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Shelby Foote, The Civil War

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or the Whale

Michael Punke, The Revenant

Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island



The contents of this website are for contemplative purposes only. No medical advice will be given, and emails asking for medical advice will be ignored.

Although patient vignettes are based on my experiences with real individuals, I liberally change details to maintain patient confidentiality.

I also reserve the right to change old postings to correct errors, and to delete comments that include obscene language or that I deem abusive to me or other commentators.  If you are looking for a open mind, I suggest you consult a neurosurgeon.

Katrina Blog Project

The Katrina Blog Project

hurricane_katrina_august_28_2005_nasa.jpgAugust 29, 2006 marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Some time ago, as I was mulling over that fact, it occurred to me that I should write a series of blog postings to commemorate the event.

Thus was born the Katrina Blog Project. The idea is simple: On or around the day of August 29, I will begin a series of postings recounting what I was doing and thinking that very same day one year earlier. I will create a memoir of the event, in internet real-time. That is, on August 29, 2006 I will tell exactly what I was doing on August 29, 2005, and on August 30, 2006 I will post what happened on August 30, 2005, and so on.. I will do this every day for a week, recreating Hurricane Katrina as a kind of on-line re-enactment.

I would like to get other bloggers to join me. So I am publishing guidelines on exactly how I plan to do this, in the hope that others will consider doing the same thing. If we can get a large number of people participating simultaneously, we can create something I do not think has ever been done on the internet before – a large scale retelling of a natural disaster in the words of the people who experienced it, recorded as day-to-day journal entries.

So here are the guidelines:

IMG_0295.JPG1. I will begin August 26, 2006. The reason for this date is that August 26 was my last regular work day before Katrina. I want my readers to have a sense of what life was like before Katrina turned it on its head.

2. It is not necessary for every participant to start on August 26, but I think everyone should start at least on the 28th, the last day of evacuation. The best approach is to pick the last “normal” day before the storm. This gives you a narrative base to proceed from, and an opportunity to tell readers where you are coming from.

3. Once you begin blogging, try to create a post for every day from August 28 to at least Saturday, September 2. This would cover the week Katrina hit up until the arrival of the U.S. Army in New Orleans and the rescue of the people at the Superdome and the Convention Center.

4. After September 2, blog intermittently as you please, covering days that were important to you in the storm’s aftermath. To make things easier for your readers, when you skip a day or a few days make a note, such as, “My next Katrina Blog Project entry will be September 9.” This will allow your readers to follow you more easily.

5. Each entry should be a recounting of that particular day, one year earlier. Try not to summarize multiple days. Collapsing days together weakens the immediacy of the entries. One day, one posting. Try to restrain yourself from looking forwards or to previous days.

6. You may need to explain briefly what happened between one entry and the previous one if you skipped a few days, but try not to let this get in the way of concentrating on a day. If a lot happened in between posts, consider a separate post to fill readers in. You could label this “Summary 9/10 – 9/14.

7. Blog about your own personal experiences. We all saw the news, so a recounting of facts is not necessary. What did you do? What did you see? How did you feel about it?

8. Entries can be any length.

9. Post it as you remember it. This is about personal experiences and impressions. I would fully expect discrepancies in the timing of events. Human history is full of such confusions.

10. Somehow, mark each entry as part of the Katrina Blog Project. That way, visitors will recognize your entries and know what you are doing.

11. If you submit your blog address to me, I will publish links to any participators. This will allow readers to move back and forth between sites and compare different versions of the daily events.

12. I do not have a closing date planned, although I would expect most people will finish up by mid-October. As
noted before, after the first week there is no need for daily posts, but if each KBP post is well marked, readers will find it.

13. When you intend to stop, if you will notify me I will mark your link on my site as closed. This will decrease the confusion over which sites are still active and which are not.

14. You have the option of posting in the present tense (as if everything you write is happening now) or in the past tense (everything happened 1 year ago). I intend to post in the past tense.

Most importantly, anyone and everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Katrina is welcome to participate. I am especially interested in hearing from people who used to live in New Orleans and saw it from afar, people who hosted families who evacuated to other parts of the country, or rescuers who came to New Orleans to help after the storm.

Don’t worry if nothing exciting happened to you. I did not swim out, nor was I on any rescue boats or choppers. That is not the point. The point is that everyone was affected by Katrina in a different way, and the power of the posts will be the diversity of the stories. Tell your own story. It will be interesting.

Anyone who thinks they have something relevant to say is welcome. If you want to participate, please email me.

Finally, if you know someone who has a story to tell but is not computer savvy or does not have a blog, consider blogging for them. Simply identify the person you are blogging for to avoid confusion.

If you want to post but don’t have a blog and don’t know how to get one, you may send your posts to me by email and I will publish them on a dedicated page on my site. Warning: I do not have time to edit, so if you do this, I will post exactly what I received.

Michael Hebert