Report From Not Ground Zero

Jim Cantore being an idiot pretending he can't stand while someone does a cartwheel behind him. Never watch national coverage of a hurricane.

Hi all, thanks for all your concern for us Louisianians. The picture of Ida in Southern Louisiana is starting to come into focus and I thought I’d update you from what I know, and also provide some suggestions for places to direct donations if you are feeling donationy. (I am in Ft. Worth so listening to the reports of people I know and local leaders). First off, if you don’t hear from Violet or anyone else in NOLA, don’t panic – communication is difficult right now and they have to conserve power. It’s also bad etiquette to blow up people’s phones right now. If you haven’t heard from or about someone you know outside of New Orleans where the situation is more dire, you can DM me and I’ll see if I can find reports specifically on their area or if anyone can go check on them.

New Orleans

It looks like New Orleans fared OK, all things considered. Little if any flooding – which is a giant damn surprise since we flood in regular afternoon storms these days. No levee failures, which we actually did expect to go well because they have been really improved since Katrina. And actually we are all feeling so damn good that the new levees were stress tested basically with a stronger clone of Katrina and passed. It seems that wind was the big culprit and the damage is going to come from downed trees, torn up roofs, etc. This can still result in big mold issues but they come from rain and humidity rather than flood waters. As of now they are making the major roads passable but many of them are closed to the public. Anyone evacuating in the aftermath is having to take some weird routes. Otherwise the city just looks like it rained plants. Photos from my friends:

Uptown New Orleans
Olive the Dog Pooping in the Lower Garden District, New Orleans

There are 8 major lines that bring power into New Orleans metro area and they all went down – something no one predicted. They are saying it could be weeks on power restoration. Hopefully they can get it faster for the hospitals etc. There are a lot – I mean A LOT of people who could not evacuate – it is extremely expensive, requires everyone to be able to take a long road trip which doesn’t work for medically vulnerable people, and in this case, the storm intensified so quickly they flat out did not have the time to implement an evacuation. So the situation there with the lack of resources is going to be critical.

Outside New Orleans

If you are seeing reports of attic rescues and failed levees, this is outside New Orleans. The good news there is that it’s much less populated and also they did manage to evacuate many of these areas (one of the logistical issues with evacuation is they have to get the southern parishes out before they can evacuate New Orleans. So they did marginally better with that part than NOLA). The bad news is these people are very very fucked. There are suburbs of New Orleans that don’t usually have flood threats who were devastated. It’s possible that might make gas prices nationwide plummet then rise quickly – keep an eye on that for your own benefit.

We want all of you outside of us to be cognizant of this – the national media will focus on New Orleans, be disappointed they don’t get to show Katrina scale footage of damage in a major city, and move on. They did it already with southwest Louisiana who experienced two major hurricanes last year (one of which is tied with Ida as the strongest to ever hit the state). It’s impossible to know right now, but they estimate SW Louisiana lost 20% of their population permanently. I am now wondering what that looks like for the parts of SE Louisiana outside our federal levee system.

Photo from a friend in Lafitte, Louisiana (much of her town took a lot of water but look at this tree!!!)


If you or anyone you know is looking to help, these are really good places to send your money. National organizations like the Red Cross spend a lot of money on PR and overhead, and many of them are not good at getting people what they need quickly.


The Cajun Navy shows up before the strongest military in the world (and with more boats) to rescue their people from attics and flood waters. The floods have not receded in many of the hardest hit places and this is still underway.


Culture Aid NOLA, Southern Solidarity, and Feed the Second Line are feeding people in New Orleans right now. Even though they didn’t see that level devastation, power being out and people being poor means everyone is going to be hungry. It’s also where a lot of refugees from the southern parishes landed.

World Central Kitchen is feeding people all over the area.


Imagine Water Works is performing mutual aid all over the region, targeting the most vulnerable people. They use organizational skills to connect people with other people to get all non monetary needs met (a typical way this looks is they would say “looking for a wheelchair and dog food” and they’d find someone who can provide).

This is going to sound sketchy to outsiders but this person is a well known and respected activist who spends time just getting cash to people through her unorganized organization Forever Calcasieu. She usually focuses on SW Louisiana (hence the name) but has pivoted. Follow her Twitter for ways you can get cash in the hands of desperate people immediately.


Um we have to fucking deal with this shit, so the environmental groups RISE St. James, Gulf South for a Green New Deal, and Louisiana Bucket Brigade are good places to start. As the remnants of Hurricane Ida head toward New York, remember that if we can’t get Louisiana to get its shit together, you are all fucked by this eventually.


I’ve never felt so cared about as I have in the past few days. My husband and I are basically in the best possible situation and we are so lucky for it. We evacuated to my family in TX where we can stay comfortably and indefinitely for free with our pets. Since they don’t know when power is coming back on, that is important.

We were in the process of moving to a new house and our stuff is there but we weren’t living there yet – the house is owned by my friend who will be living in the other side of it. Because of her job she cannot evacuate, and managed to call me to tell me everything is fine. So now we do not have to choose between comfort and survival (staying in TX) and salvaging our belongingings. It is a big relief. We can just wait for power or when my husband has to go back to work, whichever comes first. In our part of the city, the only real concern was if you were unlucky enough for debris to break a window or for a tree to fall on your house. Looks like the only casualty was our grill that got thrown around the yard (it’s huge so this is impressive) and the food in our fridge which my friends need anyway so they’re going to cook it up and eat it.

Thanks everyone! @myopicprophet, thanks for checking in on me. And sorry about any formatting issues, I’m on an iPad and also it’s been a while haha.



  1. Thanks so much for the update. I’m glad you were able to evacuate and that you have a home to return to. That’s wonderful news. 
    I know a lot of folks on GT2 are worried about what’s going on in Louisiana. I offered the link you posted earlier this week and credited you for telling us about it. I don’t know if you have a disqus account, but if so would you be willing to post this link so everyone could get reasonable coverage of what’s happening there? If not, would it be okay if I shared it with them and on BackTalk as well? 

    • Post this everywhere you want! I don’t have a disqus and my technology situation where I am isn’t great (bad internet at my grandma’s haha) so I have limited tolerance for it haha and won’t be jumping through hoops.  I responded on your comment on the DOT but Violet probably can’t get on a web page right now and is relying on other forms of communication – if you know anyone outside New Orleans that is more concerning though. 

    • ALSO I guarantee you she has a network of ppl who knew where she was for the storm (if she was alone she might have hunkered down with a friend). If something happened, people are able to get around and someone has checked in on her if they couldn’t hear from her by phone. That is what everyone does – checks in beforehand so you know where your people are. I have several friends yesterday who just went around to find people they hadn’t heard from. So there are neighbors and ppl EVERYWHERE, in this situation strangers help each other. She won’t be alone if she needs something. 

  2. Glad you’re OK and this is a really informative piece, better than a tin of news reports . It’s interesting to read the shade toward the media, but understandable — it’s nutty how badly their tropes and conventions get in the way of conveying big events, and how they just can’t think about how to fix them.

    • I’m glad this is helpful. The national media is very bad at covering these things – probably every kind of natural disaster. They are producing a story for outsiders, and while you get some info they focus on the people in crisis or the idiot who wants to say something stupid in order to write a narrative. Always follow local news in the area if you are concerned because they are talking to the people who are going through the situation. I wrote this because I also know it’s hard to get a sense of logistically just what things are LIKE in the moment. 

      We really hate the “stand in wind and scream” model and you will never see our local reporters doing it because frankly 1) if the wind is newsworthy I guarantee you no human is standing in it so they are exaggerating if it looks like that and 2) the survival story is the aftermath but it doesn’t make good TV. 

      • I honestly think the aftermath survival story can make great TV, but it requires more than dropping off a crew for fifteen minutes in a location and holding out a mic. You need to assign a crew to somebody interesting and follow them around for a while, then run a longer segment than the usual 90 second bit.
        On a story like a refinery explosion you can excuse a TV station for sticking to the old model because they’re trying to move on a dime. But with hurricanes there’s time for a station to prep beforehand, and since the recovery is bound to take some time, they have time to edit after.  There is no need to stick to a prepared narrative because the time pressure is so much less.
        But instead they feel the need to go to the flooded parking lot and show the partially submerged cars like they do every single time.

    • Metairie is in a slightly worse situation than New Orleans but unless this person is specifically vulnerable without power (unable to afford to stock up on supplies, medically vulnerable in the heat, etc), only worry is bad luck about trees falling and what not. If you have their address or general neighborhood and want to DM it to me, I’ll post in all my channels and see if I can get answers. I know a lot of people who live in Metairie or have family there but I’m not sure who’s around and who’s not.  

    • Oh and FYI Metairie is mostly inside the federal levee system like New Orleans, which is very good. Kenner is more outside of it and is having a very bad time, but sometimes ppl less familiar with the area don’t differentiate between Kenner and Metairie so if you are seeing scary stuff it very well may actually be Kenner. 

  3. Thibodaux is one of the places of great concern – south of New Orleans and very close to where landfall happened. I wish I had better news for you but it’s really hard to find people right now, because of communication and travel issues. It doesn’t necessarily mean the worst, but it does mean we all freak out worrying about people for a while. If you don’t know that your Oppo friend stayed, chances are they  evacuated because people down there take this shit seriously and are also prioritized for evac and most of them got out successfully. If they did stay, still there are very very few confirmed casualties at the moment and according to the Parish they are letting ppl back in today which means conditions are manageable for survivability and also that they’ve got officials and orgs mobilized now. So that is good news. I think the best thing you can do to track the situation there is try to keep up with Lafourche Parish news. With the small towns the resources and directives come from the Parish and not the town officials. They are covered by the New Orleans news orgs so I suggest keeping up with either WWLTV, WDSU (TV stations) or WWNO (NPR). Here is the latest I found:

    The Parish government is not updating their social media well but the sherriff’s office is:

    I wish I could tell you more ❤️

      • Ugh I’m sorry to hear that. I will post to my networks to see if I can find out more about Thibodaux specifically and update you if I learn anything. If you happen to know his specific location you can DM me but I assume you don’t. 

        • i do not…theres a couple more or less local oppos also trying to get in touch…but well…if powers out and cell coverage is dead….its a bit of a lost cause
          nothing to do but wait
          but again thank you 🙂

          • Yeah try to be patient. Even in the best case scenario he can’t get in touch with you. When you do hear from him, try to bully him into giving y’all a venmo or something and just send him cash 🙂

          • OK this is from a reporter who just answered me on Twitter.

              • Yes it is VERY good because storm surge is a concern in that area. I’ll let you know things as I learn them. I know a lot of people concerned about relatives in that general area so hopefully now that they’re letting people in we’ll learn more. 

  4. I’m glad you are safe. Hope the area recovers quickly.  At least some of the lessons from Katrina were learned.
    Thanks for the info I made the mistake of donating to the US Red Cross after 9/11 and Katrina (fool me twice…)

  5. Nice to hear from you again! Glad you’re safe, and appreciate the links — always prefer to give to mutual aid/local orgs vs. the big national funds that do diddly squat.

    I’m lucky in that I’ve heard from my only NOLA friend and other than being without power, she’s safe and sound and her neighborhood didn’t take too bad a hit (other than she and her boyfriend were out with a chainsaw removing some trees from the road today). 

    • I was unable to finish this comment because I was at work and got distracted so I posted as is.

      Your comment on the NOT last night was more than I expected as I fully intended, with your permission, to update everyone on your behalf.

      The fact that you took the time, considering everything you and your loved ones are going through, to write an entire (and very informative) post is well beyond my expectation to the point that it is admirable.

      I think it would be fair to thank you on behalf of DS as a whole rather than just myself.

      Speaking for myself, I’ll never stop bugging you. @helloamerica-arewedeadnow You’re family.

      • Thank you, I know I’m flaky but it feels good to be looked in on. FWIW hurricane aftermath is usually just a time of boredom so I had plenty of time to write it (even if i am mostly on phone right now haha). 

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