Monday, July 31, 2006

Katrina Dinner

This is a splendid idea:

A memorial supper on the anniversary of Katrina for still-distant New Orleans refugees. It's based on the form of the Jewish Passover seder, with some distinctive New Orleans touches. Menus and New Orleans-themed playlist included.

People actually in New Orleans could do it too.

This is way better than a "Diamond and Platinum Gala" and a phony jazz funeral.

Memento Mori it's not.

Recently City Hall announced its plans for the official city remembrance of Katrina at the one year anniversary. (I found it via Wet Bank Guide. )

Some of it is appropriate, like a prayer breakfast and the laying of wreaths at the canal breaches. But a lot of it is a tacky-sounding, conventionesque spectacle based at, of all places, Harrah's Casino.

  • A silent jewelry auction?
  • Cooking demonstrations by Emeril?
  • A talent competition?
  • A "gala ball" at Harrah's for Diamond and Platinum ticket holders?

And maybe worst of all, a One New Orleans Parade "in the tradition of a Jazz Funeral" from (shudder) the Convention Center to the Superdome.

I get what Nagin et al are trying to do with this. They are trying to create a tourist spectacle, trying to show that NOLA is still open for business.

But I think this is exactly the wrong approach. The one-year anniversary is not a tourist spectacle, not some twisted version of Mardi Gras. It should be for us, the survivors, the people. Not the tourists.

When they are still finding dead bodies in the Lower Ninth, when people still cannot live in their own houses a year later, when Gentilly and NO East have no phone service and spotty electricity, the idea of a "diamond and platinum gala" is offensive and inappropriate.

"In the tradition of a jazz funeral?" Why not a real, honest to God Jazz Funeral? A funeral for the missing and presumed dead. A funeral for the New Orleas that was.

Friday, July 28, 2006

GA Journal

My professors, and articles in the library literature, advise me to keep a journal of my activities during my assistantship, or any pratica, so that I will remember them later, when it comes time to update my resume.

So here it is, my GA Journal. The blog seems as good a place as any. I will update it as conditions require.

  • Assisted with the development of Tiger Tail, an information literacy tutrial.
  • Compiled statistics on class and instructional session attendance for the Instructional Committee.
  • Assisted patrons at the reference desk, conducted reference interviews, located information resources, provided bibliographic instruction on the Libraries' webpage, the OPAC, and subscription databases.
  • Proofread and fact-checked a journal citation exercise for one of the Instructional libraians.
  • Created a bibliography for an article two of my librarians are co-writing.
  • Searched Yankee Book Peddler and downloaded order lists to add to the "Recent Acquisitions" pages on the Library website.
  • Assisted a librarian with a One-Shot bibliographic instruction session for Geography graduate students.
  • Helped the Chemistry Liaison evalaute some old videos on lab technique for possible inclusion in the collection.
  • Graded two sections worth of papers for one of the instructional librarians from the basic information literacy class.
  • Created a new form for archiving the results of user statisfaction surveys which follow up on our one-shots.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Road Home

Tonight I watched a show on LPB, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, about "The Road Home," the Louisiana Recovery Authority's home-rebuilding plan. Governor Blanco was on the panel, as well as Walter Leger, head of the LRA's Housing Task Force. (Here's the website to the show here.)

I'm glad I watched it because I learned that there should be assistance options even for people who think they don't qualify, because their insurance paid out fairly. Simply put, the LRA is covering people up to 150,000 dollars, minus whatever your insurance pays. So if, like me, you owned a modest house that was destroyed, even with a full insurance payout you might still earn an LRA grant to help you rebuild or relocate. There are also low-interest loans available. Once you register with the LRA, a financial counselor will call you to discuss your options. "There will be 123,000 different solutions," Walter Leger said, alluding to the 123,000 owner-occupied homes destroyed by Katrina and Rita.

So, even if you thought you wouldn't get anything, you should still register with the Louisiana Recovery Authority. You never know. The intent is to rebuild, after all.

You can register online. Here is the Road Home program's website: .

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Kirsten 2.0

I am a Hurricane Katrina survivor. When I lost my job, my home, and indeed my city in August 2005, I decided to go back to graduate school, and get the degree I had been putting off for years. When you don't know what to do, you go to graduate school, right? So I'm studying library science, working toward my MLIS, Master's of Library and Information Science, and looking forward to my first professional library job.

In his current "Internet Librarian" column in American Libraries (it's here), Joseph Janes mentioned in a discussion of the "Library 2.0" concept, that the ALA Annual convention was upcoming "in New Orleans, a city coming to terms with a 2.0 of its own." This analogy stunned me with its appropriateness. New Orleans 2.0. That's it, that's what it is. The same entity, but a new iteration. It'll never be the same.

And I realized I was living a 2.0 of my own. Here I am: new city, new job, new apartment, back in school, living on my own really for the first time in my life, husband still back in NOLA, and me, alone, fending for myself. A whole new life that I never imagined, and didn't want. Yet here it is. Same woman, new world. Kirsten 2.0.

So, a new blog for the new life. Here I will post my thoughts on my studies in the field of library science, as well as developments in the recovery of New Orleans. Even at a distant remove it is still vitally important to me.

I still cry often. I mourn for the dead, for the city ruined, for all the waste and tragedy. Get over it? I can't. Hurricane Katrina is a part of me now. You never "get over" something like that. You learn to live with it, which is not the same.

Reinstall and reboot. K2.0. That's what it is.