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August 29, 2006

Oriental Rugs and dog gumbo

Oriental Rugs, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

Standing the the doorway, a hardcore holdout who stayed behind to protect his store after Hurricane Katrina. In the foreground, my colleague Julie.


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I saw that storefront last October when I was in New Orleans for an evening of R&R.

Some people just care about their property more than about their life.

Alon, my first instinct when I heard that NOLA people were staying in their homes was the same as yours. Either that, or to assume that they were crazy anti-authoritarian stubborn.

However, after what I saw, I came to respect, if not necessarily share, the perspective of some of the hardcore evacuation refuseniks.

To be fair, I think some people correctly anticipated the conditions under which Katrina evacuees would housed. To give you some idea, I don't have pictures from the convention center in Baton Rouge because the guys with guns patrolling the aisles with guns wouldn't let me. Literally. It was scary.

The people in the shelters were locked in like criminals and fully armed soldiers walked in between people's cots. It was scary even to visit. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be detained there, especially knowing that if you did anything to piss off the authorities, you could be turfed out without the right to return to your real home (dry or not) because the entire area was under martial law and residents were barred.

If I had real equity in a home or a business, I would have thought twice about leaving it to the care of the indifferent authorities and disembarking to live like a criminal refugee in one of the relief centers.

Well, that makes sense, obviously. But wouldn't a guy who has his own business have either enough money to leave the area entirely and go live in a motel, or a big enough social network to live with a close friend or family member?

Alon, no offense intended, of course, but does it look like that dude's "Oriental Rugs" shop was really raking it in hand over fist to begin with?

omg, thats really crazy. I work for a persian oriental rugs shop myself. I would have done the same, its just not about leaving.

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