From the country that brought you Braveheart, here now is Frightened Rabbit. No, this band is not from New Orleans; indeed, its the first foreign entry in this Jazz Fest-baiting series. But the Selkirk, Scotland, outfit does happen to be playing in New Orleans, and I would be remiss in my position as Quint Davis self-appointed chief antagonist were I not to at least dwell on it for a minute. If Bailey, with his limited Quarter club resources, can summon such a fantastic, imminently cresting rock act to our southernmost island of a city, then surely the well-heeled festivaliants under Davis' employ can as well. The Modern Leper, the knockdown opening track from April knockout The Midnight Organ Fight (Fat Cat), is one giant rock climb, its handles and footholds a jagged brogue and a sheer-face wall of bracing guitar. Its as swell as swells come.
Frightened Rabbit and Oxford Collapse play One Eyed Jacks tonight at 10 p.m.
The lead supervisor here in Hull is a great guy. But I think he's
somewhat tired of my incessant questions. Or maybe he's put out by my
threatened work stoppage.
Speaking of questions, we are of course being barraged by the one
question everyone else in America wants answered by us: "How did that
(deleted) mayor of yours get re-elected?" For a little while "$90,000"
held the spotlight but that now seems like old news. "Our Mayor" is
the big perplexity about the Big Easy.
After we explain it for the two hundredth time, walking through Mitch
and Uptown Republicans' involvement, they seem to think we're not as
dense as they previously suspected. I'm thinking New Orleans should buy
media space nationwide to offer the Nation an apology and explanation
for "Our Mayor." This would be way more efficient than having to do it
one American at a time.
The rain has let up. It's sunny and 90° meaning we're working in a
steambath. The locals say the Yats should feel right at home.
Food arrived but we're breaking anyhow. The skies are near black; big
rains heading our way. This is not a welcome event. Volunteers and
National Guard are all heading into the Western Elementary School
building. I'm in our truck which smells awful so going to make a run
for it back to be with the others. The pace will no doubt pick up when
we can get back at it. Rain means breaching.
We're working at a less frantic pace this morning. Things appear to be
holding along the 50 mile stretch of levee near Hull. Rain is expected
this afternoon and tonight so they'll be watching to see what starts
leaking. Kind of like a chess game going on here with an unpredictable, but
There's one boil of concern still in Dead Dog. We're going to try and
check it out. Clear water boils are not a problem. That's pure levee
water leaking out which is ok because it's relieving pressure. Dirty
water boils are, however, a major concern. These indicate the levee
itself is becoming compromised. Knowing this difference now apparently
makes the Yats more knowlegeable than some of the Corps workers here.
According to the locals there are Corps staff assigned here who've
never seen a boil. And on it goes.
The Yats have threatened a work stoppage unless fried chicken and
music appear shortly. The locals appear to like our style. Your
Working Boy, Darryl
If you're going to attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, and you've got eight Senators signed on as cosponsors of the bill...do you really want two of them to be Sen. Larry Craig and Sen. David Vitter?
While some will no doubt find humor or even irony in this situation, it's good to know that Craig and Vitter haven't let their own troubles deter them from letting this legislation stall in committee, and have taken a clear position on their mutual stance on pampering immoral behavior.
Were back at it sandbagging in Hull this morning. Last night, one of the nearby levees in Missouri broke. So this has a trickle down effect (no pun intended) on where people and resources are allocated. The whole ballgame here is coming down to what the rain is going to do in the next few days.
The Hull site at Western University is lightly supervised and theres a whole new cast of volunteers. So were the old veterans showing the newbies how to set up five-person bagging teams, etc Go Yats.
The level of organization and coordination here between state and local government is amazing. Its also infuriating to see their level of competence and excellent planning/communication compared to our experiences back home. More specifics later. I have to go now that Ive been promoted to Sandbag Technician II.
Late Thursday night, June 26
Were finally done for the day after a great meal with the local families hosting us here. I ache all over.
Our group concluded the workday by following the trucks laden with our handiwork of finely-stuffed sandbags to their final resting spot: the levee at Park-N-Fish, Illinois. Despite two vodkas at dinner, Im serious about the name.
We encountered several locals at the drop-off point who described the back-to-back disasters of 1993: The Great Flood and then having to deal with FEMA. The only governmental entity for which they have greater disdain is the Corps of Engineers (I told you last night these folks are our perfect sister-city-on-the-river). Both are considered utterly useless. Ive never met a populace, which can so readily grasp our furor over the Corps incompetence.
Folks her are already chafing at the fact that once this is all over, the Corps is going to make them take down all of the levee enhancements and reinforcements just so they get repeat all of this sandbagging again next year. Apparently the additional sand is an irritant to a class of endangered and protected snails. You can imagine how this goes over with Southern Illinois farmers.
Im tired, hurting and going to bed. But with a huge smile on my face over the great people weve met and worked with today and the opportunity to give back. Tomorrow, the Yats sandbag some more then join about 2,000 volunteers and locals for a blues concert in the town park.
Since my last post on this subject, I have confirmed from several sources some additional information about the deal that Gov. Bobby Jindal struck with lawmakers in connection with the much-maligned legislative pay raise. None of what follows conflicts with the facts as set forth in my last post, but it does shed some additional light on what happened and when.
You know you've been filling sandbags all day when you start getting picky over the kind of bio-degradeable bag's you're given. There are flavours from China, Indonesia and India (at least). I'm biased towards the Chinese version which require a separate twist tie.
The only skills required for sandbagging are digging and counting to two. Even YATS can handle that. Once filled the bags are taken to suspect levee locations which have been given names, eg Dead Dog, Pole, Horseshoe, Miller's Corner. I'm trying to find someone who can tell me if we're presently winning or losing the war. More rains north of us expected - not good news.
It's pushing 90' here in Hull along heavy humidity. Just like home!
The folks here went thru this drill during the great floods of 1993.
Which brings us to yet another similarity. That year Corps of
Engineers waited too long to blow the levees down river, allowing much
greater damage than could have been avoided.
Sandbagging is a bit of an art. A team of five is ideal: one shoveler,
two baggers and two to tie the bags. Two shovels full makes for a
perfect bag. Once our pile has hit critical mass, a flock of National
Guardsmen descends to fill up the front loader. Then it's off to the
levee for reinforcing.
The presence of New Orleanians here is quite the spectacle. Most
everyone has recognised us from last night's newscast. The folks here
are delighted - really taken aback - that we've pulled away from our
own issues to come up river and lend a hand during their time of need.
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