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New Waveland Cafe In Mississippi Still Going Strong!

New Waveland Digest

New Waveland West Rumors
VA Highway Patrol Entertains
Need New PA Gear and Soundman
Many Comings and Goings
New Waveland Clinic News

Howdy from the Rubble...

Word is that the Barefoot Drs Academy along with other experienced Rainbow crews are getting ready to set up in Washington Park in New Orleans. Still awaiting details, but the New Waveland Cafe will do everything it can to support this effort. More as this breaking REMA news develops.

Here at the New Waveland Cafe, we've been blessed by Eli Jones and his magical PA gear, which has come in very handy now that curfew has been moved back to 11pm. There's been music in the cafe at night and revolution in the air. This past evening, Jason--who comes to us courtesy of the Virginia Commonweatlth Highway Patrol--played a smokin set on acoustic guitar backed up up by Dr. David on drums, a guy with the word "Herb" displayed largely on the back of his shirt on percussion, Eli Jones on bass, and his father Jimmie Jones on lead guitar. I opened tonight's festivities and a local man named Wes played a set as well. Tonight was the second night Jason spent on the New Waveland Cafe Stage and we will miss him. Today was his last shift in Waveland. Bon Voyage, Jason.
Come back soon.

Alas, Eli and his PA system have to return to medical school on Friday morning. Both will be missed. The atmosphere is electric and it was a joy to see folks in Waveland enjoying themselves at the show. They're starting to come down just for the show.

So the New Waveland Cafe is now putting out the APB:
Also helpful: At least one guitar that plugs into a PA system,
SM 57 and 58 microphones, chords, stands.
A decent electric keyboard would also be a good thing.
Drums and other percussion instruments will also help.

There's nothing like a drum circle to bring a
community together. Lots of folks just get up
andjoin into the jam session. If they had
instruments before, they doin't have them now. This can be
nothing but a good thing for Waveland.

Let us know if you can help.

Eli is one of many difficult goings this week.
We learned recently that Leviticus, Theodora,
Daniel, and Amber all have pressing committments elsewhere.
We've been through a serious chapter in one anothers'
lives here. Friends you make here are friends for
life. I know how difficult it is to leave here. Many who
have left have returned. It's a joyful reunion.
Hopefully their absence will be temporary.

Organic Valley/CROPP in Wisconsin is sending
several volunteers to the the New Waveland Cafe next
week. Clovis's hometown in Wisconsin has also recently
sent us its second wave of High School students
volunteering at The New Waveland Cafe as part of
the YIHS program. Two of the students from the first
wave snuck into the second. One of them facilitated
our 8pm meeting two nights ago. Good kids. Hard
We anticipate a third wave next week.

Our medical unit has grown so large--now sporting
two MDs, several various types of nurses, a handful
of third year med students--they are now going out
into the communities seeking folks in need and
re-distributing supplies. Anyone without an MD
attached to their name heading this way should be
ready to help out in the Cafe as well. The ones
with MD better know an instrument.

We still need a trailer or other mobile building
to house our ever growing medical unit.

We've decided to expand our staff, so please call
if you wish to volunteer. It's starting to cool off
outside and things are getting a little more

But please, no children.

Beautiful Things are Happening in Waveland. I
wish I had time to tell more stories right now, but
it'll have to wait. Look for a long blog post about
how everyone bugged out during Rita--except
us--within the next day or so.

So for tonight's List:

1. PA System (with operator preferably)
2. Guitar(s) with internal pickup
3. Electronic keyboard
4. Mics, cables, stands, etc.
5. Drums & percussion instruments
6. Trailer for the medical team

Thanks for your Conitinuing Support
Arjay Sutton

Phone: (828) 280-6338
email:  newwavelandcafe@yahoo.com
Donations:  http://tinyurl.com/cqdky
forgot to add the blog link. 09.Oct.2005 11:08



And here's the latest from that blog, written the days leading up to Rita:

An Ill Wind Blows

How does it feel?
To be without a home
A complete unknown
With no direction out there alone
Like a Rolling Stone.
-Bob Dylan

It's already 8:39 and I still haven't tasted my first cup of coffee.

We're frantically listening to the local public radio station. We need an update on Rita's progress.

"The Associated Press reported this morning that New Orleans is again filling up with water." Today is Friday, September 23 and the winds from Rita have already chased the smart people from town. "The Army Corps of Engineers...BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP...." It's that screeching sound the radio makes when the Weather Service cuts into a local broadcast to issue an important and extremely local weather statement.

Our hearts stop. No one utters a sound, although a number of frightened faces have gathered in my bus in search of news of the monster Category 5 thrashing the Gulf of Mexico just 435 short miles to our south. Our internet connection went out sometime in the early morning. We can no longer see the storm's movement for ourselves. The slightest wobble accompanied by a classic dippity-do and Rita's on her way to add insult to annihilation here in the detritus of her older sister Katrina. And just us chickens down here with no evacuation route.

"BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP." Why can't they get on with it? The tension ratchets again.

Every time I venture into the wind, panicked eyes followed me. What's he doing? Does he look freaked out? Are we bugging out? But what about the people who can't leave, which is almost everyone but us? Katrina swept up every car in Waveland, drowned it, then deposited it without regard to make, model, year, or leather seats, heated mirrors, gas, diesel, or cooking oil notwithstanding, sometimes in a tree, other times in a pile of cars in a ditch or out in a field. Many of Waveland's cars are still here a month later...just where Katrina left them. Same with it's people.

There's a long pause on the radio. Do they plan that 15 seconds of dead air? Does it help to make us realize that the music's not playing anymore so we listen? I lived in a singlewide under a canopy of magnificent live oaks in Florida for a couple of years. I used to leave a weather radio monitoring. Many a good night's sleep ended in that 15 seconds because of a special marine statement somewhere in the Atlantic, 100 miles away.

* * * * * * *

I finally pass out at 4 am. The clouds are moving directly out of the east. So far, the Weather Service has issued only a coastal flood warning from Rita's six foot storm surge, a mere anthill compared to the Leviathan that wrought the destruction in our midst. The Cone says Rita will make landfall in Galveston, overtopping the seawall, washing over the entirety of the island, then sending a 20-foot storm surge up the Bay into the fourth largest city in America. The Texas evacuation becomes another man-made disaster. Everyone leaves except the people who don't have cars. Just like New Orleans. Which is underwater. Again. For the second time in 400 years. For the second time in two weeks. These are extraordinary times, indeed.

The northern-most track places Rita on the Louisiana-Texas border, according to the Cone. We should evacuate if she comes any closer than that. Still not even a tropical storm warning for the Mississippi coast. Just wind and rain. An eight foot storm surge would cut off our escape. The water's up to the edge of the road. We have no room for error. Five minutes late and we're all swimming out.

"THE FOLLOWING IS A SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN NEW ORLEANS." Nice to know the weather service is up and running in New Orleans. I guess I'm the Weather Service at the New Waveland Cafe. And I'm starting to freak.

I have no way to look at weather radar. Funny how we take it for granted and forget how recent a phenomenon weather radar for mass consumption is. I run outside to see the direction of the clouds. They've shifted overnight to the east-southeast. I accost an ambulance driver passing by. Rita has turned further north than anticipated. Everyone I see—even the Virginia cops who have just arrived at our torn-down Cafe—has the same quietly terrified nervous look.

The wind's been blowing around 30 mph since yesterday. Worse than the Arizona Gathering, but not quite as bad as Wyoming, where a mile-long bucket brigade defeated a crown fire that should have consumed hundreds of acres. (We held it to twelve). Nature ten million billion kajillion, humans 1. I used to say I could set a tarp in a 40 mph wind without any trees around. We did it in Tanque Verde Canyon in Arizona by tying ropes around rocks and wedging them into the cliff face nearby and setting a ridge line on a ten foot tall saguaro cactus skeleton I found lying on the ground nearby. A very sacred, long-lived creature, the saguaro. Here, we took the tents down to keep them from being damaged by high winds.

High winds create a tension that quickly turns into madness. I'm fascinated by the Great Arctic Explorers. I wonder how they maintain any sanity in the relentless wind. Perhaps it touches the part of us frightened by the enormity of the natural world in comparison to us puny humans. Perhaps we're just frightened as we witness Rita blowing Katrina's debris around the Fred's parking lot. And why has the National Weather Service office in New Orleans interrupted NPR?

"THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTY: HANCOCK IN MISSISSIPPI." That's our county. But it's a big county. It could be anywhere within a thirty mile square. The odds of it hitting us were minimal. A tornado is a tiger. A hurricane is a herd of elephants. At least they weren't issuing a hurricane warning.

* * * * * * *

The tornado outbreak of April 4, 1974 affected me deeply. In one day, over 300 tornados touched down, many of them F4s and F5s, from Texas to North Dakota to Pennsylvania to Georgia. I was a six-year-old living in suburban Cincinnati. I can still hear the sirens' wail as another one hit in a neighborhood nearby. It's the same sound that terrified children in London, Berlin, Hamburg, Rome, Moscow, Stalingrad, Kobe, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hanoi, Baghdad. Often after the siren wails, children lose their homes. Hurricanes allow for more time to evacuate. I hear the mayor himself joined emergency workers going door to door, persuading people to leave before Katrina. They saved a lot of lives I understand. Most of those who stayed died or remain missing five weeks later. The rest returned to find their neighborhoods missing.

I think about the effect these hurricanes are having on children. Tens of thousands of ordinary, normal white suburbanite children--much like this former six-year-old--slept comfortably on August 29 with certainty that they would sleep in the same bed in the same house for as long as they could imagine. What are the unforeseen effects as they return to neighborhoods that represent their only version of hard reality, smashed to pieces, houses uninhabitable, neighborhood scattered, friends gone, some dead.

On April 4, 1974 the town of Xenia was nearly wiped off the map by an F5 tornado, much like Waveland. An F4 tornado destroyed nearly every building in my father's apartment complex that day. He got a broken window. In my most recent recurring nightmare, I'm in a building in Miami watching hundreds of tornados dismantle the city. I always miraculously find shelter before the tornado swarm can catch me. I become that six-year-old again whenever there's a tornado warning in my area. I feel trapped and suffocated. I need to run. I need to get away from here. I need to find shelter before the tornado swarm can catch me. How many lifetime recurring nightmares has Katrina hatched in six-year-olds?

* * * * * * *


* * * * * * *

Every morning at nine, one of us goes to the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for a meeting between kitchens, food distribution operations, and the EOC. It happens in a classroom in Hancock County High School. We arrived Wednesday to Rita coverage on Fox News on the television. Rita's a strong Category 1. Still heading to south Texas, but will pass directly under us and freak everyone out.

Key West is doing all right. I imagine the scene on Roosevelt Blvd. where I parked my bus last spring, eight feet from the Florida Straits with a better ocean view than the finest $2500/night room on the island. Smathers Beach is probably deserted. But I bet some crazy people weathered it in a van. They show footage of Duval St. The shot pans onto the exact spot I spent two months last spring playing guitar on the street. I made sixty to a hundred bucks every night back in 1995 in the same spot. Twenty bucks was a good night in 2004. One couldn't help notice the abundance of homeless alcoholics coercively spanging (that's spare changing for those not familiar with the term) on Duval St., making it more and more difficult to make an honest living in Key West. No judgment and no solution offered. Just an observation. Key West has ridded itself of homeless people for the time being. It won't last. Must have something to do with that "southernmost" thing.

The AP ran a picture on Wednesday of a man standing at the Southernmost Point in the U.S., a geographical oddity 90 miles from Cuba I used to ride past on my bike from Smathers beach to Duval St. twice every night, hoping I wouldn't return to yet another $75 ticket for illegally parking my bus. Waves are small on Key West, due to what's left of the reef. Now there's a guy standing in front of ten-foot surf in Key West. Ripples compared to what pulverized the Mississippi Gulf Coast a few weeks before.

The meeting's over and Rita has strengthened into a Category 3 in the past hour. But my old (and probably future again someday) bicycling grounds. Hey, surf's up!

* * * * * * *

"THIS TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9:00 AM CENTRAL DAYLIGHT TIME." Twenty-one minutes. I can see every corner of Waveland from the top of my bus. I run outside, in disbelief and panic. Instinctively, I walk over to talk to the Virginia policemen who just arrived this morning, stationed at the entrance to the Fred's parking lot. They think the warning expired 39 minutes ago. The Virginia police are still on Eastern Time.

* * * * * * *

A large crowd had gathered in the classroom Thursday morning around Fox News coverage of Rita, now a monstrous Category 5 sitting directly atop the same spot as her older sister Katrina two days before permanently altering reality in Waveland and the rest of the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Mobile. The tension was building. Everyone had his or her pet prediction for landfall. I kept pointing to a spot in Cameron Parish where the storm would pummel a 20-mile swath of swamp instead of the most populous portions of the entire Gulf Coast.

Nothing protects the Mississippi coast except prayers. No swamps. No barrier islands. No reefs. Just beach with no dunes with houses (some of them Antebellum) built less than a hundred feet from the ocean. What now remains of those houses will saturate several landfills. The locals believed the railroad tracks and the six-foot levy they were built upon would protect them. And it did, until one day in August. And now another behemoth lurked in the 90-degree waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the same waters flambéed three weeks before by Katrina, ready to pounce. The meeting Thursday was ordinary. No one mentioned bugging out. We talked about kitchen stuff as usual. But everyone was edgy.

* * * * * * *

"PEOPLE IN THE PATH OF THE STORM SHOULD SEEK SHELTER IN A BASEMENT OR SHIELDED INTERIOR ROOM." I ask the Virginia police where they think we should take shelter if we see a tornado bearing down on us. They suggest the ditch on the east side of the parking lot. The one filled with gawd awful toxic sludge. I guess it's better than a 2" x 4" to the head at high speed.

I can't handle this. I'm leaving. I could use a vacation! I need to do my laundry! After all, everyone else did it. I have one of the only houses left standing in Waveland after Katrina. I can't place my home in the path of destruction. If we become victims, someone will have to rescue us. It's the Sensible Thing To Do. The Good People of Waveland will just have to eat MREs for a day or so. We're leaving.

I jump into the driver's seat and turn the key. "CLICK...TICK TICK TICK TICK." My battery is dead.

COMING SOON: The Tornado Lounge