Monday, September 1, 2008

Maitri Venkat-Ramani in the UK Independent: "Leaving New Orleans is not an easy choice"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 8:24 PM

New Orleans geophysicist, blogger, and all-around beautiful writer Maitri Venkat-Ramani has a piece in this morning's UK Independent, "The eye of the storm: Leaving New Orleans is not an easy choice":

In the wee hours of yesterday morning, as we looked at computer models that put Hurricane Gustav closer and closer to New Orleans, my husband and I finally made the firm decision to leave the city. To go or not to go was not an easy choice because the act of leaving is sheer physical and emotional torture.

There is the physical impact of boarding up tall windows with plywood, going through the house to collect items of importance, packing said items into waterproof tubs and carrying them downstairs to the truck. And then there is the emotional toll which consists of the futility of boarding up windows when your entire home could be reduced to sticks, deciding which of your possessions qualify as keepers, distilling your life into the back of a truck and leaving this beloved town again.

The worst is saying goodbye to dear friends before we scatter to the winds again. When will we see each other again? In a few days, a month, years?....

Read the whole thing here.

Right now Maitri and her husband are in Birmingham, Ala., and she's writing from there on her personal blog, the VatulBlog:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT WATCH CNN AND FOX NEWS!

1) Nothing of weather-related import ever happens in the French Quarter. Anderson Cooper standing at the corner of Bourbon and Canal and showing footage of debris blowing around is useless to me. Ali Velshi in Port Fourchon wasn’t so bad, though.

2) After Katrina, they did not learn that a local person well-versed in New Orleans geography alongside the regular reporter is a useful thing. It’s annoying when a cable news reporter stands at point A in New Orleans, refers to it as Point B and the anchor back in the studio asks the most irrelevant questions. MSNBC hasn’t been too bad as they show footage from the local NBC affiliate, but they had to go and interview Brownie.

3) Dear Wolf Blitzer, shut the hell up. Unless you’re right there holding the damned thing up, don’t scare people that a floodwall in the Lower Ninth Ward has breached.

4) If you can read this, you are online. So, go to this online TV news aggregator and watch all four local news stations simultaneously. They are more accurate, comprehensive and relevant than stupid cable news.

Maitri, one of the New Orleans' blogosphere's best writers, has promised to be a guest blogger for the Blog of New Orleans as soon as we're back. Until then, you can read her thoughts and her words here.

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