SLABBED salutes CrescentCityRay

SLABBED salutes CrescentCityRay who posted comments here several months ago, a man of courage who stepped forward and told the cost of floodwalls that failed to protect the city of New Orleans.

I am one of the crazy people from a flooded area in New Orleans.We rebuilt our home – above the Katrina flood line. The kids are back in school and seem ok. Over 60% of our neighbors are back. Things are looking up.

Nevertheless, I cry uncontrollably nearly every day. While I have been fortunate (up until recently) to have work since the levee failures, the crying and stuff has made it a lot harder to be productive in my work and I don’t think co-workers want to be around people like me.

I think of suicide daily too. Yes, I am getting talk therapy as well as medications that make me cry less at the expense of my motivation and attention. Call me names if you must, but I am doing the best I can.

Why are we feeling so crazy? There are a number of reasons:

1. People claim our disaster, in New Orleans, was a natural disaster, when in fact our outfall canal floodwalls fell down long before even being overtopped by floodwaters because of stupid engineering mistakes made in the floodwall foundation designs by US Army Corps of Engineers’ engineers as reported in all three levee failure investigation reports. But, many people choose to blame us flood victims for these floodwall failures and that really hurts my feelings.

2. People everywhere call us bad names, claim we are responsible for our losses, and do not begin to acknowledge the extent of our destruction (140 square miles of deep urban flooding by salt water that sat for weeks).

3. The Engineers that did this to us are in charge of rebuilding our flood protection and and we fear they are purposely designing unreliable structures again.

4. Most of our local politicians are worthless. Our future does sometimes seem hopeless.

5. Politicians and much of the general public made our disaster nothing more than another partisan issue. The previous and current administrations have made unkept promises. Many of us feel very disillusioned about our governments at every level.

6. The pain is not just mine. While we lost everything we ever had and have suffered and struggled to get home, the same thing happened to my neighbors, relatives and nearly everyone I ever knew. I haven’t been able to help relatives as I would like because of my over abundance of problems and lack of resources. I look around at my missing elderly neighbors and get really angry at how our elderly and disabled have been and are being left to die without any help from anyone.

7. Of course, the initial Katrina response was a nightmare, but only a small part of the ongoing pain felt in New Orleans. I wish the evil posters that seem to wish we were dead would stop their hostility.

I don’t want to be crazy and cry everyday. I am ashamed of my mental illness. Believe me, it is very humiliating. I want to work and support my family and continue to help rebuild my community. My doctors say I must reduce my stress – yea right. Vindication might help.

We the people, now collectively humbled by his strength, failed him as we failed others and ourselves when we did not challenge those playing the word game that promoted Katrina the windstorm as The Great New Orleans Flood:

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina came ashore, and before anyone could possibly assess the damage, the insurance industry began pushing the message that the damage was caused by flooding, rather than wind.  “The fact that a government-run levee fails and creates a flood does not create a liability for private insurers,” said Robert Hartwig, chief economist with the Insurance Information Institute in New York.  “I would say on dollar terms, at least among homes, the majority is related to floods.”

The distinction was important because wind damage is covered under homeowner policies – flooding is not.  Industry representatives took the message one step further when they tried to spin the story as “The Great New Orleans Flood”.

The phrase first appeared in a press release issued by insurance industry Risk Management Solutions (RMS), just three days after Katrina made landfall…

From time to time I read how “Katrina broke the heart of the American people” and I don’t diagree that it did at the time.  However, the public has a short attention span and a year later it was clear many had become ready to move on.

Harry Shearer tells what was left behind on the Huffington Post in New Orleans Mental Health Crisis, Exposed.  Commenting on the series of stories in last week’s Washington Times, he wrote:

The…stories focus on all the salient points of the mental health mess: the long-term depression of many Katrina survivors, the degree to which the crime rate is swelled by mentally-disturbed people acting out, the heroic efforts of police crisis units and volunteer organizations to find and help people who can’t seek out help themselves, and the increasing disparity between the need and the resources available for care and help.

CrescentCityRay’s response to a comment suggesting he relocate suggests the deeper the roots the deeper the sense of loss:

I cannot do that. I must live here. This is home. My family landed here in 1765. Whenever I leave town, I feel like a fish out of water.

I found CrescentCityRay’s comment hanging on Editilla’s Ladder along with such a moving closing comment that I picked it up too:

It is a Quiet Lie that New Orleans is Hopeless.

It is a Quiet Lie that we should not have flooded.

It is a Quiet Lie that we are beyond recovery because we were crazy in the first place to live here.

It is a Quiet Lie that what befell New Orleans was something most Americans can get their mind around.

It was not… something to “get over”.

I was there. I may forgive, but I Will Never Forget.

21 thoughts on “SLABBED salutes CrescentCityRay”

  1. Approximately 2 years ago while gearing up for what I thought would be my first Hurricane Katrina homeowner’s trial, I had a blow up of the Superdome roof post-Katrina made for closing argument. I also have subsequently had a blow up done of a vehicle with its sun roof open.

    The point is that rain water can be just as deadly as flood water when it comes to destroying property.

    I always wonder where would the Saints be playing right now if some of the homeowner’s insurers I have run into over the past 4 years insured the SUperdome? I guess floodwaters caused a billion dollars of worth of damages to the Superdome.

  2. CRESCENTCITYRAY: I’m crying after reading your post. First, you are not “CRAZY”. Problems w/continued depression? Sure – but I can certainly see why and I don’t even live in New Orleans, nor did I endure (and continue to endure) the “CRAZINESS” you face EVERY DAY TO THIS VERY DAY. You’re way too hard on yourself. You’re a HERO!! You’re a SURVIVOR!! You made it – you’re STILL STANDING ! Who cares what your co-workers think? What you don’t think they’re crying to? They are – you may not see their tears, but they’re crying and they’re mad as well. You’re not a fool for not wanting to leave “YOUR HOME.” Only an idiot would suggest that. Don’t be ashamed of your “mental illness” cuz you have none and what you might have, you’ve rightfully earned !! From what I’ve been reading (I’m in Fla) your politicians have let yall down and your not imagining that !! SOCIETY HAS LET YALL DOWN – YOU’RE NOT IMAGINING THAT!! You are a good person w/a good heart – I don’t even know you, but I know that from your writing. You write very well – you’re TALENTED. Plz don’t let this TEMPORARY DESPAIR make you do something that will PERMANENTLY HURT THOSE AROUND YOU – THEY’VE BEEN THRU ENOUGH – AND SO HAVE YOU – PLZ, PLZ HANG IN THERE !!

    And, you kow what, for what it’s worth, I love you !

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  3. I’ve had the privlege of chatting with Ray via email and as a survivor I can relate to how he feels. I was able to move on rather quickly though I didn’t feel completely healed until sometime between year 2 and 3.

    I felt some guilt because I know too many people like Ray that still are struggling. I suspect for their part people being able to move past the loss does little to help the mental state of those who haven’t healed quite so quickly.

    When Editilla stopped in a few weeks back and said he couldn’t buy the kind of therapy we offer it made my day. The best thing I can say is Ray is not alone and as long as I can type and tell our story I’ll be doing it.

    sop

  4. Editilla is so right. My first job was for a Psychiatrist (my high school job – welcome to the world of employment !! See I was tarnished right away !!) and this dr. was NUTS. His peers were nuts. They put people in the mental ward just for the ins. $.

    I used to call our office the “International House of Shrinks” because we had (and I”m serious) an American dr. (my boss), a French shrink, a Spanish shrink and some other country shrink. My boss collected antique cars (30’s, 40’s era) and during sessions when he should be listening, he’d have the latest issue of Hemmings Motor News in his lap reading !! I can say this cuz he’s deceased now.

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  5. I just lost a comment and lost an email reply earlier – both because I didn’t catch Ray’s comment until I was shutting down last night and I turned everything back on after I read it.

    If I can hold my eyes open wide enough to avoid hitting the ohs%&t key again, I want to point out the almost total absence of disaster assistance for the most critical rebuilding task of all, the individual personal security of disaster victims.

    I’m going to try for one more point – fraud vs loaves and fishes. We need to find some sort of medication for American men to control their OCD re fraud.

    Can you imagine Jesus sending the disciples into the crowd with a commandment to check income and ID and verify hunger?

    Millions of dollars here and in Louisiana were targeted to fraud detection and prosecution. It took 4 years to get street signs in Waveland. What a stupid ranking of priorities.

    People are falling apart before our eyes and as we wrap them in red tape when we should be wrapping our arms about them.

  6. I like the way you so pointedly said this Nowdy:

    “…We need to find some sort of medication for American men to control their OCD re fraud.”

    Sure, there’s a minority woman in the crowd amongst the FRAUDULENT OCD MEN, but it’s “Raining Men” (Pointer Sisters) in the fraud dept. instead of the hugs dept. Could it be that we’re the more sensitive & nuturing of the sexes? Of course it is.

    If (more) men were more obsessed w/helping these VICTIMS instead of being so obsessed w/the size of their bank accts. and the size of their…..WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING? There’s already enough gutters created by Katrina than to have your minds in one.

    Don’t get mad …..GET EVEN….HELP THOSE IN NEED 🙂

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  7. No, really, WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP MORE? I know the SLABBED site is a godsend to bringing attention to this matter, but I’m thinking about helping the people that don’t have a computer (or the $ needed for the accompanying internet services).

    I’ll be damned if I’d EVER send a PENNY to the powers that be in your State – the VICTIMS would never see it (or the penny would be all that they would see).

    Is there an established Fund – that yall trust – that one can send $ to help people like CRESCENTCITYRAY? If so, plz advise (and I think it should be publicized more). If it’s already on your site, I’ve overlooked it. Tx.

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  8. NRB: Just curious – you’re having alot of success w/your Katrina jury trials aren’t you? I hope so. I know you only get so many picks, but your jury’s got to be made up of people that WERE THERE (or know people who stayed & witnessed it) and know what happened. I realize that you then have to deal w/the ins. companies who are just trying to confuse people w/the terminology (can’t just be “rain” it has to be “wind-driven rain;” and if that doesn’t work then it’s an act of GOD or a flood or anything except what is provided for under a Homeowner’s policy, right?) And then they come w/their experts – but bottom line, unless you’re having your venue changed alot (or you have Jdg. Walker), I would think (hope) you’d be winning.

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  9. Two (2) trials, both bench.

    The jury trials settled.

    I agree with your analysis to a certain point. IMO you must have the right facts in order to go to trial.

    The jury verdicts of federal court here in New Orleans have been either really, really good ( Weiss, Roberts Supermarket were a million dollar plus) or really, really bad. State Farm is 3-0 in jury trials arising out of Katrina (in all three the plaintiffs got $10,000.00 or less). Juries are human and many jurors were duped by local and national media into believing the fourth largest Atlantic hurricane on record and at the time, the largest hurricane to ever enter the Gulf of Mexico, was a “flood” event.

    An “after the claim has been denied” expert causes me zero concern. In only one or two cases did I even depose the defendant’s experts. What worries me is the failure of judges to properly instruct the jury on the law and the risk that the 5th Circuit will reach down and swipe your penalties award.

  10. Wow, thanks doucy.
    I had not realized how y’all on the coast have thesame Flip-Side Counter Spin thingy regarding “cause” with us in New Orleans… in that, New Orleans has to battle the myth that “Katrina-did-it” or “Whateva else but the Corps” while y’all have to deal with the Big Insurers saying No that Flood was Wind or visa versa… I think…
    Anyway… here is the main lede I used for the first of these articles on da’Ladda on Tuesday:
    [Mentally Ill Massively Masticate Mole’haired Moony Mytherfakir Magazine,
    –Attack With Tempest Still Raging
    In Their Minds] …and then they opened with “when Katrina flooded the 9th Ward…” and I went liike: “sloooowly I toin, step by step, inch by inch, mile by mfkn mile…! Editilla’s woim started to toin.
    The Lie is what drew me to this series of articles, since I try to refute that one particular Katrina Lie wherever I find it, and I look for it. I walk the Line and I stalk the Lie, with several different search configurations on the cause of the Corps Flood of “05.

    But, as I read the articles it dawned on me that they were beginning to stereotype general trauma onto a complicated scene of cultural incontinence labeled as New Orleans Mental Illness (Writ large), and yet the comments were particularly vicious in their disregard for the subject matter of adolescents and children.
    And, I believe there is a thing called Yankee Racism.

    I pondered this stuff for days as the articles came out, getting more and more interested in them. I couldn’t comment due to the complicated mechanism (for me) on the site of that Moonie Rag. I was trying to suss the pattern of motive in this acknowledged Neo’Con Intel’Pro Mouthpiece of Spook Skulduggery: the Washington Times. I mean, everyone has known about this CIA Rag for ever.
    I mean, they make the WaPo and NY Daily News look like bastions of Jeffersonian Egalitarianism rather fronts for Israeli hegemony.

    Sun Moon never waste his time, so ya’gotta wonda, eh? What do they care about real mental illness when they would just as easily proselytize for an Ultra Conservative Korean Mystic who has funny names for Space Visitors in the 2nd Coming. Jus’sayin… these are the feak’o’lays in the airports.

    But now it is very interesting how this is working out, playing across the country all the way to the goddamn Huffington Post and our Herolero Harry Shearer! And Harry Nails It! IT’S THE LEVEES STUPID!
    Well, I paraphrased there a bit, but you get my drift.
    My daddy used to say that if you watch closely the first words out of someone’s mouth, you can usually see the last ones too?
    Anywayz… Editilla’s tired of these lyin’beotches no lie. I got no’mo patience with the bourgeois naivete who still don’t know the story after we been slabbin’em wit’it with alacrity and aplomb.

    So anywayz…
    thanks youz,
    Editilla

  11. Editilla I think the Right Reverends prescription for all that ails us is a mass wedding followed by everyone giving all their possessions to his “church” (just ahead of the group sex consumation) so the fishing fleet can be increased further.

    God love ’em I can’t go without sushi, the Mofos.

    sop

  12. Shirley said: “No, really, WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP MORE?”

    In regard to New Orleans, don’t let them tell you Katrina destroyed our world because we are too stupid/crazy to know better than to live below sea level. Please always argue against these compound lies.

    Regarding other Katrina/Rita/Ike/Gustov damaged places, recognize that insurers blaming all damage on a storm’s surge is an evil greed driven conspiracy by some of the biggest companies in the world in an effort to cheat tens of thousands of their paying customers out of what they needed to recover from their losses. They know the damaging winds almost always arrive before the storm surge.

    And, justice in Louisiana and Mississippi seems different than the rest of the country. Maybe justice is phony everywhere.

    Shirley said: “Plz don

  13. CRESCENTCITY RAY: I’m so glad to hear that you love yourself the most and won’t do anything to hurt yourself !!

    And, of course, it’s common sense (for even us lay people) that:

    “They know the damaging winds almost always arrive before the storm surge.”

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  14. To Crescent City Ray: Depression is a terrible thing. However, it can be “medicated” which will allow you to cope, even though things may not change “situationally”. I recommend that you see a psychiatrist who can medicate you, if you haven’t already. What has “worked” for me is Paxil (controlled release) and a “knock-out drop” at bedtime, namely Remeron or the generic Mirtizapene. A good night’s sleep is VERY important for a person under stress. And remember: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! Don’t even think of that.

  15. Thank you Ashton. I am seeing a shrink and I do take my daily anti-depressent(s). I am coping more or less. I could be taking more meds, but based on experience with being that medicated, I wouldn’t be as capable of working. I wish my Dr. would prescribe me Xanax CR, but he won’t because it is an addictive narcotic. Xanax actually makes me feel no need to cry.

    Please don’t worry about me, personally. Please do continue to care about the large group of flood and insurance company victims that have been made disturbed or more disturbed by the events surrounding the storms.

    You see, its like this: us fruitcakes cannot organize and step forward and say ‘hey, here we are, a large group of citizens suffering damage by the USACE -and we’re turning especially crazy – THERE IS A BIG STIGMA. No one really likes being around crazy people. Insurance companies will drop you like a hot potato. Employers won’t touch you. Etc.

    I should no better than to publicly admit my biggest problem, but I have a knack for garnering sympathy in my writing and when I see cold-hearted jerks putting down NOLA and our recovery and even picking on the mentally ill, I cannot resist arguing about their ‘facts’ and try to shame them as I did in the Washington Post.

  16. I drove through Waveland yesterday for the first time since Katrina. I went to see my ex-in-laws ex-estate there. I looked and I looked and I looked. Finally, I saw the old driveway, the only recognizeable land mark of where it used to be. I drove through. The pilings were still there, the pool was still there. The beautiful home and guest house and pool house and garage+apartment building? All built with blood sweat tears and love — gone. The beautiful grounds — gone. It was very very sad. Very sad. And they are fighting their insurance company, too, of course.

  17. Actually Ray you are doing more good talking about it than you can imagine. As an employer I wouldn’t have a problem hiring anyone taking meds. Believe me and as Steve will attest the alternative is far worse as witnessed by an old friend of ours who was thankfully given a forced (but needed) vacation in the hospital.

    I know many people who took anti depressants after the storm, some still on the medication. I thank God for modern medicine and people like you who are willing to speak out.

    sop

  18. Bellesouth I am glad you drove through Waveland. You have been a big help after Katrina and we would be glad to meet you sometime if it works out.

    It was a pretty rare bird who didn’t have some type of breakdown after Katrina. One of the few people I know who didn’t was one of my sisters. The rest of the town broke down and turned to whatever means of coping, they could find. Our local liquor store won several state wide sales records after Katrina. The more fortunate found help from a Medical Doctor. One thing the so called hippie village or Rainbow Family did was provide several different alternatives to coping. They had traditional medical people, holistic healing folks, mid-wife’s, massage therapist and some type of roll your own tabacco program which turned out to be a very popular thing with the victims.
    But the thing which worked the best was the adoption of communial norms in our town. We all pulled together and moved forward leaving noone behind. Some left and well fuck them. But those who stayed were taken care of over in the Hancock County. No excuses or labels just help for those who needed it based on their needs not their labels. Worked for us and made us human again. Hope this helps. God bless all the volunteers who made us be able to rebuild our lives and our community.

  19. Also one more very important point. The first grace I got after Katrina was my life. A lot of people in my neighborhood died. Not thousands but more than I care to think about. I lived. I very much appreciate God for sparing my life. Then these people starting showing up out of nowhere to help us rebuild. We called them volunteers and I’ll be damned if they are not still coming down here working their ass off helping people every day of the week. Got to love it. Really, the insurance companies set up a situation where our Nation had to either be cold and inhumane or become a little more communal in its manner of dealing with problems. The defective insurance products they sold us lead to one heck of an outpouring of love in our Nation. It really is a thing of beauty if you look at it from the right perspective.

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