Sunday, September 04, 2005

ANY PORT AFTER THE STORM

I read two news stories about very different accommodations for some of the Katrina refugees. As told by MSNBC, some cruise lines are chartering ships to be used for temporary housing.

In Missouri, the former St. Louis County Jail is being offerred up as temporary housing for 300 refugees.

So, who decides who goes to the cruise ship and who goes to the jail?

When a little of the background about the old jail is known, it's becomes apparent how it is kind of fitting as a temporary home for New Orleans refugees. I'm not talking about the looting and lawlessness that broke out. I'm not addressing any of that here.

The old jail used to be called the Gumbo Jail and is located in an area of western St. Louis County that used to be known as "Gumbo Flats". As the St. Louis county area grew, and developers looked for more places to build, it was felt that an area called "Gumbo Flats" didn't sound appealing to people wanting to build high-dollar homes. So the area underwent a name change and became "Chesterfield Valley".

But the jail was still known as the Gumbo Jail.

Renovations are being made to the facility so the new residents won't feel as though they have been incarcerated. Partitions are being set up for the bathroom areas, and I believe real walls are replacing the bars. Let's hope so. These people have been through enough.

ADDENDUM: I neglected to say in my original post that "Gumbo Flats" is located along the Missouri River, protected by a levee that failed in the 1993 floods. The levee has now been built to withstand a "500 year flood" and the area has become heavily developed.

But the fact remains that some people will get a cruise ship and some people will get the Gumbo Jail. The two vastly different options reminded me of a line in a Don Henley song, In A New York Minute. So, with apologies to Mr. Henley, here's a re-write of that song:

IN A NEW ORLEANS NIGHTMARE

Water came up
Swirling all in black
Rushed into their homes
many will never come back
And all their belongings
Scattered somewhere ‘round the town
No one will be down on Bourbon Street
in the morning

They all had homes
a place in the world
Many lost hope out there
As days unfold
Some went mad and crossed some line
Just too much pain to endure
They felt they didn't matter anymore

In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
The sea got very strange
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare

Out there in the darkness
you can hear sirens wail
Some are going to a cruise ship
Some are going to a jail
There will be someplace to live in this world
Just hang on tooth and nail
Help will finally be at the door

In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
The sea got very strange
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare

And in these days
When darkness falls early
there’s no place to rush home
where’re the ones they love
They had to stay, ride out the storm
Tried to take care of their own
One day they're here;
Next day they're at the Dome

Tried to gather his love to him
But it’s all so very stark
Water is rushing around him
The groaning city in the gathering dark
On some solitary roof
A desperate soul left his mark,
“Help, save us. Please come back.”

It the head makes cloudy
and makes the heart very sad
to see this big bright city
go so crazy, go so mad
Just know there's somebody somewhere
to make these dark clouds disappear
Until that day, please believe
please believe, please believe

In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
The sea got very strange
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare

6 comments:

Eleanor said...

Well done, sly!

I love that song anyway, and you've captured the NO feeling very well!

neophyte said...

*sniff*
nice song, Sly

Kafaleni said...

*sob, sniffle*
*really loud obnoxious noseblow*

I'm sorry. That was beautiful.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Nice, sly.

I hope Rita sees it.

She met Don Henley once, you know.

Kafaleni said...

btw, if you're still looking for some sly eyes.. they may not be human, but they are sly

Just a thought

rita said...

Very nice, sly, but I'm betting that you'll be hearing from Mr. Henley's legal representatives VERY soon.

I mean, I sure did after I met him.