Up here we feel a bond with our older sister to the South. Legend has it that it started with Louis Armstrong, tired of the racist Jim Crow South, getting on a train in New Orleans and riding it to the end of the line, at Chicago. He was followed by wave after wave of migrants from the Delta, usually getting off at the old 63rd Street Station (nothing there but a church parking lot now). They brought with them the religion, food, dialect, and most famously music which came to define so much of what 20th Century Chicago. Passenger rail isn't so important anymore, but the railroad still forms a kind of steel umbilical cord tying Chicago to a region millions of its residents or their ancestors once called home.
A region which is currently enduring what must be the worst natural disaster this country has seen in my lifetime. Whole towns have been destroyed. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people have died. And our sister city to the South? Floodwaters laid seige last night, but her walls held for a time, even as the highway bridges spanning Lake Pontchartrain were swept away. But this morning the levees broke in three places, and most of the city is now underwater as the Army Corps of Engineers desperately struggle to full the gaps. At this point it's unclear what will remain of our beautiful sister, but it's clear the loss of life could be severe. We're not even dealing with dead bodies," Mayor Ray Nagin said. "They're just pushing them on the side."
I really have nothing insightful to add to all the horrible news you've doubtless already heard today, but it's on my mind and I felt like I had to say something on the day New Orleans fell. I haven't been there in years, not since my high school marching band joined a few Mardi Gras parades when I was 15, but it sure left an impression.
Wells, I hope you took pictures.
If I hear about anything we could do to help, I will post it here.