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katrina
by andrea augustine
7.7.08
news

The name Katrina holds me in a state of flux. After my Poppy died, my mother threw herself into missions. She is truly the strongest woman I've ever known. A few summers after he died, my mother had a "Fresh-Air" child from Staten Island come to visit named Katrina. She smoked, she cussed, she wore braids, she beat boxed, and she talked fast. She was my Idol. I had never met anyone like her before. But, as most people are, she was complicated and troubled, and Lord knows, she had never seen the likes of Cape Cod in the summer before. She was out of her element and after three summers of category 5 behaviour, my mom decided not to invite her back.

This is where I should tell you that I fell in love with beat and rhyme and the sheer power of the voice. Thank you Katrina.

As a 26 year old woman, I went down to New Orleans for the first time with my third future-ex-husband and came to life. The smells: decay and bloom. The Sounds: agony and rejoice. The architecture: eloquent and dilapidated. I was home for the first time ever, and I knew it the moment I arrived. I never wanted to leave. The spirit of New Orleans, Louisiana somehow slowed my spinning mind and allowed me to breathe... the heat demanded a slower pace. You get hot? You walk in the shade. You feel cool? You go out and about. You're thirsty? Get a drink... feel hungry? Plenty of food there. You get the idea. I felt balanced. At the thought of leaving, though, I spun out of control again... like the hurricanes that destroy New Orleans, the thought of leaving destroyed a part of me. No Joke. I ended up in the hospital after one such visit due to massive panic attacks and even wrote a song on the airplane back from NOLA... But I digress.

When Katrina hit, I grieved in the way that a woman grieves the loss of her husband-- or the way that I grieved when I lost my Poppy-- and I felt ingenuine because I didn't live there. What right did I have to grieve? It hurt me even more than 9-11 hurt me because that was a hideous, hate filled attack any way you look at it. This was nature. It could happen anywhere... and does every day. (Yes, terrorism could happen anywhere too, but nature somehow has even more grand and indiscriminate implications). At least there was warning that she was coming, but not enough for people without cars or money enough to seek refuge. Family members and friends of mine from Cape Cod, Washington D.C., and other coastal areas (and this is just the gist)said to me, "Why would they live there knowing those kind of things happen?". Well, here's a for-instance. Cape Cod is just a sand bar, and loads of people on the coasts have money, so depending on who you talk to, perspective can be just a bit skewed. I knew why people would live there, and I couldn't understand how anyone who had visited or lived on the coast by choice wouldn't be able to understand the draw of a place -- not to mention that most people settle in an area naught 20 miles from where they grew up. It never occurred to most New Orlinians and those on the Gulf Coast to leave-- hell, they've been through plenty of storms. I'll live in NOLA one day-- and if I have my druthers, I'll die in NOLA in a hurricane, taken by the sea... my Titanic-melodramatic-morbid fantasy. Love makes you do crazy things, and I love NOLA. But enough about that.

This time of year I think about what was to come just about three years ago. I was playing at the Jazz Heritage Museum on Dumaine Street... right near the Cafe Du Monde just two weeks before she hit, and it stormed that day. Funny how I was afraid of a thunder storm. What was to come was so much bigger than that. Like 9-11, the nation will remember the tragedy on August 28, and like 9-11, for those who were directly effected, it still effects their every day life. I'm thankful that I live in Tornado Alley and not in Hurricane Central right now, but I'll do what I can to remember and help those who live in the eye of the storm... another is sure to hit. The Gulf Coast, enlarge, is still in a state of Flux.



ABOUT ANDREA AUGUSTINE

Andrea Augustine, of Bloomington IN, by way of Boston, MA by way of Cape Cod, MA feels an affinity with the song "I've Been Everywhere" by Geoff Mack. She is a working musician, mother, and now a pseudo-writer. She will be recording her first solo album "I Got Nothing" in September, and hopes someone somewhere will like it. If you want to know more go to her MySpace page: www.myspace.com/andreaaugustine or here: Andrea Fiedler's Facebook profile

more about andrea augustine




COMMENTS

robert melos
8.31.08 @ 2:39a

And now, unless it down grades or changes course, it looks like another cat 4/5 hurricane, Gustav, may be hitting the same region. I hope not, but if it does I hope the people get out if they can.

Part of the shame of Katrina is that the city is still recovering, in great need of monetary infusion, and we spend billions on war instead of spending it on the suffering of our own people.

I hope NOLA will be ther for me to someday visit.



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