It just so happened that my successful month of 100 Words participation coincided with Hurricane Katrina. I had planned to write this post this weekend and share the entries, but what I didn't count on was Gustav.
I was in Memphis, Tennessee that week doing some client work. We were staying at this funny Holiday Inn on the University of Memphis campus. UM has a school of resort management named after Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, and I believe the hotel itself serves as a kind of laboratory for students. That in and of itself makes it unique, but it's also an all-suite HI (we stayed there many times while working with this client - we called the rooms our apartments). And on one of the floors there was a Kemmons Wilson museum with all sorts of memorabilia and big quotes on the walls. Each room had not only a Bible and a phone book, but a Kemmons Wilson biography.
To be honest, I hadn't followed news of the storm very closely. It was a high-stakes event we were in town for and I was consumed by the preparation. But I will never forget the feeling of despair while watching the news, the way the hotel quickly filled with pacing refugees. Reading these entries now is sobering in that the immense scale of this disaster had yet to sink in. I remember one phone report by Jeanne Meserve, so tinged with emotion and horror that the sound of her voice moved me to tears as much as the scene she described.
I am not a traditionally religious person - there is no being I might pray to - but when I watch Gustav follow the Katrina-worn path, I'm doing something akin to prayer that the suffering will be as slight as possible.
29 August 2005
I am in a
30 August 2005
This morning I knew things were bad, but I clung to naive
optimism. “Maybe they can recover by Mardi Gras,” I thought. What a triumphant
celebration that would be. As I had a chance to watch the news during session
breaks, I realized my utter folly. Levees breached.