Thursday, September 01, 2005

Message from My Parents

Today my parents sent this letter out to friends and family.

Hello, everyone.

We are devastated by the news coming from New Orleans,
but very grateful to be watching it on television in
Austin instead of seeing it firsthand. We left on
Saturday with the cat and dog, two bags of clothes,
the computer, some Important Papers, 8 photo albums,
and a few things that Jennifer and Jeff asked us to

Our house is in the part of New Orleans that is on the
Westbank of the Mississippi River, across a big bridge
from the main part of the city. The news we are
getting from message boards and e-mails is that our
neighborhood has wind and structural damage, but no
severe flooding. We have no idea when we will be
allowed to go back to see what is left.

A million thanks to everyone who has written to
express kind words or offer us a place to stay. A few
minutes ago someone in Houston told Lee that an
apartment and an office are available for him and his
business partners and families. Two things I NEVER
thought I would ever hear us say---

Linda: I LOVE my cell phone!
Lee: I want to live in Houston.

That's all the news for now.
Lee and Linda

Today I spoke to my parents for the first time since they evacuated. We've been communicating via email, but it's so much better to hear each other's voices. They have been in Austin since leaving New Orleans, but tomorrow they will head first to Houston and then later to family friends in Lafayette, LA. The cat will stay behind with my brother. The dog will go where my parents go.

The dog is not enjoying being cooped up in Jeff's small apartment. From the sounds of things she has been busy destroying it in an attempt to get out. She has a long history of peeing on the carpet when she's not happy. Kind of like me when I was four years old and thought it was a good way to blackmail my parents. It wasn't. Didn't work for me, doesn't work for her.

Regarding my mother's comment about loving her cell phone, my parents (Singular subscribers) are not able to receive incoming calls but they can receive text messages and make outgoing calls. This might be the case for other people with service from Singular. If you are trying to locate someone and they have a cellphone, try sending them a text message. It may work.

Thank you to everyone who has written to express their concern. It means so much to to all of us. Hearing jokes and happy stories keeps us sane. With all the tales of destruction and bad behavior on TV, it's important to hear good things too.

On the phone, my parents told me about from people from Metairie staying in their hotel. The couple was talking at a table in the hotel's restaurant and from their conversation it was clear that they were from Louisiana. A young couple was sitting at the table next to theirs, finishing their dinner. The young couple left before the couple from Metairie finished their dinners. When thepeople from Metairie asked for the bill, the waitress told them that the young couple had quietly taken care of it.

Second good story from my family was about something they saw on television. A man from the Desire housing project was carrying a young girl through flood waters to the safety of a road upramp. After he set her down, a reporter approached the man and asked him if he had made other trips carrying people from Desire. The man said the little girl was probably the 28th person he had carried through the water. As the reporter was still interviewing him, the man broke away. He had seen a woman struggling in the water. The camera continued rolling as the man grabbed her and her cart of belongings. Thanks to him, a 29th person was safe.

A sense of normalacy is also important to helping all of us get through this. Today Chris and I took painting lessons. There is a man where we are staying who teaches Indian minature painting. We spent all day with him, hunched over our boards, trying to bring an elephant and a camel to life. It was supposed to take our minds off things for a few hours and it helped. After seeing so much destruction, an act of creation was good medicine.


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