Last week I made a local connection for supplies. A group called Emergency Community has set up just inside the ninth ward and the man who runs it has created an amazing setup. Huge freezer trucks full of food, and working kitchen that provides five course meals everyday of the week, a kids room, cloths, internet connection and a licensed massage therapist on sight. It came at the right time — we have water and they are planning more drops next week. Itâs refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t care about the politics and bickering and says, Iâm here to feed people.
I felt victorious, larger than life. I didn’t know what I was going to find and I came back with two loaded trucks. The glory only lasted so long — we have lots of people to serve and only so much water.
Water, water, water. Itâs been on my brain and will continue to be. Where will I find it next? How long until the group that I have found ends their lease on the Off Track Betting parking lot and I have to find another means of supply? How long until someone from the local government gets their acts together and does whatâs right? We need to help people come home, preserve the culture of this wild place and respect what makes this place such a captivating city. The people who were allowed back into the city after the flood were not the local communities, but outsiders being shipped in and paid to clean up a city that might not make through another storm.
Its hard to sit down and write clearly about whatâs happening in my head. There are so many things happening to take into consideration: Racial divisions, social structures and financial situations; emotional balance and rational thinking. How long do I stay until I wear out my welcome, and will it even come to that? There is so much that needs doing, where do you start?
I can only do what my heart tells me. I have to hold my tongue and not get myself into trouble — we were walking the French Quarter in search of honey and sponges when we passed three cops hanging out on the street. Anya, Steve and I walked through them minding out own business where I heard one ask a question. I did not hear him clearly, turned and said “excuse me?”
“Are you a terrorist?” he said again with a slash of sarcasm and a hint of pushing power.
I stumbled over my tongue and managed to real in my response before I let my mouth run away with my head. I do not look like a tourist. (my clothing screams it- there is no way I have enough money to paint this town read for even an hour…) I am not local. (again, my dirty cloths and tumbled down appearance do not lend to my growing up in this location. Being white has little to do with this, although maybe it does. Most if not all of the volunteer force is white and from other parts of the country.) It is comments like this that make our country what it is. Insecure. Fearful. Angry and aggressive. I will not allow myself to fall to his level. Do not label me.
I will not label you.
And yet, I have already gone back against my own best advice. We all steer clear of the police, we are at our own best behaviors when they drive past or we simple don’t walk down that same street twice where they play their games and feel strong over the ones who are looking to help.
I will not be discouraged, only disappointed by the lack of consideration for a fellow human being. Tomorrow brings another day and with it the unexpected.
I continue on. xoxoannab.
P.S. For interested parties, I am including a list of supplies that are most useful to us here in New Orleans.
WATER! (gallon jugs preferable)
Gallons of bleach/ cleaning supplies
disposable coverall suits
hot water heaters
2×4 and other building materials…
I could keep going but the list really is endless. As far as food, we need to find a local kitchen that can supply us with fresh fruits and veggies once a week. We have limited refrigeration and a small refrigerator.