On Saturday I will begin a series of postings about the week Katrina landed in New Orleans. This series, which I have christened the Katrina Blog Project, is my personal memoir of what happened the week of August 29, 2005.
I began writing these postings in June, and they have grown to a degree I had not expected – the last word count was 20,200, and I may yet add to it. Given its length, I would understand that most of my readers will never get through it all.
This memoir is not especially dramatic. I was not involved in any rooftop rescues. I was not stranded in any hospitals. My family evacuated, and it was weeks before we saw our home again. Perhaps you could think of this testimony as an alternative to the hard-hitting on-the-ground reporting that filled the airwaves that week, and in the weeks after. This is the story of what a disaster looks like through ordinary eyes. It is like Exodus written not from Moses’ viewpoint but in the words of the last Israelite pushing his cart across the muddy bottom of the Sea of Reeds.
The project, not including this entry, is in 10 parts. The first nine are dated to reflect my memories of the corresponding day one year ago. The last entry is a poem. Because calendar days and weekdays do not exactly correspond from one year to the next, some of the titles may seem to conflict with the posting dates. For example, Friday, August 26, 2005 will be posted on Saturday, August 26, 2006. Blame it on Pope Gregory. He is the one who created the Western calendar.
Readers will likely find that the narrative is uneven and does not always flow. There are two reasons for this. First, 20,000 words is a lot of text and I have not had sufficient time to buff it to a high polish. I will probably continue to refine the posts in the future; do not be surprised if you go back to look at an old entry and find it is not worded quite as you remember.
The second reason for the uneven flow is that in many places the narrative is more a collection of random thoughts and reactions rather than a linear history. It simply came out that way. That raw spirit may be a useful aspect to this project, or it may make it unreadable. I guess eventually someone will tell me which is the case.
If anyone notices any factual errors, spelling or grammatical problems, let me know. I will correct them immediately.
At any rate, the posting starts on Saturday, and will run every day until the following Sunday. Take it for what it is worth. I make no claim for its value.