I don't know exactly what Hurricane Isaac has planned for the city of New Orleans, but I do know two things, and it's that lessons were learned during Hurricane Katrina and that subsequent improvements have been made.
Which is why I don't understand the media hysteria right now, and the feeling that I get that most of the national coverage, and even one-such New Orleans meteorologist (who I won't mention by name here but will say that it rhymes with Sbob Sbreck) all seem downright disappointed that this storm in fact will not be another Hurricane Katrina. Here in central Alabama, I have been as obsessed as a New Orleans native raised on hurricane-watching can be, keeping The Weather Channel on in the house, and then pulling up the local coverage on the Internet and the radio apps when I want to hear more-familiar voices. And I do this because I want to get the perspective of those still weary from seven years of recovery, the ones who certainly celebrated (as I did) upon hearing that New Orleans was recently named the fastest-growing city in the United States, and who through all of this hype understand that New Orleanians have been through this less-than-Katrina type of storm before.
Again, I don't know what the storm has in store for my hometown, but I do know that 14 billion dollars have been spent to upgrade the levee system to withstand a Category 3 storm. And believe it or not, the majority of what almost killed the city seven years ago was flood damage, inflicted upon a city unaware that the walls protecting them had not been touched in the forty years following Hurricane Betsy. So, as much as some of you news people seem to want to, please don't go signing a new death certificate for the Crescent City just yet.
But I will say that I have been as preoccupied as the city has been today, and yesterday, and probably all of tomorrow and into the next day. It's in my blood. And I do hope that my comments here aren't premature, but in all honesty, I think they got this.
NOLA ain't goin' nowhere anytime soon.
I'm still buzzing over an experience that I had a little over a week ago. What you see here was my perspective for about ninety minutes, a fifth-row center seat to the Hottest Band in the World, and it's something that I'll never forget. I felt as though I'd actually spent quality time with the band and was quite sad when they went away.
I've always said that KISS, along with "Star Wars" and "Saturday Night Live," were the three things that I was practically raised on. All three were there during my developmental years, with "Love Gun" being the first album that I ever owned at the ripe old age of five. So you can imagine how warped I was back in 1996 when KISS put the makeup back on and went on tour, during the same year that George Lucas re-released "Star Wars" in neighborhood theatres, confusing my subconscious into thinking that it was 1977 all over again like Christopher Reeve in that "Somewhere in Time" movie.
How's that for an obscure film reference, huh?
But now here I was, sixteen years and two more KISS shows later, and I was literally standing about thirty feet away from the band as I watched them do their KISS thing. I didn't know what to do with myself, and the experience was almost awkward as I stood there, watching a show that in all honesty was designed to be seen from a distance. Aside from the occasional point to my section and a few guitar picks thrown around me (I was too much in a sentimental daze to even reach for them), the band played to the rest of the amphitheatre, a facility that I turned to notice the immensity of only during breaks in my nostalgia trance.
It was one surreal episode in this life o' mine!
Case in point, I only took one picture the entire night, and it's the one that you see right here. I take that back. I took more, but then I realized that this was one part of my day that I didn't want to experience from behind a phone.