Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Miyazaki-Gulf Coast Connection

This is a message posted to the Miyazaki email group in Japan where I used to live. Wes is originally from the Gulf Coast but now teaches English in Miyazaki City. He has a lot of friends and family who were affected by Katrina.

My friend katie ended up at the superdome. She broke into the snack bars to get people water. That night the national guard told her and her friends that they were bugging out and that they should to. Katie had a sprained ankle at this point so her
friends stole a shopping cart(no tolerance for looters right) and pushed her across the I-10 bridge. They feel bad having gotten out though. They are of the opinion that if they had been 12 black people trying to flee to jefferson parish they would have been shot. Everybody who got out feels guilty.

the family staying at my house are cajuns from st. bernard parish that my mom found crying in the bank. They are a family with two daughters and an 82 year old father. They fled to mississippi with everything they could get in their car. The storm turned and hit them and they lost the car. They were trapped in the hotel room full of water mocassins. they then got a rental car and headed to florida. the hotel charged $90 a night and then kicked them out because it is labor day weekend.

my friend jesse is a jazz pianist in NO and is holding fish frys for the survivors in houston. he isn't going back.

my friend ryan got to baton rouge before the storm and made it all the way back to metarie after the storm to rescue his cats. he isn't going back.

my friend chad, who has spent years teaching at inner-city schools in san francisco and knoxville finally got a job at a cushy catholic school in houston. it is now a refugee camp. the teachers went in together and got a helicopter and were pulling people from office building roofs.

my mom (who works at the post office) tried to organize a convoy of postal vehicles to go in with water but there was no way in from the east.

500 private boats left from florida to help but couldn't get in. 500 private boats from lafayette made it all the way onto I-10 downtown and were told by FEMA to go home.

people in mississippi have been stricken with dysentery

in pensacola there is no gas. people are stealing bikes and siphoning gas from other cars. my friend described it as "mad max."

my step-brother and i are on a red-cross waiting list to get into the city to work. i don't know what i'll do if they call. i mean, i'll go i just don't know what the ramifications will be for my employment here. but i can drive boats and have an urban planning degree so maybe i can do something. i have also put in my resume with habitat for humanity. houston schools and florida schools are also probably looking for emergency teachers as everywhere is overwhelmed with refugees. so i am looking into that.

my godfather made it back to what was left of his house and said about all that was left were three pictures of me, which i find to be rather strange.

i'm telling you all this not because my friends need your sympathy but everyone needs to realize that these people are the lucky ones. this situation is so fucked up i can't even comprehend it. all the government had to do was ask for help and everyone would have been there. it is really unbelievable. it reveals what a fake southerner george bush is. like a redneck ever needed an excuse to go charging through a flood in his boat. all they had to do was ask.
- Wes


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