Saturday, September 3

ABRAM HIMELSTEIN'S "IN EXILE" BLOG

For those of you looking to get past the redundant 24/7 news coverage of and overweening political commentary on the Hurricane Katrina disaster and the government's (local, state, and federal) halting response to it, and instead find one of the hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast victims to give you some personal insight and perspective into the disaster, then may I recommend to you Abram Himselstein's blog, "In Exile," that the "Houston Chronicle" (registration required) is publishing and to that newspaper's credit, I should add. Indeed, the Chronicle's coverage of this devastating natural catastrophe, and particularly its reports of how Houston, Harris County, and the Lonestar State (and many of its cities and towns) have responded to this calamitous disaster, have been comprehensive.

Mr. Himelstein writes of the "Bayou City" (i.e., Houston, TX):

Third is the way that Houston has asked what we needed and given. And given. My mother-in-law, who arrived here in 1967 with eight dollars, tells the crew of eight that she has fed and housed and consoled that if there is one thing that Houston is good at, it is coming to the aid of those in need.

So we want you to know we are grateful.

He continues:

Something that is not much on our minds: the stuff. Not even the houses matter. Most of us don't know for sure how much of our stuff is gone. And when I say stuff, I don't mean the electronics and clothing. I mean the only copy of a picture of my great-grandfather holding me. I mean the best Mardi Gras Indian Suit Buck ever made. I mean the documents and treasures of our lives. But even those things aren't on our minds much. We want our people.

We want information, news of their safety. We want to find out how our best friends are doing. We want to find out how our parents are doing. we want to find out how our grocer is doing.

When we know about our people we will begin to mourn our losses. And then we will rebuild, reweave, improve. But until then we are operating on half a brain.

We want our people. A poignant reminder to us all that Hurricane Katrina's aftermath is a staggering human tragedy of epic (some say biblical) proportions.

FOLLOW-UP: Here is another blog -- the "DomeBlog" -- being published by the "Houston Chronicle." This will provide insights on and glimpses into how the evacuees are doing inside the Reliant Astrodome -- the huge facility here in Houston where many from the New Orleans Superdome were bused to.