August 30th: Thanks for all emails and attempted calls. Susanne, Uma Rae and I made it safely out of New Orleans on Saturday afternoon in advance of Hurricane Katrina. We are staying with JoAnne Prichard Morris in Jackson, MS. We have no power or running water, but at least we have a roof over our heads. Phone service is spotty, but the number is here 601-354-9716. I have my cell phone, but you can't get through to New Orleans. Email is currently the best way to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep us in your thoughts, but also our friends and all of the people still stranded in New Orleans as the flood waters continue to rise. Peace,
David Rae, Susanne, and Uma Rae!
UPDATE: September 1st.
First of all, thanks to all of our wonderful friends who have emailed their concerns and love. We have received offers to come stay in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, California, Hawaii, and even Germany. We're still living without power in Jackson, but at least we finally have running water. We have accounted for many of our friends, but are still waiting for word on others. Nola.com has a been a great resource for locating people and getting information. Someone posted a satelite image of the city from yesterday and it seemed to confirm some good news: our neighborhood, the Bywater appears to be one of the few places in the city that is actually NOT under water. The street in front of our house seems to be dry. My studio, located in the 1000 block of Desire Street seems to have some water, but not substantial enough to represent a total loss. And even better: I keep most of my important negatives an papers in a safe deposit box at the Whitney Bank on the corner of Poydras and Camp Streets. The two boxes I have are about 5 1/2 feet off the ground. Based on the satelite images, this intersection is dry too. Now that's not to say that there wasn't water in the streets during the storm, or that the roof of with either of my houses wasn't blown off, or that the looters won't break in and ravage the place, but it is a glimmer of hope, for me, in a situation that has become almost unimaginable. On the other hand, who knows when we'll be able to return to check. The mayor has declared that it will be 12-16 weeks before residents can return. It will take years for New Orleans to recover. But recover we must. If anyone wants to send care packages, especially for Uma Rae, the address here is:
c/o JoAnne Prichard Morris
Jackson, MS 39202
Thanks again for your love and support. Keep those emails coming.
UPDATE: September 7th.
The emails continue to roll in from all around the world. The care packages have just begun to arrive (seven boxes today): clothes, toys, bears, and even Macadamia nuts (Thanks Hilary!). We're amazed by your generosity and support. At the same time we realize that there are people who have been hit far worse by this catastrophe. Anything you have sent that we can not use will be donated to the local relief effort.
New satellite images continue to confirm that the Bywater is largely dry. In the more detailed pictures we can actually see our house. Except for a small discoloration on the roof, which may or may not be significant, everything seems largely intact. Nevertheless, it has been a tough week as we grasp the enormity of what has happened. We have finally accounted for almost all of our missing friends. We've moved into a garage apartment temporarily, and may put Uma Rae into Montessori school in the mornings. David Rae made two trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to cover the damage. I went to Biloxi and Gulfport on one trip and to Bay St. Louis and Waveland over the weekend. The landscape is devastated. Waveland is simply gone. I will post some pictures soon, but look for my byline in Thursday's New York Times, in the Home Section.
David Rae has been contemplating a trip back into New Orleans all week. Our friend David Blumenfeld flew in from Israel last week. He and I did some work together over the weekend, and he drove into the city today. He called a while ago and said the entire scene is surreal. With the mayor of New Orleans ordering the force evacuation of the city, the situation can only get stranger. Stay tuned.
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