Friday, August 29, 2008

Three Years On

Happy Katrina Day, if you're reading this. I don't know why you would be, I've neglected it for so long, but it's still here, like a tree just waiting to be watered, and so here I am again today.

So much has happened since Katrina changed everything three years ago. And still so much is the same. I feel like a fraudulent reporter even touching on what's happened. It's ridiculous to come back here once every few months for updates, when the recovery is daily, and I'm so distant.

Every few weeks I resolve to recommit myself to this, and then disappoint myself by not. Sorry to the universe.

Facts: my mom is back on her property in a beautiful little home she's overjoyed to live in, built by successive waves of wonderful volunteers since the storm. She's just received some rebuilding money from the state of Mississippi which she's using to shore up the rough spots left over, and to elevate the house to new FEMA standards (which change frequently since the storm).

She recently received a creepy pre-recorded phone warning from Governor Haley Barbour telling her to evacuate in the path of Gustav, as if she wasn't planning on it already.

That's her on the left in the above picture. Next to her is her childhood friend Russell. Next to him is her sister, my aunt Lorraine, who's self conscious about her down-turned smile since the stroke, but who I think is just as beautiful and beaming as she's always been. The three of them grew up together first on Piety Street, then on McKain Street, in New Orleans.

Their dads worked together in the junkyard, chopping up cars for scrap using big hand axes. Russell had nineteen brothers and sisters, in a family poorer even than mine. Now he lives in a FEMA trailer on an abandoned lot with two dogs, a bunch of Katrina junk, a statue of the Virgin Mary he hand painted, and an old school bus backed up to a canal cruised by alligators, which he fishes out of for meals.

His sister was murdered in New Orleans last week. The New York Times wrote a piece about the crime in New Orleans, the crime that took Russell's sister.

It mentioned Piety Street. I don't know how any of this fits together on this day. But I know that it does.

I'll be back soon.


Laura said...

I've got you on rss feed, so I don't miss when you post. I'm so glad to see your mother looking so happy and glad to hear she's back home. And I'm so glad that you've done what you have on this site, it's been valuable beyond what you can see.

Lewis H said...

Thanks for doing some more NO posts. I just found this blog from BB, but I've also spent a lot of time, esp. over the last 3 years due to my own intimate, personal life changes (love of life, rel. ending, grad. school>inspired-change-world>world-doesn't-change>broke>tons-of-personal-shit and now dealing with it all.

But we need more than anything simple heartfelt posts in the online lalaland. I found your post through Xeni's BB & I studied w/ Cory while in grad. school, took the whole BB-Violet cluster-fuck way too seriously, over-reacted, but I really appreciate the work Xeni does; I love your nerve photos and keep it the great work.

I second Laura as I browsed through your old posts and New Orleans and what Katrina means has not been settled and your posts make a huge contribution to this unfolding history.

Kellie said...

Got the update from Boing Boing.

Our thoughts are with you & yours, along with everyone in the path of Gustav.

...e... said...

of course i wouldn't remove you from the feed, but i was just thinking of you anyway, of course. this blog is eternally essential, but a lot has come along in three years: be sure to get yourself and mama (and bro?) twitter accounts for the mobiles, that's shaping up to be the saviour app this time.

goodspeed to your mama an' em.

clayton cubitt said...

Thanks so much y'all.

Twitter here:

taotechuck said...

Clayton, I've been following this blog from the beginning. There's always more that people can do, but you've used your talents in a unique way to do something that very few other people could have done as effectively. Whether or not you ever update this site again, I appreciate what you've already done. Peace to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Gustav slides by below... and we all think of Clayton, his mother, and everyone.

Clayton, tell us how everyone is; your mother must be dancing a jig!

Hokule'a Kealoha said...

Clayton I have been praying for your mom and friends. I hope that all is well as Gustav is raking the coast as I write. I hope that you are doing well at your craft. Write when you can dont feel bad about the time between we all understand and support you. You are an awesome individual. God Bless