN that the Federal government would do best not to waste its money on rebuilding New Orleans, he can go fuck himself with a nice rusty pair of gardening shears. It's really a fine bill of goods when Hugo Chavez of Venezuala expresses more concern for us New Orleanians (whatever his motives may be) than one of the highest ranking elective officials of our own damned government.
Nathan, it's always wonderful to hear from you. Your offer is incredibly kind and generous, especially given what you and your family have been through recently. I no longer have your email address handy, though, as it is stored on my computer at work, which I may never put hands upon again. Email me, please. I hope you and your little girl are doing really well and adjusting to your new home. God bless you both.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 05:49 am: |
I am at a loss for words. I just can't imagine how I'd deal with what you are going through. Hope seems such a weak thing right now, but I do hope that things work out for you, your family, your friends in NoLa.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 07:04 am: |
AMEN, Andy. Not only do i look forward to seeing you and your fellow Louisianians pulling it all back together, no matter how long, no matter the cost (and you _will_ be able to count on a lot of financial, technical and logistical support from your fellow Americans), but I can't wait for the mid-term campaign ads to come out villifying that S.O.B. Hastert. Maybe we'll finally be able to root out some of the hypocrits in DC.
Good luck, and godspeed, Andy
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 07:50 am: |
Andrew, I just want you to know I'm here lurking and reading and pushing for you, your family, and everyone from the affected areas to survive and rebuild.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 09:21 am: |
Yeah, Andy. Hang in there. Be an example. Don't get swept up in this junior high mentality, which seems to be the backbone of America.
One thing to note about this tragedy, is how Americans are getting so angry about it. In the rest of the world, when these things happen, they don't react with such anger. I think it's partly because Americans expect everything to go right for them because they're Americans and that's what they're used to. They expect to be rescued right away. I think Canadians are similar that way, not being used to things going so wrong. It's North Americans in general.
It's very telling though, when you have people killing each other, raping each other, stealing from those in need, and firing at the very people trying to help them. You wouldn't see the same kind of behaviour in other parts of the world.
Hopefully more people will see this and not like what they see...
I doubt I'm the only one who's noticed this.
Kevin N. Haw
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 09:42 am: |
I'm just glad you and yours are safe. Again, aplogies if I overstepped my place. Best of luck with your good work rebuilding your city.
Once the rebuilding is over, though, you will have to tell us (if not with an essay or article then via Jules, perhaps?) how the "New" New Orleans stacks up against the "Old" New Orleans. Yesterday, I caught myself wondering what happened in the cavern beneath the Casino when the levies broke and how X's old crew handled the flooding. I'm sure the High Krewe had a disaster contingency plan in place, complete with off site data backup for their computers.
Not to trivialize the horror of what has really happened. It's just a random thought that came to me because I've only visited New Orleans compliments of your books.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 10:14 am: |
Re the comments of Hassert, re not re-building New Orleans: I've written passionately, in my newsgroup on sff.net about how that's fine thinking and how we should also evacuate Los Angeles and San Francisco because of earthquake risk, Washington State because of volcano risk, wooded areas because of the risk of forest fires, Chicago because it burned down once, the midwest because of the frequent tornadoes, Florida because it's just as vulnerable to hurricanes as New Orleans, and New York City because it's a terrorist magnet. The rest of us will be perfectly safe. We'll just need water wings to keep us afloat as we tread water around the North Atlantic.
Re Wordperfect: I dunno if I have a disk, but I think it can be arranged, with somebody local.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 10:20 am: |
I apologize in advance for venting like this.
>>It's very telling though, when you have people killing each other, raping each other, stealing from those in need, and firing at the very people trying to help them. You wouldn't see the same kind of behaviour in other parts of the world.
It's also very telling, if you look at most of the pictures of the people still trapped in NOLA, that's it's the poor and disenfranchised who are suffering the most--and that they're mostly black. People who have no place in George Bush's America. They see way too few buses for way too many people. They don't see a strong coordinated effort by a govt that's shat on them for years. Not enough food. No water. They are dying, and it looks like the govt not making a real effort to save them. And you're surprised they're angry?
I'm not excusing them at all. I'm with Andy. The response must be strong. The lawlessness must be crushed, so that order can be restored. But I'm not surprised. We are supposedly the greatest nation on Earth, but we can't even help our own.
I just heard on the radio that we now have an amphibious vehicle caravan with supplies in downtown NOLA. Where the hell was this THREE DAYS AGO.
The report went on to say that thousands of National Guard were being airlifted into the area. WHY WASN'T THIS BEING COORDINATED AND PLANNED EVEN BEFORE THE STORM HIT. It was a pretty well-known fact (at least to those who know anything about New Orleans) that there was no way the levees would hold. And yet our government has been extremely sluggish to respond. We knew this was a very real possibility by Saturday at the latest. Where was the mobilization _then_. Where was the preparation?
National Guard should have been ready to move for relief efforts as soon as the storm cleared NOLA. Massive airlift of supplies going in and people going out should have been under way within hours of the storm passing. Granted, there hasn't been that much time that has passed, but contingency plans should've been in place and ready to roll. Everybody familiar with the situation knew the system wasn't going to hold up. (See the articles on Ellen's thread)
And let's re-emphasize that part of the problem is that so much of our resources are overseas, dying for oil profits, rather than being able to respond to needs here at home.
And you're surprised people are pissed off? WE ALL SHOULD BE PISSED OFF!!! Even more people are dying, and at this point, there's no reason that should be the case. Every death from here on out should be laid right on the feet of this government. Oh, and let's just wait until we get to see the profits that oil companies are going to manage to earn this quarter...
I'm not excusing the rapists and the people shooting their guns. I am definitely with Andy on this. But certainly the situation wouldn't have been as dire if people would've seen the govt actually moving to do something to help them. Seen them in control. Where was the leadership? Bush held a press conference with FEMA today. WHY WASN"T THIS THREE DAYS AGO?
We wouldn't see this reaction in the rest of the world? Well, the rest of the world doesn't claim to be the One Great Nation. Supposedly we're this great nation, but we're so busy bullying the rest of the world that we're in no position to help our own people in a time of crisis.
I hope you'll forgive my venting my spleen. I've wavered on whether I should post this or not. But don't condemn the disenfranchised and desperate--unlike the rest of the world, they live amid the streets of gold, and have tasted none of it, have been rejected by it, and are being left to die. Don't tolerate their lawlessness. Don't ignore their actions. But place the lion's share of the blame where it belongs.
Again, I'm sorry for venting; obviously this immense tragedy pushes emotions to the surface.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 10:59 am: |
I don't have much time to post, as I have to get upstairs to help Dara with the two boys, but I felt like I had to write something in response to your post. The overwhelming majority of New Orleanians, rich, middle class, and poor, black, white, and Vietnamese, are good, kind-hearted, decent people. Their friendliness and sociability and openness was the main reason I moved back to New Orleans from Long Island in 1990, after having been away for four years. But there has always been an element of cold-blooded predators here (I know not just here, but New Orleans is the place I'm most familiar with). In the mid-1990s, it seemed like they were about to take over the city. During the second half of 1994, every month the deaths got closer and closer to me and my wife, until finally, on New Year's Eve of 1994, my cousin Amy Silberman, visiting from Boston, was killed on the Riverwalk at 11:30 P.M., in the middle of a vast crowd waiting for the fireworks, by a falling bullet that pierced her skull down to her neck. This shot could've been fired from anywhere within a seven-mile radius; three other people in that same crowd were grazed by falling bullets, and at least fifteen others around the city were hit. Police estimated that 150,000 shots were fired into the air that night, either by ignorant but otherwise unmalicious people who were observing an old, decadent celebratory tradition, or by criminals and gangbangers who took advantage of the momentary lawlessness to intimidate their neighborhoods with random gunfire. The situation was completely out of control; even the police took shelter in their cruisers under highway overpasses for the hour surrounding midnight.
After losing my cousin, I partnered with falling bullet survivor Gil Helmick and community activists Steve Picou and Roland Bob Harris to form the New Year Coaltion, a public anti-violence advocacy organization that focused on the dangers of celebratory gunfire. Over a six year period, working with the NOPD, city government, and dozens of community groups, we managed to see injuries on New Year's Eve decline from an average of 15 to 0. We then saw three years in a row with no injuries, followed, this past New Year's Eve, by a single injury. What happened was that the ignorant but otherwise unmalicious people in the city got the message and responded with alacrity, telling their neighbors that it was no longer "cool" to fire off their guns at midnight. The volume of gunfire was reduced to such a point where the police were able to operate effectively in neighborhoods where criminal gunfire remained rampant, and the numbers of arrests and gun confiscations increased considerably as the number of injuries declined.
I will remain eternally grateful to those folks in New Orleans who were willing to learn a lesson and to abandon what had seemed like cherished and harmless fun. I actually witnessed a culture change, and I had been extremely pessimistic that first year of the campaign that it would work at all. But people really surprised me, and in an extremely good way.
However, the "people" who are out there in those flooded streets right now shooting at helicopters and attacking stranded survivors and raping women are the same scumbags who for years have been intimidating their neighborhoods with random gunfire. It's always been there, but in the absence of this overwhelming physical disaster, the police were able to mostly keep the lid on, except for some neighborhoods where even the police were fearful to tread (and in the late 1990s, community policing funds from the Federal government allowed the NOPD to set up very effective substations inside the public housing projects which reduced murder rates there tremendously, until funds were no longer renewed).
THESE are the scumbags who I want shot like rabid animals. They've been waiting for an event like this almost their entire depraved lives, and now that it's come, they are venting every venal, petty, and destructive impulse that arises in their stunted minds. They DO NOT represent the people or community of New Orleans. They are a CANCER in New Orleans, and they are showing that as clearly as they can by making the helpless and the wounded suffer much more than they otherwise would. These "people" have severed themselves from both the community of New Orleans and from humanity. By acting as they have in this situation, they have surrendered whatever rights they might otherwise have enjoyed to due process, etc. I pray the National Guard cleans out the lot of them. Unfortunately, I know most killed predators will ultimately be replaced by others. . . unless the rebuilding of our city somehow miraculously sparks the burgeoning of human fellow-feeling (so strong in the majority of New Orleanians) in the hearts of men and boys who otherwise would lack this quality.
I have no beef whatsoever with trapped people who are looting for food, water, or personal hygiene products. In their shoes, I'm sure I'd do the same, especially if my family were trapped with me. Honestly, I wouldn't begrudge any looters who took whatever food, water, or clothing that remains within my home. They are welcome to it, as they desperately need it right now, and I don't. It is towards those who have removed themselves from the human family through their actions that I feel only hatred and contempt for. StephenB, I don't believe that feeling this way is a "junior high mentality." It is confronting reality, which is sometimes horribly ugly. But I am equally certain that as time goes on, hundreds of stories of amazing courage, grace, and generousity will become common knowledge, and the true qualities of the people of New Orleans and the Gulf South will shine through. I chose to come back here. It was the people here who brought me back, and I will stand by them.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 11:48 am: |
No worries man. It's good to get shit out.
Okay, first of all, I haven't condemned anyone. And I'm not just referring to the people stuck in NO. I'm talking about Americans in general. Not just the people in deep shit.
I'm really making an observation here. How America reacts to a crisis, compared to how other parts of the world, where they're already a lot worse off, do.
It's also very telling, if you look at most of the pictures of the people still trapped in NOLA, that's it's the poor and disenfranchised who are suffering the most--and that they're mostly black. People who have no place in George Bush's America. They see way too few buses for way too many people. They don't see a strong coordinated effort by a govt that's shat on them for years. Not enough food. No water. They are dying, and it looks like the govt not making a real effort to save them. And you're surprised they're angry?
Minz, there's many black people in Africa who have hardly any food and water, every fucking day. Who are starving. Who are dying. But these people generally have a much stronger spirit and sense of community. Many of them go through these kinds of crisis' daily, but you don't see the same anger, the same sense of entitlement that you do with Americans, in crisis.
What I'm pointing out, is the reaction you see with Americans, which is different than the rest of the world during natural disasters, largely has to do with the culture -- racism and the huge gaps in the class system are a part of that.
We are supposedly the greatest nation on Earth, but we can't even help our own.
I just heard on the radio that we now have an amphibious vehicle caravan with supplies in downtown NOLA. Where the hell was this THREE DAYS AGO.
And that attitude is part of my point. Americans think they're the best and they expect things to go right. The rest of the world wouldn't be getting so angry, waiting for aid to arrive. They wouldn't expect things to happen so quickly. North Americans are so used to things going right, that when they don't, they get angry.
And you're surprised people are pissed off?
I never said I was surprised. I'm not. Just that I notice a difference between how Americans react to these tragedies compared to the rest of the world.
WE ALL SHOULD BE PISSED OFF!!!
Yes, that seems to be the American sentiment. Just like 911, which lead to the war you oppose. People were outraged. How dare this happen in America!! This is the same war which diverted funds, which would go to disaster relief.
You just don't see the same outrage when these things happen in other countries. Why aren't Americans getting all mad about the rampant poverty in Africa, Asia and South America? Oh, well, those places aren't the "greatest nation on Earth", so they can't expect things to go well.
It's funny though, that in times of crisis, those countries react differently. You'd think they'd be angrier..
We wouldn't see this reaction in the rest of the world? Well, the rest of the world doesn't claim to be the One Great Nation. Supposedly we're this great nation, but we're so busy bullying the rest of the world that we're in no position to help our own people in a time of crisis.
Of course America's in a position to help its own people. You're in the best position. You have the biggest military and the most money. Maybe Bush and his cronies should suck it up and throw down some of that blood money they've been pocketing? Probably won't happen. But Minz, because it's in America do you expect things to happen instantaneously? The military operates in a certain way, regardless. I don't know much about the military and I can't say I;m a fan, but I'd imagine it would take some time to mobilize.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 12:08 pm: |
Andrew: Don't get me wrong. I wasn't saying you have a junior high mentality. That wasn't directed at anyone here. It's just seems to be the prevalent mentality in America. Just turn on the T.V.
Keep doing what you're doing, man. They'll need people like you.
As for my picture of New Orleans, I'll admit it wasn't pretty to begin with in terms of how it operates. One thing I know, is that the NO police department, was at least at one point, one of the most horribly corrupt on the Earth. It's hard to think much of a brutally run police state, who employs thugs and the scumbags you speak of, to enforce their corrupt rule. Now, you know the place well. I've never been there and I imagine things have been cleaned up a lot since the hight of corruption.
Culturally, it's a fascinating place. The jazz scene. Bourbon Street. Marti Gras. The French Quarter. etc.
Did you find it hard to trust cops there?
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 12:27 pm: |
Talk about turning my own words against me. Hello, my name is Minz, and I'm an ugly American.
Even if it does take time to get things in motion, it certainly looks like the federal gov't sat on their hands for at least two or three days, waiting until the situation deteriorated into pure chaos before they bothered getting in motion.
And if you really look at the situation, the Army Corp of Engineers knew the levees would never be able to cope with a hurricane this intense. So why weren't they moving even as the storm hit. Plans should've been laid out and ready to roll. I refuse to just shrug and say "such is life."
Certainly, nothing could've stopped Katrina, and as frustrating as it is that the levee system wasn't upgraded in order to control the level of devastation, more than anything, from where I'm sitting, what bothers me is that it looks like the feds are responding much too slowly. I hope I'm wrong about this. Maybe the National Guard were already on alert when Katrina came ashore. Maybe we really couldn't have gotten a military caravan of amphibious vehicles into NOLA before today. But I don't believe that. If we had the equipment, it should've been rolling onto C130s even as Katrina was passing through NOLA. I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation. It's not like this is an expedition overseas. It's not like the govt didn't know that this kind of storm would cause this kind of damage to NOLA. It's called emergency contingency planning. We have the resources, why not try and use them effectively.
With each passing hour, the toll in human lives is climbing, from dehydration as well as human depravity. Each hour counts, and I think it's reasonable to expect the feds to have responded a helluva lot quicker.
But obviously, that's just one frustrated American's opinion. (And of course, I'm not so naive that I fail to realize that much of this frustration is that I want to be actively doing something to help. At least my office is setting up a matching funds donation plan...)
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 12:40 pm: |
Hey, Minz, you probably have a point about how they should have been ready from the get go. I don't really know how they operate well enough. But NO still probably got more immediate relief and had more warning and time to get out of there than some other places would have. But, that's beside the point.
Trust me, well, you know what I think of the American government...
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 03:44 pm: |
Good luck with everything, Andrew, family-wise and work-wise. You've held up really well under tremendous pressure.
And my offer to help stands. Just shoot me an e-mail.
|Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 06:28 pm: |
Judi has spoken to her sister and has been able to obtain the following items:
A crib mattress, linens and blankets for said mattress, a diaper genie, a hamper, a child's lamp, some videotapes, and some toys to be named later. More is being scavenged. We have cast the net wider for more baby furniture. Details to follow.
Talk to you soon.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 07:14 am: |
Andy! Important you read this!
SPCA help for animals
Friday, 9:50 p.m.
There's hope for stranded pets in the New Orleans area. The Louisiana SPCA,
New Orleans' animal control agency, has begun rescuing pets from owners houses.
Louisiana SPCA director Laura Maloney said shelter workers follow other agencies
and crews through neighborhoods and rescue pets, some that are locked in houses.
At the owners' request, "we break in," she said.
Owners have to call or email the operation and give their name and address and
information about where the pet is confined.
The hotline number is: 1-225-578-6111. E-mail should be sent to Katrinaanimalrescue@yahoo.com.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 08:31 am: |
This will probably be the last posting I can make for a few days, as my only Internet access down in Florida will be from local libraries (and maybe Adam-Troy's house) until we can get Internet access established at the condo. I can only be down here a few minutes before going back upstairs to get ready for our flight.
One ray of light -- I did send an email to the SPCA rescue operation this morning, giving them permission to break into our home and rescue any of the seven cats which may still remain alive. If they can do anything at all, it would be an enomormous God-send. Lucius has visited our home, stayed with us for a few days, so he knows first hand how much Dara loves those cats. I'm pretty fond of them myself, and they are very gentle with the two boys, so they are valued members of our family. I've said I'd trade my entire book collection and all my 230 vintage laptops (well, with the exception of just one that has my files on it) for any of Dara's cats. Can't make that kind of trade, of course, except in fantasy stories. Adam-Troy, thanks so much for the early telephone call this morning to get me moving on this.
We had an absolutely wonderful dinner last night over at local writer Yvonne Coates's house last night. Pati Nagle and her husband Chris came, as did Craig and his wife, the organizers of Bubonicon. The atmosphere at their house was what I'd prayed the atmosphere at my parents' house would be like -- laid back, nuturing and supportive, with everybody taking turns holding Asher and playing with Levi. I haven't seen Levi so happy in a week; he simply loved playing with everyone and the big exercise ball and the toy car Craig brought over. Craig and his wife are mailing us down some clothes for Dara and me (including some Bubonicon teeshirts, which I'll wear proudly) and some videos for the boys and books for me. If anyone has any of Lucius's books (even you, Lucius), I'd love to be able to read some of them down in Florida. I've already asked Brad Denton if he can send some of his, and I'm sure Adam-Troy will provide some of his collections and Spider-Man novels, too.
StephenB, I know your heart is in the right place, but I'd like to ask you to please avoid the caustic political commentary on America while we're down. I noticed an awful lot of this right after the New York terrorist attack, and it leaves an extremely bitter taste in the mouth, as an American. There is a time and a place for such commentary, and now isn't the time. Regarding the NOPD, I'm aware, of course, that there were some very bad apples in that bunch as of the early and mid-1990s, but Police Chief Pennington (whom I knew personally) did an enormous amount to clean the department up. Pennington is now the chief in Atlanta, after he lost the most recent mayoral election to Ray Nagin. All of the NOPD officers whom I've had the opportunity to meet, and I've met many of them through my efforts with the New Year Coalition, have been decent, kind, caring people who I've trusted and liked. I understand that somewhere between 40-50% of the NOPD officers have turned in their badges this week. That sounds awful, but these are all men and women who have lost their homes and everything they own and are going out of their minds worrying about their families, who had to evacuate without their police fathers or mothers. I can't heap too much approprium on them. The ones who stuck it out, with no resupply, running out of food, water, and bullets, are courageous and breattakingly loyal to their city. I am grateful to them.
Well, God bless you all for all your support. It means more to me than I can say. I've got to go take a shower now before my dad picks us up to go to the airport. I've been kind of evil, leaving Dara alone to fend with the kids. I'll post again ASAP.
Gordon Van Gelder
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 10:34 am: |
Where should we send you reading material while you're in Florida? Care of Adam-Troy Castro?
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 11:43 am: |
Andrew and Dara Fox
c/o Phyllis Levinson
2030 South Ocean Drive, apartment 1414
Hallandale, FL 33009
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 12:30 pm: |
Stephen,. what the fuck are you talking about? You're holding up Africa as a model for disaster behavior? Continent of genocide? Apartheid? Spirit of community?Haven't seen images of anarchy from every quarter of Africa? Give me a fucking break. We're pissed because two days after the tsunami we were airlifting food in. We're angry because for three days buses intended to evacuate people were parked outside the city. We're angry because the richest country in the world, though lack of foresight and a sense of urgency, did not take care of business. Jesus.
Sense of entitlement, my ass. We expect reasonable services for our taxes. That's not a sense of entitlement. It's fair value. What happened on the ground in NO is human fucking nature in all it forms. What happened in Washington DC, in Baton Rouge, et al, is politics.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 12:31 pm: |
Andy, I'll send some books. Take care.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 05:42 pm: |
Well, yeah, you could pick out all the bad examples in Africa. Fair enough, Lucius, some of the anger is justified. But my observation still stands. I may be wrong, but that's what I've noticed. Not just in Africa.
You think NO is an example of human nature in all its forms? I'm not so sure. I think a lot of that comes from human conditioning, not just human nature. I don't think you'd see the same kind of behaviour in some othet parts of the world. Maybe much of Africa's a bad example?
Andy, I'm not trying to be caustic here. But it's exactly that mix of patriotism, anger, followed by fear (lots of terrorism talk), that Americans have, that I'm commenting on. That seems to be the socially acceptable reaction reinforced by the media.
But whatever, I'm done.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 06:18 pm: |
Andy, we're so glad to be updated by Craig (Bubonicon chair) as to your status. We've been very worried about your family and about the cats (we have 5 ourselves) since we last saw you Tuesday morning in the Albuquerque hotel computer "closet." Please know that our thoughts are with you, and we're glad so many other friends are helping out. We'll be in touch.
Nina and Ron Else, Denver
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 07:04 pm: |
Stephen, well, let's see...How about eastern Europe? No, that doesn't work. Britain? IRA, Coal miners....etc. Germany? Oh, right. Let;s move on from Europe. The Middle East? Oops, no. Asia....India, China, like that? Nah, your theory is simply not working out.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 07:20 pm: |
What's your point, Lucius? That bad things have happened in those places? Bad people are all over the place? Shit's gone wrong. Yes, and many of those places are way more used to shit going wrong than North Americans are. Look at the recent Tsunami. Did they react the same way, as Americans are reacting now?
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 08:25 pm: |
Hey guys, come on. Andy asked for this to stop, and I think he's owed that much respect. General Topics would be a good place for this, not Andy's boards.
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 09:46 pm: |
I started a topic up the stream under the general area for venting or anything else you all want to talk about with re: to Katrina, the Gulf Coast, et al.
|Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 10:15 am: |
Our car is now so packed with stuff for your family that we cannot see out the rear window.
We need a phone call from you to bring it up.
If you're checking this board at all today, please call.
|Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 10:24 am: |
Adam, if you hear from him please get me his phone #, ok? I've some good news for him.
|Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 11:59 am: |
Ellen, my SFWA director is still under piles of boxes, and I don't know whether it's best to provide his phone number in this public forum. Please e-mail me and I'll send a response.
|Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 01:15 pm: |
Don't worry about it. I'm sure he'll get the message. I emailed him. Wouldn't the phone # in the directory not be usable? (Even his cel phone from NO might be out)
|Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 - 03:04 pm: |
My SFWA ***directory*** is under piles of boxes.
Saying "My SFWA director is under piles of boxes" sounds sinister.
|Posted on Monday, September 05, 2005 - 10:08 am: |
Andrew--I apologize for being such a space queen that I didn't remember you at first at ArmadilloCon--finally the file reached the top of my head and I went "Andrew! Of course!" But I couldn't find you again, in the short time I was at the con. Someone told me you left early Sunday. I plead way too many new drugs in my system, and as part of my apology I'll dig out copies of my books, to add to your and Dara's escapist reading. Let me know if there's anything the Austin crew can do to help.
RE: people suggesting that folks "shouldn't live where hurricanes hit"...this link will take you to Debra Doyle's response to such statements. It's in her Live Journal. Thought you could use a smile.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 08:26 pm: |
Well, we're here in South Florida, but unfortunately we didn't have the soft landing we were all hoping for. Much, much insufferable aggravation, as noted below, but at least we are assured of a roof over our heads, which is more than many of our poor fellow New Orleanians can attest to. Here are all the gory and occassionally wonderful details regarding the continuing saga of the traveling Fox Family:
I haven't been able to get online since Saturday morning, as things have been almost insufferably hectic. It's been a pummeling, punishing last four days. Our safe haven in Hallandale, Florida turned out to be neither a haven, nor safe. Even in the best of times, air travel with two little ones is brutal. We got to Fort Lauderdale, and the car rental people were very kind, upgrading us at no cost to a minivan and throwing in the two car seats we need at no charge. However, Florida insurance laws prohibit them from INSTALLING the car seats. So we had to struggle for about forty minutes in a hot, humid garage with unfamiliar car seats (one of which had the wrong manual attached) in an unfamiliar van, while trying to corral two screaming babies. After this sweat-drenched ordeal, we arrived at my mother-in-law's condo in Hallandale to discover the place is a wreck. It hadn't been occupied in six years, and Phyllis hadn't seen the place in three years. In the meantime, either a broken central air unit or storm activity caused major water damage on two interior walls, whose baseboards were covered with mold. I don't want to think what kinds of organisms inhabit the carpets touching those walls. The plumbing is in generally poor shape, too, and when we got there, only the front room had any a/c at all. By the time we got there, it was too late, and we were too exhausted, to move to a hotel. We decided to camp out on the floor in the front room. However, with no crib or play pen for Levi, it was impossible to get him to settle down. After a few hours of playing with him and trying to exhaust him to the point of sleep (we only succeeded in exhausting ourselves), Dara put him in the stroller and walked him around downstairs. He fell asleep in the stroller, but an hour later, he woke up screaming. I picked him up immediately, but he refused to be comforted. In order to not wake up Dara, I took him into one of the hot, stinking bedrooms. He wouldn't let himself be held and was screaming and throwing himself at the furniture. Trying to restrain him while breathing in the mold and staring at the water-damaged walls, I got a tiny, middle-class taste of what parents at the Superdome and the Convention Center had been going through. Finally, I left him screaming in the room so I could throw on some clothes, and I carried him downstairs. I walked him up and down the A1A highway for a half an hour, until he finally calmed down. Then I carried him back into the lobby and laid him down on a sofa, where he finally fell asleep. I was afraid to move him at that point, so I laid down below him after putting some pillows on the floor to cushion him should he roll off the sofa, and we slept down there for a couple of hours, until 6 A.M.
That was our Saturday. On Sunday, my brother-in-law Gary in San Diego made arrangements for us to move temporarily to a Marriott Residence Inn in the nearby community of Aventura. It was a tremendous relief to get out of that awful-smelling condo, but we heard that my mother-in-law Phyllis was flying in that night, so we knew we'd have to figure out some way to house her; I certainly didn't want her camping out in her condo, and she is stubborn enough to do so. Worse, in the move, I seemingly lost Levi's precious security pillow, a doll pillow that he snuggles to calm himself down and go to sleep with. I went back to the condo to search for it and looked under all the furniture in the rooms Levi had run through and shook out all the blankets and pillows we had slept with, but couldn't find it. One more thing to add to the list, one more lost possession to try to replace. The bright spot of the day was seeing my cousins May and Joe, who will be celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary next year. I hadn't seen them in a very long time, but we were extremely close while I was growing up in North Miami Beach. May is still in good health, but Joe suffers from Alzheimer's. Even so, he is still the same old Joe, just a Joe who repeats the same questions every ten minutes or so. Both of them were thrilled to see the babies. They came over to the condo while we were trying to get packed up and contact people so they could get the kids out of our hair for a few minutes. Later, they took us out to dinner at a terrific deli called Mo's, where Dara, who loves chopped liver but never eats it anymore because she is vegetarian, feasted on an amazing concoction -- vegetarian chopped liver!
Monday we ate breakfast downstairs at the hotel and had a long talk with a fellow refugee named Elvis, a carpenter originally from Honduras who has lived in the Ninth Ward off Poland Avenue since 1983. He first evacuated to a hotel in the New Orleans Central Business District, where he witnessed a portable air conditioning unit the size of a bus blown about like paper mache; when he checked out the area in the morning, he saw that this huge piece of equipment had acted like a bulldozer, knocking in the walls in surrounding buildings. He and his family got out of the city as soon as they saw with their own eyes that water was rising rapidly in downtown. He loves New Orleans and wants to go back. After we settled the boys down, I drove over to the Hallandale condo to get Phyllis some lunch and just see how she was doing. She responds to stress by throwing herself into activity, any activity, so when I arrived, she was peeling off ancient contact paper from kitchen cabinets with her fingernails. I almost had to physically drag her out of that apartment to get her to go to lunch and relax for an hour or so. We finally hit a bit of luck at lunch. We went to a Jewish deli and sat at a booth, and while we were swapping stories and catching up, a single Jewish lady about Phyllis's age in the booth next to us overheard our conversation and introduced herself. It turned out that Maxine and Phyllis have lots and lots in common, and they immediately hit it off. Maxine said she felt terrible for what had happened on the Gulf Coast and wanted to help in some way. She told us she lives in a two-bedroom condo nearby Phyllis's place and offered to put Phyllis up for as long as it takes to repair Phyllis's condo. We drove over to Maxine's place and found that she has a delightful dog (a shitsu) and very similar taste in decorating to Phyllis. She also invited Phyllis to come to a picnic in the building that night, and Phyllis accepted her offer of a refuge. Terrific!!! Almost as wonderful, when we returned to Phyllis's condo, we discovered that the maintenance man who came to service the a/c units had found Levi's pillow and placed it atop a pile of linens. I was almost as happy to see that pillow as I would be to find one of my backup laptops with my files had survived, or that Dara's cats had made it through their ordeal. Another ray of light came with a very welcome visit from Adam and Judi Castro, SF writer friends of ours from the Kendall area of South Miami. They drove up that evening with a carload of toys, children's clothes, some kid's equipment, clothes for me, and books. We spent a very welcome hour in their company, just enjoying them, hearing their news, and watching them chase Levi through the hotel lobby and restaurant. Levi adored all his new trucks and toys and couldn't wait for us to spread them out over our floor so he could play with them all. After we gave the boys baths and settled them down, I did two grocery shopping trips, one for us and one for Phyllis. Phyllis mainly wanted cleaning supplies for the condo. I had begged her to just hire people to clean that place out (and to hire a professional mold evaluation and elimination service, before I'd agree to bring my boys back in there), but she insisted on doing much of the cleaning up herself. As I said, that's her way of dealing with stress (Dara is a little similar that way), and I have no way of dissuading her. So, using money she provided, I bought her $150 worth of cleaning supplies and delivered them with some food and drinks to the condo at 12:30 A.M., hoping she wouldn't still be there. She wasn't, thank God.
Today I heard from my old high school friend Larry that his father owns an unoccupied condo in the village of Surfside, about fifteen minutes south of Aventura. Larry's aunt goes down to this condo every winter, but she won't be there until the early part of October, so we can use it for a month. It is in much better shape than Phyllis's place. We certainly can't afford to continue staying in Aventura, so we'll be in Larry's father's place while Phyllis's place is being fixed up. I can continue to receive mail at Phyllis's address, in the meantime. Our temporary temporary address will be 9511 Collins Avenue, #404, Surfside, FL 33154, and Larry believes the phone number there is 305-866-1216. We'll be moving over there on Thursday, after I can collect a Pack 'n' Play crib, a high chair, and a child's play yard from my old buddy Robert Haydu in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday night, all necessary items to keep Levi from demolishing Larry's father's place. I spoke with Irene, the manager of the Food for Families warehouse in Baton Rouge, and she told me that America's Second Harvest had commandeered all of their food for disaster victims, leaving her with an empty warehouse, so she said she needed me to place some emergency food orders with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She also said that Tim Robertson, executive director of FFF, will be leasing a large warehouse in northeast Louisiana, east of Monroe on the I-20 corridor. He has decided not to return his family to New Orleans ever, and he refuses to ever have major warehousing facilities in the city again. I reached my contacts in USDA and arranged to email them food orders for September and October for the Baton Rouge warehouse; it will be a tight fit, but we should be able to bring in enough food to feed two-thirds of our 85,000 clients while we are establishing our main operations in northeast Louisiana. Later in the day, I spoke with my boss at the Office of Public Health, who said I am still being paid and that OPH will be renting an office building in Baton Rouge to serve as a temporary headquarters for the next year. She said I will be invited to come back. I told her what I'd learned about northeast Louisiana and said that it will be probably impossible for me to find housing for my family in Baton Rouge, which has seen its population double since the storm. She told me that the Federal government will be establishing a trailer city for refugees in Baton Rouge (NOT an appetizing option for my family), and I suggested that it would make much more sense for me to be temporarily domiciled in the Monroe area, at the OPH Northeast Regional Office, where I'll be close to the new Food For Families warehouse. She agreed that this made sense and said she would speak to the higher-ups about it. I have a much better chance of finding decent housing for my family in the Monroe area or east of there than I would in Baton Rouge. A bright spot in the day came when Ellen Datlow of SCIFI.com contacted me and told me she had decided to buy my story "The Man Who Would Be Kong," which I'd submitted about two months ago. That check will be a big help, and the sale is a definite morale booster. Dara and I took the boys to the nearby Aventura Public Library to try to get on the internet and do some chores. It was extremely difficult, however, to get anything accomplished while having Levi and Asher underfoot. Plus, we only had about fifty minutes at the library before we needed to go to a doctor's office so we could have replacement scripts written for our various prescriptions (we'd both only taken enough medication with us for four days and have been off our medicines since early last week). The doctor, who had gotten his med degree at Tulane University, was very kind. However, when he checked my blood pressure, I discovered that it was higher than it ever had been -- 150 over 100. So now I need to go back in a week and get it checked again. I'm not surprised, of course -- we've been running like lunatics for the past ten days, trying to deal with crisis after crisis, all the while keeping our two babies fed and washed and reasonably happy. I finally told Dara that I desperately needed a break from all the noise and stress and constant interruptions, so she let me come over to May's and Joe's apartment tonight to use their computer and go online to answer emails and search for information. I'm exhausted and punch-drunk and sick and tired of moving from place to place. But at least I'll get back on my medications tomorrow (an anti-depressant and a stomach acid blocker -- gee, I haven't needed THOSE two things these last ten days), and at least we found Levi's pillow, and at least my friends have been amazingly wonderful, and at least I'm getting to see May and Joe, and at least we're all still alive.
On another tack entirely, during the plane ride down here I came up with an idea for a nonfiction book called WALKING FROM NEW ORLEANS: MY TEMPESTUOUS TWENTY-FIVE YEAR LOVE AFFAIR WITH A DOOMED CITY. Subjects the book would cover include:
-- my experiences as one of the only Jewish undergraduates at Loyola University, a Jesuit institution that made a good Jew of me;
-- discovering jazz clubs all over town that I rode streetcars or my bicycle to get to, including Snug Harbor, Cafe Brasil, Preservation Hall, and Dos Jeffies Jazz Club and Cigar Bar; meeting Branford Marsalis at a jazz clinic, his father Ellis Marsalis at a K&B Drug Store, Harry Connick, Jr., as a teenaged wunderkind in the men's room at Snug Harbor, and Cyril Neville, who wanted to make a movie of my book;
-- almost not completing my honors thesis and thus not graduating, when I nearly pursued a flirtation with a voluptuous care aide at the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital, where I was interning as a social work student;
-- getting sucked back to New Orleans four years after leaving by dreams of writing plays and novels on a laptop at Borsodi's Coffeehouse, a bohemian hotspot on dangerous Frerret Street;
-- getting married at the Upperline Restaurant in Uptown New Orleans, then evacuating to Texas in the face of Hurricane Andrew just a few months later; returning to New Orleans to deliver baby formula with the Office of Public Health to devastated cities and towns in southeast Louisiana;
-- meeting George Alec Effinger and joining his monthly writing workshop after beginning work on my first dark fantasy novel;
-- coping with the mounting violence and murder rate in New Orleans in the mid-1990s, with the murders coming closer and closer to my family each passing month; then losing my cousin Amy Silberman to a falling bullet while she stood in a crowd at the Riverwalk in the French Quarter on New Year's Eve, a victim of a senseless tradition of "celebratory gunfire" which had caused ten to twenty serious injuries in the New Orleans area for as long as locals could recall;
-- getting involved in a maelstrom of media appearances and activism after Amy's death; founding the New Year Coalition with falling bullet victim Gil Helmick and community activists Steve Picou and Roland Bob Harris; meeting with Mayor Marc Morial, Police Chief Pennington (later a mayoral candidate who ran against current Mayor Ray Nagin), ex-Police Chief, ex-Councilman at Large, and current mayoral advisor Joe Giarrusso, and then-director of the New Orleans Police Foundation Terry Ebbert (currently New Orleans Director of Homeland Security, and a major critic of the Federal government's handling of Hurricane Katrina);
-- almost dispairing of the campaign's chances of raising enough money and having any appreciable success before the money started pouring in just a few months before the following New Year's Eve; distributing 100,000 posters and 250,000 leaflets throughout the metro area; running TV and radio commercials and placing billboards all over town; waiting for the results on New Year's Eve as Steve Picou tried to estimate the shot count in his MidCity neighborhood; revelling in a New Year's Eve that witnessed only three injuries and no deaths, a vindication of all our efforts;
-- realizing that my obsessive involvement in the New Year Coalition had severely damaged my marriage; trying to repair that damage through marriage counseling and personal counseling; trying to please my wife by going rollerblading with her for the first time, but only succeeding in breaking my ankle in two places; suffering one of the worst blows of my life when she announced she was leaving me the day before I went into the hospital to have my leg wired back together;
-- putting my life back together after my divorce; sticking it out in New Orleans for Hurricane Georges because my then-girlfriend refused to leave her apartment; the strange inspiration behind my return to writing and my next and so far most successful novel, FAT WHITE VAMPIRE BLUES; sharing the book with the inspiration behind Jules Duchon, my coworker Jules Theobold, then watching him die of spinal cancer; meeting Ashley and Carolyn Grayson at the New Orleans Popular Fiction Conference and soon thereafter acquiring Dan Hooker as my agent; finally selling a novel and breaking into print;
-- meeting my second wife, Dara, and her daughter, Natalie; drawing strength from Dara to make the changes necessary to FAT WHITE VAMPIRE BLUES for that book to be successful; sticking out a difficult situation with her family and mine to have a wonderful marriage and two sons;
-- the hell of evacuating for Hurricane Ivan with a baby and six cats;
-- the fun of becoming a published author, doing book tours, and getting involved in the New Orleans writing community;
-- our experiences following Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of our beloved New Orleans;
-- my relocation to New Louisiana to rebuild the devastated Food For Families / Food For Seniors nutrition program, which lost 90% of its food, warehouses, and vehicles, and which is having to start all over again in the northeast corner of the state; and
-- the fates of our friends and our community.
I'd appreciate any feedback you all could offer regarding this idea. I think it would certainly be timely, and it's the book I most want to write right now, even though I don't have any prior experience with long forms of nonfiction.
God bless all of you, and thank you all for your support. It was especially wonderful to see Adam and Judi Castro last night. Thanks, guys! Dara loves you both!
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 05:21 am: |
And 'tis reciprocated, Andrew. I'm a little exhausted just by that summary -- wow.
With the purchase of a Tivo for the AMAZING RACE book, we can unhook the VCR and get it to you as early as tomorrow. Tomorrow's a mad errand day, however, with stops all over Dade and Broward counties, so it will be a matter of arranging a very narrow delivery window. Worst case scenario, we;ll get it to you this weekend.
Re the cat situation: we have now arranged another foster home, if the need blessedly arises. So three have someplace to go.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 08:09 am: |
Hey, Andy --
If I'm about to send you something in the mail, do I send it to the old address (Phyllis) or to the new Collins Ave. address? Which is more reliable?
I'm leaving early in the morning for New York and I want to make sure this goes in the mail to you today.
Thinking about you, man!
What a harrowing account.
Glad to hear Adam-Troy was able to offer some in-person relief.
Talk to you very soon,
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 09:38 am: |
Adam, thanks so much again. Don't kill yourself over that VCR. Levi and Asher can watch PBS kids' shows until the weekend. Besides, if you drop it off to us this weekend in Surfside, that will be one less thing for us to move tomorrow.
John, we're receiving all of our mail at Phyllis's condo address in Hallandale. Since she actually owns that place, we feel it is the most secure location to have our mail sent, even if we may not physically be living in that building for a few weeks.
Dara and I were talking early this morning about me driving back to Algiers to pick up any surviving cats, a backup laptop (assuming I can find a working one), and some other valuables, as well as checking on Phyllis's house across the street. I saw on an Algiers-based blog that some people have been coming back into Algiers through Jefferson Parish, which was opened back up to temporary returnees on Monday so residents could check on their homes. Algiers has been exempted by Mayor Ray Nagin from the general evacuation order for Orleans Parish, so any residents who have remained there can continue to remain there, but there is no word regarding evacuees from Algiers being officially invited back in to check out their homes and rescue pets. However, this blog stated that National Guardsmen and police, who have mostly secured the area of Algiers and separated it into seven distinct command posts, haven't been hassling returnees so long as the returnees make it clear that they will leave before nightfall. Algiers may have power in spots as early as Thursday (tomorrow) night, and some major streets are being cleared of trees by bulldozers. However, here's the big, ugly fly in the ointment -- the only access into Algiers is through Jefferson Parish, and Parish President Aaron Brussard is closing the parish back up as of Thursday night. There is no way I can get to the area by tomorrow night; thus, I doubt I'd be able to get into my neighborhood. However, I found out a few minutes ago that a member of my writing group, Ivette, and her husband have returned to their miraculously mostly undamaged house in Slidell, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, about an hour away from my neighborhood. I have emailed them and asked if Ivette's husband would be willing to go through Jefferson Parish to Algiers to pick up any surviving cats and any of my backup laptops that look unbroken. If he could do me this ungodly huge favor, I would then drive immediately to Slidell to retrieve the cats and the laptop. I hope they can let us know later today whether he would be able to do this for us. I don't know whether he will be able or willing to deal with our cats, which will be exceptionally freaked out by their ordeal and scared of a stranger, besides. They don't have their front claws, but they do still have their back claws and their fangs. If I were Ivette's husband, I'm not sure what I'd do if asked what I'm asking him. We'll see, we'll see.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 09:50 am: |
I'm sure that if someone goes to rescue your cats, those cats will be so grateful that they won't be hostile.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 10:07 am: |
I'm not so sure. Cats who have survived a trauma and a period of perceived abandonment are likely to be cautious.
However, under the circumstances, a few cans of moist cat food can work wonders.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 10:26 am: |
I'm sorry to hear that the trip to Florida was difficult and that the housing situation there is so challenging. I hope you quickly find a place for you and your family to stay on a semi-permanent basis.
I think your nonfiction book idea is quite cool, and, if that's what you want to write, you should write it. Even if you decide not finish the book, the work you do on it could generate ideas for short stories and novels.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 10:28 am: |
And I hope your friend can rescue your cats and laptop!
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 12:58 pm: |
Andy, my cousin lives in Aventura. She will be returning there next Monday (she's here visiting her folks). Is there anything I can send back with her that you or Dara or the kids need?
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 02:28 pm: |
As a note, now that tempers have settled a bit: The FAA has absolutely no reports that ANY aircraft were fired upon in NOLA. Let me restate that: There is no confirmation that aircraft of any sort were fired upon in the NOLA area. And all the aircraft/rescue and otherwise, in the NOLA airspace are being monitored and directed by the FAA.
Perhaps it was a case of news media being over zealous, and running with rumors/second hand accounts... perhaps FEMA overreacted/reacted to faulty news reports.
Please note, I am NOT implying that there was no violence or gunfire. I think that type of thing has been pretty much confirmed, and is to be expected, given the heavily armed/desperate nature of the civilian population.
But "rescue helicopters getting shot at" is right up there with "Iraqi 9/11 hijackers" as far as urban legends go. Thank you again, mainstream media, for utterly failing us in our time of need.
If I were wearing a tin-foil hat, I'd suggest that psy-ops like this provided the perfect cover/misdirection for the federal governments poor performance. The news stories, and public policy statements were suddenly about "restoring order", and not about "rescuing people."
And I will let this Army times article speak for itself:
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 03:37 pm: |
What can I send you from Albuquerque that might help? I've been at CascadiaCon (immediately after Bubonicon) and was directed to this website by Craig Chrissinger.
I will definitely send you some stamps. Need any CD blanks for writing? Anything else?
Pat Mathews from ASFS
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 05:19 pm: |
Hi, Andy --
Message from you received here! Envelope was mailed today to Phyllis' address. You'll hear from me as soon as I return from NYC.
Looking forward to talking to you and Dara next week,
|Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 - 07:07 pm: |
I'll see you at the cocktail party Friday, I expect.
|Posted on Friday, September 09, 2005 - 09:08 am: |
Andrew, another number you need to know.
Imperial Point Animal Hospital is sending a private jet to New Orleans
collect as many abandoned animals as possible.
They are leaving Tuesday morning. They are asking for Donations of $,
food, cat food, towels, water, toys (stuffed animals, chewies) and
carriers, crates any thing that you think might help them. Donations
be in their office my 6pm Monday.
They are open today and tomorrow until 5 pm and Monday till 6pm
Their address is 1570 E. Commercial Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
phone number 954-771-0156
I AM GOING THERE TOMORROW AND MONDAY. IF YOU WANT ME TO BRING ANYTHING
FOR YOU, I WILL BE HAPPY TO.
In the event of a happy ending here, I have now lined up temporary homes for five. Still working on more.
|Posted on Friday, September 09, 2005 - 08:32 pm: |
My first message didn't make the board. Cathy and I are glad you're well. We've been thinking about you. If you need anything, just let us know. I've got bottled water and beef jerky, just say the word. Not because of disaster prep, but because I really like water and beef jerky.
Y'all hang in there,
|Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 09:32 am: |
Andrew and family are now at the following location:
9511 Collins Ave
Surfside FL 33154
(305) 866 8767
|Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 10:23 am: |
Shit! I just sent a package to hallandale. Will he get it?
|Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 07:01 pm: |
Hi Lucius, I just spoke to Andy about an hour ago, (Sat. night) and he told me that mail SHOULD be sent to the Hallandale address, so not to worry.
|Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 07:38 pm: |
|Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 09:04 pm: |
Sorry for any confusion. The address I cited is Andrew's actual physical address. His MAILING address will remain the one in Hallandale, as that condo is being fixed up. ATC
|Posted on Sunday, September 11, 2005 - 01:28 pm: |
It's Sunday afternoon, and I've temporarily "escaped" the kids to get over here to my cousins May's and Joe's apartment to use their computer. The last few days have been almost as crazy as the preceding few days, but more good things are happening now than bad (thank God). Yes, as noted above, my physical address is currently in Surfside, Florida, but my best mailing address is Phyllis's condo in Hallandale; in fact, I'll be picking up some mail there later tonight when we go to see Phyllis and my brother-in-law Gary, who has flown in from San Diego to help Phyllis get the condo into liveable shape. We've received, thus far, boxes of baby clothes, adult clothes, books, and kids' videos from Craig and Wendy; a super-duper box of gorgeous hardcovers from Brad; a tremendous box of Macy's clothes from one of Dara's cousins, who works for the May Department Stores conglomerate; baby equipment, clothes, and toys from two old grade school buddies of mine who still live in South Florida; and, as noted somewhere above, a ton of marvelous stuff from Adam and Judi. Dara has insisted that I help her assemble a list of thank-you-notes to come (that's one of her strengths and one of my weaknesses), but who knows when those notes will get sent, so thank you and God bless you to all of you wonderful folks who have given both material and spiritual support.
Before moving into my friend Larry's father's spare condo in Surfside, Florida, we had to take the boys to a pediatrician in Aventura, as Levi was running a fever and Asher was badly congested. We've been passing around some kind of cold or sinus infection the entire time we've been out of New Orleans; today, it's my turn to come down with it again, so I'm sucking on Cold Eeze tablets (they actually work, if you start taking them very soon after you first feel any symptoms). Both boys checked out okay (turns out the doctor went to medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans), and he referred us to a state program which could provide speech therapy for Levi, as Levi only had one session of speech therapy before we left for Albuquerque. Dara and I are working hard on his vocabulary in the meantime, and he is now saying "apple," "ball" and "uh-oh!" A start!
Larry's father's condo is very comfortable (and doesn't suffer from killer mold, thank God). For those of you in the South Florida area or who may be down here prior to October, here is our current contact info (again, continue sending any mail to the Hallandale condo address):
Andy and Dara Fox
c/o Marvin Leibowitz
9511 Collins Avenue, #404
Surfside, FL 33154
By the way, this is the apartment building where Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Nobel Prize winning author, lived for about fifteen years from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. I think that's pretty cool. We're right up the street from the Surfside Community Center, where my father used to take me to the pool and the beach when I was a wee young 'un, and we're across the street from the area's largest Chabad center, for those of you who like to dress all in black. We'll be here for at least the next two weeks, at the longest until early October.
My brother Ric drove down from Tampa yesterday and stayed the night with us. He filled up his entire Dodge Durango SUV with stuff he'd collected from neighbors, coworkers, and friends in Tampa and Sarasota. Dara and I are now -- literally -- able to open our own new and used children's clothing boutique. We've received more kids' clothes, equipment, and toys than we know what to do with, so we're spending a day or two going through all the bins, picking out what we want, and donating everything else to either the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, or another charity organization involved in hurricane relief. People have been incredibly, astoundingly generous to us, so it is only proper that we give back to our former neighbors who now have so much less than we do.
My sister Robyn went online for us and posted our current phone number on several message boards, including the very helpful Nola.com message boards, which are frequented by residents of Algiers. Thanks to Robyn's help, we've gotten phone calls from two neighbors who have given us news regarding our home and our cats. The first neighbor told us that the homes on our street had mostly avoided severe wind damage and looting, and that our home had not been pierced by a tree; she also said that a police neighbor of our had remained on the block and gave us his phone numbers, but it proved impossible to reach him. Yesterday, another neighbor from Eton Street, Dara's old street, called to say she and her husband had temporarily returned to Algiers to rescue their own two cats. They asked if our cats had been rescued or helped yet, and we said no, so we told them how to break into our home. They were able to break the window we specified, but that door was locked with a deadbolt that didn't have a key in it. They called for the cats, but none came. Then I asked them to walk up the street to seek the police officer's assistance. They found him, and he was able to break a window close to where we had a key sitting in a deadbolt, and they got inside. The first cat that came out was Doc, our most obese cat; since none of the others appeared, they thought at first that Doc had eaten the other six! But then they found the other five male cats hiding under our bed. Our one female, Callie, is extremely shy, so she must've hid herself more thoroughly. They left food and water for the cats and took the key with them. The couple may return, but the police officer is planning to leave the block soon. However, first thing tomorrow morning, we plan to contact that Fort Lauderdale organization which is arranging the pet rescue effort, give them a copy of our housekey, and hopefully have them pull the cats out and bring them down here to South Florida. The cats were completely out of provisions when they were found. But they are alive for now, which is a much bigger blessing than I allowed myself to hope for. I'm sure all of our furniture is ruined with cat urine and feces, but we'd expected it to be ruined by flood waters, rain, or looters, and furniture is easily replaced. Just so long as they didn't piss all over every one of my backup laptops. . .
My natural father is flying in from San Diego in a couple of days to help out with the kids. He'll be with us for six days. We're really looking forward to his visit, as he gets along very well with Dara and (unlike my mom and stepdad) is very enthusiastic about our boys. Another good thing I'll be involved with this coming week is a fund-raiser/disaster relief event for the members of the New Orleans/Gulf South Booksellers' Association who have lost their stores. A number of our close friends in the bookselling community have lost everything, particularly those friends with stores in Bay St. Louis (Susan Daigre of Bookends) and Pass Christian to the east. Amazingly, nearly all the independent bookstores in New Orleans were located in neighborhoods which mostly avoided catastrophic flooding. Last year, I'd had a reading and signing scheduled at Books and Books in Coral Gables, South Florida's biggest independent bookstore, but one of the last year's four hurricanes to strike Florida forced a cancelation. So I called them again a few days ago to see if I could reschedule, given that I'm down here for at least a few weeks. Turns out that the store's owner is currently the president of the American Bookseller's Association, so his assistant asked if I wanted to be part of a relief event to benefit NOGSBA. I'll be driving down to the store tomorrow to talk details. The event will probably be held this coming Friday, and I'll be the featured guest author/refugee.
I have many more thoughts to post, but I need to head back to my family in Surfside, since we're getting together with Phyllis and my brother-in-law Gary tonight (Gary flew in from San Diego to help Phyllis get the condo in liveable shape, since I'm WAY too busy and distracted to properly help her). I'll try to post again fairly soon. Thank you so very much again for thinking of me and my family and for praying for the restoration of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.
|Posted on Monday, September 12, 2005 - 11:18 am: |
First of all, thanks for the good news about the cats. Ron and I both cried in relief (we currently are down to 6 cats, and each one is precious). Secondly, good for you for sharing the gifts you've been given and for the opportunity to do the bookseller benefit. We're members of Mountains & Plains Booksellers and had heard about the destruction of Pass Christian and Bookends stores, and there will be a benefit at our fall trade show Sep 22-25.
Nina and Ron, Who Else! Books
Kevin N. Haw
|Posted on Monday, September 12, 2005 - 01:18 pm: |
I was lurking and was surprised no one has mentioned anything about your idea for WALKING FROM NEW ORLEANS. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and have decided to take the plunge and kick in my two cents. Take it with a grain of salt, but here's the opinion of some nut in California (me, obviously):
I see two major problems with WALKING as you describe it. First, the tone of it sounds (and I apologize for using such a provocative term) like a eulogy for your city. I know that's not your intent and that you would take great pains in such a work to emphasize moving forward versus lamenting loss, but it would still be a hurdle you would have to overcome both in your own writing and also in selling the work to an editor and later the public. This hobbling might make it difficult to tackle a project of the scale you propose.
The second problem I see is that I suspect every single writer from New Orleans (and probably a lot of “Bandwagoners” who just passed through on Mardi Gras a decade ago) is probably contemplating a project similar to WALKING right now. Add to that the inevitable memoirs about the flood proper from every elected official and first responder out there and the market is due for a massive influx of New Orleans related material in the years to come.
To stand out in such a crowd, you should consider playing to your strengths instead of just making a generic book that tries to capture everything New Orleans (a monumental task even in the best of times). First, your work with CSFF puts you in a unique position to speak to the rebuilding and relief effort’s impact on the underprivileged. An emphasis on the humanity of your clients (and an emphasis on their individual New Orleans character) from a person who has worked with them would bring a much deeper depth than the “those poor, deprived people” spin we usually see in discussions about class in this country. Second, (and you hinted at this in your comments about Loyola) your experiences as a Jew in New Orleans (and any rebuilding efforts with your synagogue, perhaps?) makes for another interesting twist. Face facts: if you did a word association test with most Americans on the term “New Orleans,” the response “synagogue” would appear somewhere near the bottom of the list. A memoir touching on the character of this less known (at least by mainstream America) community has a lot of potential.
While the other parts of your experiences in your hometown (family, books, etc) are needed to provide a framework for any such work, the emphasis IMHO should be on the strengths you have over other authors or journalists. Failure to do so might leave you looking like “one of the herd.”
Another strength you might consider playing to is the wonderful characters you’ve created in your Fat Vampire books (as I hinted to in my earlier ramblings). Imagine Jules facing the chaos of Katrina and the evacuation, perhaps wandering through the Superdome as he tries to find Maureen while desperate to get back under cover before daylight. It has the potential of putting a very human face on the tragedy while allowing a lot of artistic license. Adding a backstory of a hunt for something evil (Serial killer? Supernatural critter?) stalking the evacuees or just taking advantage of the chaos to hide amongst them is a possibility (it wants to flee Jules and others who have been chasing it for some time). While taking your fictional characters headlong into Katrina and its aftermath is a risky move that might seem exploitive in another author’s hands, you have the skills and credentials to carry it off if you chose to try.
And, yes, there’s a little bit of selfish motivation there as I eagerly await another Fat White Vampire book. To say otherwise would be a lie.
Again, just some crazy ideas from some guy on the Internet. Apologies if any of my analysis seems insensitive to the troubles that you or neighbors are facing or comes across as advocating the exploitation of this tragedy.
Stay safe and give the best to all your loved ones.
- Kevin N. Haw
|Posted on Monday, September 12, 2005 - 04:24 pm: |
I kinda think putting the Fat White Vampire in the Katrina mess would push the boundaries of good taste at this point, and not in the way that series already does...! But exploring the disaster in fiction strikes me as fine.
Kevin N. Haw
|Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - 03:11 pm: |
Again, I apologize to anyone (including you, Adam) who thinks my suggestions about WALKING or FAT VAMPIRE are in poor taste. While I personally think using either venue to address Katrina in a respectful manner is possible (especially given that it would take at least a year to write and produce a new novel, allowing some of the wounds to heal), I certainly understand your view.
Obviously either book would be very difficult to write, but (given human nature) I would wager there will be plenty of people diving in who have little concern for the dignity of New Orleans' residents. I just figured that if anyone were to write a book that addressed Katrina, it might as well be someone like Andy who would handle it in a sensitive manner.
|Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 10:07 am: |
I've been off-line for a few days, but now that my father is in town and is able to entertain my boys some and take some pressure off Dara and me, perhaps I'll be able to get connected a little more often. I'm still limited to either a local library (where they often aren't hospitable to visitors from outside the area) or my cousins May's and Joe's home, which is about twenty-five minutes from where we're staying.
I'm happy to report that some goods things have happened for us as of late. We thought the animal rescue mission that Adam-Troy brought to our attention would do the trick regarding our cats, but they would not go into the area of our neighborhood, preferring to concentrate on animals in people shelters who couldn't stay there. So, after repeated failures to get professional animal rescue organizations to go in and get our cats, our friend and handyman Mr. Martin, who had evacuated to Thibadaux, Louisiana with his family, acquired a temporary work permit which allowed him to return for a day to our shared neighborhood in Algiers. He pulled out the seven cats and took them to an animal shelter owned by the father of a good friend of Dara's and mine. For the time being, all seven of them are safe and being cared for by a very good-hearted man who knows us and who realizes how important those animals are to our family.
My father has come to visit from San Diego and is staying with us for six days and helping to amuse the boys so that Dara and I can get some things done. He's a great grandpa, as he is very game in terms of watching the boys on his own and is rapidly picking up new skills regarding caring for a toddler and an infant. Levi feels very comfortable around him, and Asher really likes him, too (although at this age, Asher loves anyone who will smile at him, which is virtually everyone).
I've straightened things out with my Office of Public Health payroll office, so I'll begin receiving my paychecks again. That's a big relief. Plus, my brother-in-law and mother-in-law are helping Dara and I buy a Mazda minivan to replace our drowned Mercury Grand Marquis. It's not what Dara dreams of driving, but it is extremely practical and is what we need to be driving right now. Especially given the tons of stuff our wonderful friends and family have sent to us our dropped off at our temporary Surfside home.
We've heard that the West Bank of Greater New Orleans will be opened up to returnees as of Monday. Mr. Martin will check things out before we head back, and as soon as there are utilities and basic services (such as operating grocery stores and drug stores in our area), we'll all go back to Algiers for a while, at least. I still don't know what my Office of Public Health will expect of me regarding relocation. Food For Families / Food For Seniors is investigating leasing warehouses in Jennings, west of Lafayette, and Delhie, a small town east of Monroe off of I-20. Our main warehouse in New Orleans was completely destroyed, and the two subsidiary warehouses were heavily damaged, so all of our food there is a total loss. Also, looters broke into our demolished warehouse and smashed open the lockbox containing keys to the vehicles in the yard. Four 26-foot long delivery trucks and four passenger vans have been stolen. The FFF/FFS truck fleet, once 16 vehicles strong, is down to just six vehicles. We'll have a lot of rebuilding to do.
Dara's and my spirits have improved, despite our family having a stubborn sinus infection/cold that we've been passing around, back and forth, for the last three weeks (I've caught it twice now). I'm now on medication for high blood pressure, my official initiation to middle age, I guess. Oh, well; just one more pill to remember to take in the morning. I'm working on a nonfiction book proposal about the last twenty-five years of life in New Orleans. Dara still can't contact her bosses, so she assumes that Belle Reeve is history, but at least her health insurance will cover her until November 1, time enough for me to get her onto my policy. The love and support our friends have shown us have buoyed us up, and I know ten or twenty years from now, the incredible kindnesses of our friends will be what we remember the best. Patricia, thank you so much for the mailing supplies; much appreciated! Gordon, the children's books you sent are simply wonderful, as are the back issues of F&SF. John P. and Lou A., your contributions are extremely heartwarming and very, very welcome.
Kevin, thank you for you comments regarding my New Orleans book proposal. I've since reworked it considerably and will continue to refine it with my agents. I like your suggestion about focusing on the unique experiences of Jews in the heavily Catholic city of New Orleans; I'll probably try to work that in. I'll keep you all updated regarding whatever happens with this project. Right now, regarding the city, my biggest fear is that much of New Orleans may end up as the Environmental Protection Agency's biggest-ever Superfund site, due to the toxic sludge that will be left behind after the water is drained, and that will permeate the soil with unknown quantities of heavy metals, poisons, and petrolium products. Hundreds of thousands of century-old woodframe houses will be demolished, with their remains being burned on site. I don't know if the E.P.A. will ever permit rebuilding in those areas, which make up about 70% of the land mass of the city. No modern American city has ever experienced both this scale of physical devastation, plus the complete dispersion of its population for a year or more. I know that many, many New Orleanians will take their insurance checks and head elsewhere. I fear that, ultimately, all that will remain of New Orleans will be the city's extent as of 1880 -- the French Quarter, downtown, Algiers across the river, and a narrow strip of settlements along the bend of the Mississippi Uptown. We will see, we will see.
Again, God bless you all for your superb support, love, and caring.
Our very best wishes,
Andy, Dara, Levi, and Asher Fox
|Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 04:16 pm: |
I'm glad some good things have been happening for you all, and that your cats have been rescued.
I hope you're wrong about the fate of most of New Orleans.
|Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 05:31 pm: |
As Ellen said and good luck with your book concept!
|Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 01:43 pm: |
If there's anything I can do from here in Hammond to help you and Dara, please feel free to contact me at (985) 549-3966.
I hope that life will be back to what will now pass for "normal" in time for you to attend the Louisiana Book Festival (which has been rescheduled for March 2006). I'll hope to see you there.
And, since I haven't seen you since the last Book Festival, congrats on the birth of Asher!
Government Documents Librarian
Sims Memorial Library
Southeastern Louisiana Univ.
|Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 11:35 am: |
Dear SF Community Friends,
Dara and the boys and I are getting along pretty much okay, although we've had our moments of major stress over the past few days. I think it's just starting to sink in, how scattered all of of our friends and various communities are, and how long it will take the New Orleans area to reobtain even a semblance of the vitality it enjoyed the day we left on what we thought would be a four day trip to Albuquerque ("A three hour tour, a three hour tour. . . The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed--" etc. etc. etc.) And now we have a friendly reminder that hurricane season isn't even over and done with yet -- as of tonight, down here in South Florida we have Hurricane Rita to watch out for (which would almost be funny if I were in the mood to laugh about the weather right now, which I'm not). And it just so happens that our place of refuge is right on the ocean. Well, whatever, bring it on, what the fuck, etc. etc. etc.
On the positive side of the ledger, I just enjoyed one of the best visits with my father of the past twenty five years; he flew in from San Diego to give us some moral support and to spend some time with the two grandkids. He is terrific with both of them, despite having had limited (and long-ago) experience with infants and toddlers (I'm his only kid). Having him so solidly in our corner (as opposed to my mother's and step-dad's grudging support) is a wonderful thing right now. I really enjoyed watching him play with Levi, bounce him on the bed and toss pillows on him and chase him around the apartment. Plus, he quickly figured out how to get Levi laughing and how to get him to stop fussing (at least some of the time).
As of tomorrow, I plan to start working as regularly as I can on that nonfiction book proposal I've mentioned on New Orleans since 1980, so we'll see how that goes; I'm pretty excited about getting started on it, as I think this could open up a whole new market for my work.
Regarding my day job, my boss still doesn't know when and where the Office of Public Health will be relocating, but now she believes it will be closer to New Orleans than Baton Rouge, possibly in a building in Kenner or Metairie. Dara and I plan to try going home in a couple of weeks, once some basic services (grocery store, hospital, drug store, gas station, etc.) have been reestablished in Algiers or in nearby parts of Jefferson Parish. For the time being, our cats are residing in an emergency animal shelter in Thibadaux run by the father of our friend Henry Foust. Dara is almost positive she has lost her job, as her workplace was submerged by the flooding. Our neighborhood of Algiers, on the far bank of the Mississippi from the rest of the city, came through in much better shape than the remainder of Orleans Parish, but the extent of the damage to our roof and upper story is still uncertain. We lost one, possibly both cars, but cars are easily replaced (and Dara's car already has been replaced by a Mazda minivan). I know that at least one of my computers survived intact, as Mr. Martin rescued it from the house when he pulled out the cats. So eventually I'll have access to all of my files, which will immediately come in handy for this nonfiction book.
Right now, I'm taking all this much better than Dara is. Her personal reality is much more anchored to the house and home-based routines than mine is, so she is really feeling the effects of an extended banishment. As opposed to me, who is getting to explore my old home town, see old friends and relatives, and start a new book project. To top it all off, today is her fortieth birthday. What a way for her to spend her birthday. I'll have to make it up to her as soon as I can. I feel more than a little guilty that I've actually been having a good time these past few days, hanging out with my father and seeing with him what has become of all the old neighborhoods we used to spend time in with each other, seeing where our old favorite restaurants and magazine shops and bookstores used to be. I'm sure my stress level will shoot right back up any day now, though, and if not down here, then most definitely once we get back to the New Orleans area. The scattering of our friends and communities, realizing that they may never come together again, is beginning to sink in. Algiers and the city will probably feel like a vast, stinking ghost town, even a few weeks from now. I guess it's a good thing I've started taking a pill to get my blood pressure down.
Andy, Dara, Levi, and Asher Fox
Oh, Lori, it is very good to hear from you. I'd certainly like to be a part of any future Louisiana Books Festival, so please keep in touch!
|Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:29 pm: |
Andy, did you receive a package from me. Someone named DeLeon or DaLeon sighned for it on the 16th.
|Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 02:09 pm: |
I haven't received anything yet, and Phyllis (my mother-in-law) just brought up the mail from the mail room (I'm over at her condo). I'll check downstairs to see if anyone named DeLeon/DaLeon works in this building and if the package might be waiting somewhere other than in the mail room. Thanks for sending it, whatever it contains. I'll let you know if I can turn it up. I've gotten other packages from folks at this Hallandale address in the last week.
|Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 03:17 pm: |
Geez, I hope you can track it down! I think I threw away the ups slip when I saw it had been signed for......
|Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 06:55 pm: |
Andy, I found the tracking number in my dumpster and have learned that the person who signed for it is the valet (?) at the condo. A person named DaLeon. Let me know.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 - 05:51 am: |
|Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:33 am: |
If you haven't started the FEMA process yet, you may want to read their "Help After a Disaster" booklet, which you can see online at:
It explains what they will and won't cover and lists other disaster assistance sources.
(What can I say...giving out government information is what I do.)
Gov. Docs. Librarian
|Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 03:35 pm: |
The valet downstairs was holding onto the package. He's the one who signs for things. Apparently, he called someone in Phyllis's apartment to say it had arrived, but he either spoke to a workman who didn't pass along the message, or Phyllis just plain forgot. Anyway, I got it, and it is WONDERFUL. Thanks so much! The movie reviews alone are worth the price of admission (I was planning to buy that book in the near future in any case).
I got a good start on the new nonfiction book yesterday, while sitting next to the window and looking out at the huge ocean waves generated by then-Tropical Storm Rita. Pretty weird juxtaposition, beginning a book about New Orleans while witnessing the effects of yet another storm heading for the Gulf. And now it is another Category 5 storm. I pray for the residents of Texas or West Louisiana who end up in Rita's path. What else can you do? Maybe someday some genius will figure out how to create artificially-generated wind shear forces that can knock a hurricane to pieces before it gets fully organized. Now THAT would be a fine use of our tax dollars.
Dara, meanwhile, is really showing a lot of strain from the dislocation. She feels completely out of control of her life. Plus, lots of lots of little factotums in various bureaucracies, stores, and utilities have been doing their part to drive her nuts. I'm doing all I can to make her feel better, but there's a limit to what I can do. She's mentioned seeking counseling, and I think that might be a darn good idea.
On the positive side of the ledger, Asher is nearly ready to begin crawling, and Levi is showing more signs of developing speech, plus Dara has signed up for local speech therapy for him in Broward County. So there are a few rays of light out there. . .
|Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 03:58 pm: |
Andy, I so glad you got it! Got another, smaller one coming your way.
You know my first sale to Omni was a story about pilots who steered super hurricanes out to sea and thence into north african deserts You're right. About time the gov. got to work on that.
Take it easy, man.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 04:22 pm: |
Anytime youse guys want to get together, we's available.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 09:10 pm: |
"Youthful Folly," Lucius. Jsut looked it up and see it was published after the poem "Pictures made of Stones" and "Life of Buddha." :-)
|Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 06:31 am: |
No way, Ellen. That was published long before LOB and Pictures.
|Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 06:37 am: |
LOB was up for the WFA in 1989, which shows to go....
|Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 07:01 am: |
The government has actually done a fair amount of research into how hurricanes could be stopped or weakened, but most of it was done in the 1960's. You can read about it at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/tcfaqC.html.
Essentially, they decided they couldn't tell if their efforts were really having an impact on the behaviour of storms because they didn't know enough yet about the normal life-cycle of hurricanes. Now that they know more about the natural behaviour of hurricanes, they can't think of anything to try that could possibly have an impact on the life-cycle of a storm.
By the way, if Dara still hasn't been able to contact her employers, she might want to check this site from time to time: http://www.findyourneworleansemployer.com/. I don't see Belle Reve listed there yet, but they may be added some day. Also, if she'd like information about getting counseling in Florida, she may want to check here: http://www.projecthope-florida.com/Welcome.do.
|Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 08:13 am: |
Here are the dates of pub: Pictures Made of Stones (poem) Sep.87
Life of Buddha May 88
Youthful Folly Nov 88
|Posted on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 01:30 pm: |
I'll be seeing Adam and Judi tonight at Book and Books in Coral Gables, where I'll be doing a reading from Bride of the Fat White Vampire, signing books, and talking about the gigantic mess over in New Orleans. Then I'll be over at the Aventura Mall Waldenbooks tomorrow afternoon to do a signing. Trying to keep busy with positive things. I've done a lot of work on the book proposal for The Janus-Faced City: New Orleans Since 1980 these last few days. I hope to email it off to my agent by Monday, although he may request another chapter or two from me (so far, I've only written a long introduction), which will take some time.
Dara seems to be doing a little better since yesterday. We've gotten our temporary apartment more organized and less cluttered, and we're trying to institute more of a daily routine. It is horrible, of course, to see New Orleans flooding again from the secondary tidal and rain effects of Rita. Recent news reports have suggested that some of the levees failed because their internal metal seams where not properly manufactured and installed. That should prove to be a most interesting (not to mention infuriating) story.
|Posted on Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 04:09 pm: |
My reading at Books and Books was a bit of an anticlimax, as the store didn't do much at all in the way of advertising, so, apart from Adam and Judi and one of their SF club friends, only two other audience members showed up, and only one of them sat through the entirety of my reading. Oh, well. I've done worse. Anyway, the Castros and their friend took me out for sushi in Coral Gables afterward, and that was lots of fun, as we spent a happy hour discussing Harlan Ellison, Barry Malzberg, and Spider Robinson.
I did a little better the following day at the Waldenbooks in Aventura Mall. I spoke with a bunch of people, most of whom were more interested in the situation in New Orleans than in my books (not too surprising), and I sold a few copies. Dara and I made a new friend, Julie, who is a cousin of my Austin Book People friend Peggy Hailey's. Julie was extremely kind and took us out for dinner in Aventura, holding Asher when he got fussy so Dara and I could eat our meals.
Speaking of Asher, he's gone through an amazing growth spurt just in the past week. Not quite eight months old yet, his 9-12 month clothes (donated by many of our friends in the last three weeks) are all suddenly too tight, meaning we'll be on the lookout for 18 month clothes for him now.
Oh, Lucius, your movie reviews are PERFECT bathroom reading. I doff my hat (and underpants) to you, sir!
|Posted on Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 08:49 pm: |
Don't feel too bad, Andy, I did a signing there several years ago and no one showed up but my family.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 12:38 pm: |
Well, here's the latest. I'll be heading back, by myself, to New Orleans this weekend. My employers informed me yesterday that the gravy train comes to an end as of the end of this month; if I don't show my pretty face somewhere back in Louisiana on Monday, work location still to be determined, my paychecks come to a screeching halt, which I really can't afford right now. I'm not even sure just how I'll be going back; flights at this short notice are prohibitive, so I'll either take a bus (if bus service is even available) or rent a car and drive back, then hope my old car at the house is still in drivable condition. I'm sure that getting into Algiers by cab or bus will be mucho fun, especially given that they are still on a nightly 6 P.M. curfew.
BREAKING NEWS STORY: MID-LIST WRITER ATTEMPTING TO RETURN HOME ARRIVES AT 6:20 P.M., IS FATALLY SHOT AS A SUSPECTED LOOTER
(Well, let's hope not.)
I hate the thought of having to leave Dara and the boys here in Miami, but the authorities are not recommending that children come back to New Orleans yet, and Dara has just gotten Levi enrolled in a speech therapy program in Broward County. On the good side of the ledger, I went to the cardiologist today for a stress test, and my heart is in good-enough shape. Also, once I'm back in my house, I'll have access to lots of source materials and books I need to begin writing some of the meatier chapters of THE JANUS-FACED CITY, my projected nonfiction book on New Orleans since 1980. Being by myself for a month or so, I should have plenty of time to work on it, given that I don't succumb to the depressive aspects of being home alone in a mostly empty and ruined city.
Asher is growing more hair, Levi had his second haircut, and I'll soon be pulling my own hair out by the roots, I'm sure.
By the way, Lucius S., please email me your zip code so I can stick your official, Dara-composed thank-you note in the mail. I hope you've been doing well.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 12:51 pm: |
Good luck with the move back, Andy. I hope your house and car are in good/working shape when you get home.
Having to leave your family behind for an undetermined period of time is just plain sucky.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 02:39 pm: |
Best of luck, Andy. Hope your transition back is as smooth as possible.
|Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 06:41 am: |
Andrew, I live on the Northshore (Abita Springs) and now have power, running water, and neat stuff like that. If you need anything, or need a place to crash nearer your house while you're getting your life back together, call the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and ask for Diana Rowland in the Crime Lab. I also have a vehicle that you can borrow for a while if yours is not working.
|Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 10:49 am: |
Your friends from CSFP across the United States miss you and are awaiting you getting back to work. Please call when you can and let us know how it is going and what we can do to help.
Please share with Dara and the boys our thoughts and prayer are with you all and hope that you all can get back to some of normal life soon.
|Posted on Friday, September 30, 2005 - 05:45 am: |
Good luck, Andrew.
(Meanwhile, on the OTHER coast, I have another friend, best man at my wedding, whose family just had to flee a home by the California wildfires.
|Posted on Sunday, October 02, 2005 - 01:20 pm: |
Do you still want us to send reading material along to Dara? I've found all my copies (moving is a pain--especially when flooding upsets the filing system, so to speak...) Will you be receiving mail in NO, or still at the condo address?
Safe trip--hope you find things in better shape than you've feared.
|Posted on Monday, October 03, 2005 - 07:57 am: |
I really, really, *really* hope you won't be needing it, but FEMA and the Red Cross cooperated to produce a publication entitled "Repairing Your Flooded Home." If, God forbid, you did have flooding, here's the link:
|Posted on Thursday, October 06, 2005 - 08:13 pm: |
Thanks so much for all your kind wishes and your offers of help. I'm sorry it's taken me a week to get online again and respond to you all. I know I've written this before, but your generosity and friendship means the world to me.
It turns out I'll be with Dara and the boys a bit longer, thank heavens. Here's an update on our status. Two days after being told I had to be back at work on Monday, October 3 or risk losing my job, my boss attended another meeting with the higher-ups at Office of Public Health, and they decided to extend the emergency leave period for those employees trapped out of town due to family considerations who still wish to return to their jobs. So now I'm here until the Saturday following Yom Kippur, October 15, when I'll fly back to New Orleans and leave Dara and the boys here in Surfside for an additional month. Levi is having a full series of diagnostic tests done for his newly diagnosed pervasive developmental delay condition, and we want him to see all of the necessary specialists and be fully worked up by a team of therapists before we bring him back to New Orleans. Then we'll transfer his treatment to Baton Rouge. It'll be a real schlep for Dara, having to drive him there once or twice a week, but it won't be that much longer a drive than taking him from Surfside to Weston will be for the next five or six weeks. Originally, we'd been considering having Dara stay with the boys in Florida longer, but various factors (especially Dara's somewhat tempestuous relationship with her mother, with whom she'd been dreading moving in with after my departure) forced us to change our plans. In any case, I'd much rather have to go without seeing them for just one month, rather than two or three.
Between Asher keeping us both up in the middle of the night and the stress of trying to piece our plans together (such as finding day care so Dara can do some grant writing work for her ex-boss at Belle Reve House), it's been a tough week, but there have been some good, fun aspects, too. I took the family to a couple of my old haunts from childhood, Mario the Baker Italian Restaurant (hasn't changed a bit since my high school days, even though the entire neighborhood around it is completely different) and Greynold's Park, where my father used to take me on paddleboats and running up and down their miniature mountain with a castle on top. The little mountain and castle are still there, so I took Levi to the top and let him run up and down the steps and slide down the grassy slope. I got a chance to take a look at my cousin May's oldest photo album and see photographs of my grandmother Esther when she was in her early twenties, as well as pics of May and Joe from the WW2 years and their honeymoon in 1946. The family and I didn't make it to too many Rosh Hashana services; just one, actually, the first service of the holiday. We went way, way out west to the old Sunrise Musical Theater, now owned by a black church, which was rented out for the Jewish holidays by a currently homeless synagogue called the All Peoples Temple, which specializes in outreach to unaffiliated Jews. Pretty schmaltzy service, all in all, but I enjoyed the klezmer music, and Levi loved running up and down the aisles of the theater and down the ramp outside. I spent most of the night chasing him and trying to keep him from disturbing other people. I got pretty blue, though, when I realized that this was my second Rosh Hashana in a row away from my home synagogue in New Orleans (last year, we all ran away from Hurricane Ivan) and thinking that many of my synagogue friends now have no homes to come back to, including our closest friends, the Renterias, who have been a part of our lives and our children's lives ever since Dara and I first met (Cindy's and Joe's home is in Broadmoor, a very low part of the city; Joe went back to take a look, and he brought back nothing at all to Maryland, where they are staying -- nothing was savable, not even a single one of Cindy's paintings, all of which were ruined by mold).
The more I hear from my fellow New Orleanians, the more I realize that Dara and the boys and I are among the most fortunate. We've only lost things which are easily replaced. The most precious thing we've lost is much of our city and, I fear, much of our beloved local community of friends.
So, that's what's going on with us. I'm not too certain what the mail status will be; I guess the best thing is to keep sending stuff to the Hallandale address, if you need to mail anything to us, and it should reach me eventually. I don't know when regular mail service will be reestablished in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans. Mr. Martin and his family have cleaned up our house in preparation for my arrival, and I'm told he was able to get my Ford Focus started, so the little blue hatchback will be sticking around for a while. I may take the cats back before Dara returns home, or I may wait for her arrival; I may need the company, even though I'm not much of a cat person.
By the way, Adam C., I LOVED "The Gathering of the Sinister Six." You obviously have a real love of the Spider-Man characters and a sure hand with them. Although my favorite part of the book was when Razorback showed up. Hope to see you and Judi before I head back.
|Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 09:44 am: |
Thanks, Andrew. Hey, if you're still in the area, we have another meeting on Saturday...
|Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 08:20 pm: |
Andrew: John Joseph Adams, of F & SF, is looking for you. I know what it's about. You should contact him via the F & SF board.
|Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 07:43 pm: |
Dear Adam and friends,
I'm back in New Orleans, having arrived back on Saturday, October 15. I'll start a new thread called "Back in New Orleans," since this thread has gotten a little unwieldy. The last thirty hours or so have been a real magical mystery tour. One of the weirdest days of my life, when all the events are tabulated. Exceptionally weird, but also surprisingly good. By the way, Adam, I finished the last book in the "Sinister Six" trilogy, and the reading experience you gave me was just what I've needed these past six weeks. Delicious escapism, the equivalent of reading a huge pile of the best superhero comics ever written. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed them and how well I think you nailed each of the characters. Were you the first to determine Mysterio's sexual orientation, by the way? It makes perfect sense. I can't wait to read your upcoming original novel and meet your own characters. Thanks again for having been such a wonderful support to me and my family down in South Florida. I'll certainly appreciate it if you and Judi can continue to check in with Dara from time to time. Based on what I find out this week from the newly reopened Children's Hospital in Uptown New Orleans, I hope to bring them back here earlier than we'd been planning, maybe in just a couple of weeks, rather than a full month.
|Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 06:38 am: |
Mysterio's homosexuality is my own interpretation, contradicted by several subsequent comics where his origin involved a girlfriend (but it seemed logical enough to me, given certain aspects of his behavior, and a costume that is flamboyant in the extreme). It was one of the many elements I inserted into the novels without Marvel's permission, via subtly-planted clues. I thought I was being obvious as all hell, but most readers don't seem to have caught it. I know Judi didn't; she was rather surprised when I told her what I had done, following her consumption of the trilogy. Glad you liked it. And yeah, for a while there, prompted by my own mania, the writers of the Marvel novels were conspiring to insert Razorback into every book in the line.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 01:23 pm: |
hi,can anyone out there help me with the closing from hell? Our condo closing was suppose be 11/4/05,we lived in a condo in hallandale,fl. Since wilma the buyer said her lender had the right to excerise a 30-45 option,but she opposed this,but the buyer claims her lender put conditions on her loan? she works for a big mortgage co,meanwhile we have no closing date we are living day to day waiting for our money.Don't we have the right to disclosure? Why could this be happening? Seems like she is dragging this out.I talked with the buyer & asked her to threaten her bank with a pull out,said she didn't want CONDITIONS put on her cause its a $300,000 loan.This sounds like BULL. so Iam suppose to sit here and wait & wait? Our lives are on hold & we are just poor working slobs. If anyone knows a realestate attorney or can help us pleasee!!!!