I’ve resisted saying anything about the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, because everyone in reach of a keyboard seems to be weighing in on the subject.
But I finally succumbed, and dug out some columns I did just after New Orleans went under.
I thought I was well over the sadness of this disaster, but I found my eyes getting a bit moist as I read my own words.
Here’s part of a column I wrote on Aug. 31, 2005, titled “At this time, we are all New Orleanians:”
“That amazing city to the south of Baton Rouge is one we love to hate.
“We gripe about its parking police’s over-active tow trucks, the early morning smells on Bourbon Street, the kamikaze instincts of its drivers.
“We complain about the sons of pirates who run its hotels, the snooty waiters in its best restaurants, its frustrating NFL team.
“But deep down we love New Orleans and its quirky inhabitants.
“New Orleans is where we go for serious partying, memorable meals, unforgettable parades, wonderful music.
“It’s always been one of the happiest towns on Earth. But in one day it’s become one of the saddest...
“After 9-11, a common theme was that we were all New Yorkers, suffering the tragedy with them.
“Today I feel we’re all New Orleanians, mourning for a great old town and longing for its speedy rebirth.
“I miss it already. Even those damn tow trucks...”
Michael Dille says, “I casually mentioned to my son and daughter-in-law the other day that I planned to cut down a 20-year-old crape myrtle that constantly sheds on our patio and rear gutters. I have to clean both daily.
“My granddaughter Vivian overheard and said in her sweetest voice, ‘Grandpa, are you talking about the CLIMBING TREE? You can’t do that!’
“Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men...On to plan B.”
A retired Army chief warrant officer tells this disturbing tale:
“I had the displeasure and embarrassment on Aug. 19 of falling on my posterior and being unable to get up.
“I had taken my daughter to LSU to move her into an on-campus apartment for the upcoming semester.
“As expected, the activity in the parking lot was overwhelming, especially in the deluge of rain that engulfed us for the entirety of the move.
“I attempted to secure a handicapped parking space adjacent to the building, but all of these designated spaces were filled for over 58 minutes with vehicles, not a single one of which displayed either a handicapped registration plate or a hanging placard. Each of these spaces was clearly and visibly marked as parking for vehicles of the handicapped.
“Having slipped and fallen, I sat there soaked for a few brief moments, and pondered, ‘So, this is the “Thank you for your service” that everyone is often almost thoughtlessly extending.’”
Special People Dept.
— Vergie Hamilton, former Baker resident now in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, celebrates her 99th birthday on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
— Mercedes Monnin Lampo, lifelong resident of Jeanerette now living in Lafayette, celebrates her 91st birthday on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
— Celia and Hal Filgo celebrate 65 years of marriage on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Thought for the Day
From Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon: “A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.”
A mention in the Tuesday column about the bad guys in old Westerns throwing away their empty guns brought comments from old-movie buffs with too much idle time.
Nobey Benoit, Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, and Russ Wise, of LaPlace, said they had also noticed this practice:
Alex maintains that “the outlaws, when cornered by the posse, were actually throwing AT the posse. That was the standard sign they were out of bullets, and hoped to wing someone with the thrown weapon.”
And Nobey and Russ pointed out that tossing guns at Superman was also a standard practice.
Russ says the discussion “reminded me of the TV series ‘Superman’ of the ’50s. It seemed like at least once a month Superman would stand smiling disdainfully, hands on hips, as criminals emptied their pistols and the bullets bounced right off.
“But when they threw their empty guns at him in frustration, he’d duck. Always wondered about that...”
Kim “Pops” Seago, of Columbia, Tennessee, offers this medical observation:
“While recovering from recent shoulder surgery, I learned the following definitions:
“Minor surgery — Surgery on you.
“Major surgery — Surgery on me.”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.