$$$ to blog???

Pasting this in from the Chronicle’s Wired Campus Newsletter:

Sometimes Blogs Just Ain’t Enough: It’s fast becoming old hat for colleges to use student-penned blogs as admissions tools, but give the University of Dayton credit for trying to keep the tactic fresh. Campus officials have managed to cram a few more high-tech fillips onto their admissions Web site: Their student blogs are now available as RSS feeds and podcasts. The six students who post to Dayton’s slick-looking blog site make out pretty well: Each gets $500 a semester as long as he or she puts up one new post every week. To read more about student blogs as recruiting tools, see an article from The Chronicle, by Dan Carnevale.

One post a week?!?!??!! Doctor Daisy might have to move to Dayton!


more metablogging

After a day of writing about blogs and somehow still not finished, I just visited Joe Trippi’s site and read about this blog and this book: BLOG!: How the Newest Media Revolution is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture

On the Blog SIG listserv, Clancy’s been sharing some good links to “The perfect blog entry” and Lifehacker’s guide to weblog comments.

Kairos has a new Fall issue out with an article on “Blogging Places: Locating Pedagogy in the Whereness of Weblogs,” which I really like for its emphasis on place.

And speaking of places I’d rather be, I can’t stop daydreaming about running away, then climbing, to my happy place.


word from Heather

Great news just in from my Texan friend:

Obviously, the worst of the storm missed Galveston but we were still a bit nervous about wind damage. Our talented artist friend, Ellie, stayed in Galveston and was kind enough to send us a text message today to let us know that our “house is fine, front and back.” She is our hero right now, for now we can rest easy and relax a bit before figuring out when and how to get back home.



4:47 P.M. – London Avenue Canal levee breached; six to eight inches of water in Gentilly neighborhood.

This is the one that caused the 10-feet of water to rise on my street last time. I’ve already had nightmares about returning to my mold-infested house. Why is it getting worse by the minute?????


here we go again

OK I managed to get my academic focus back and will force myself to keep it all weekend now that I’ve been given a deadline for the blog article, but also just heard word that the levees in NOLA have broken again.

Refreshing the WWL-TV blog throughout the day.

And I’m pasting in portion of an email from my Texan friend Heather who had been the one person keeping me sane during Katrina. I hate that she is going through this now, especially only weeks away from her wedding.

I just wanted to let eveyone know that David and I are safe in Austin. We will most likely lose our house seeing as we live only two blocks from the beach and we are about a quarter of a mile east of the seawall.
I had planned on being in Austin Tuesday anyway because I had an appointment with a chef about a wedding cake. To be on the safe side I loaded up the car with pictures, important documents, a suitcase of clothes, and our dog. David was still at work at UTMB and was going wait and see what the storm did. Needless to say, yesterday was just torture. Thehospital wouldn’t let him leave and put him to work getting the critical patients out and into ambulances. All of the phones were busy so I couldn’t get a hold of him. Yesterday the storm was a category 5, so I was pretty frantic. My sister’s stepmom emailed me last night and said she was sending a plane to Galveston to pick up David this morning. At about 9 last night I was able to get through to David to let him know that he needed to be at the airport in the morning. He said it was a very sad and eerie feeling being the only person in the neighborhood and knowing that would be that last night he spent in our home.
The important thing is that DAVID IS HERE WITH ME IN AUSTIN AND IS SAFE. We are staying with my friend Dana for now. Hopefully our island will be okay and we can go home next week. If not, we will most likely head west to El Paso and stay with my parents for a while. We’ll see. Day by day.

Jeezy Chreezy! Lovely Rita just came on the I-pod?!?!?!??!?


Can't focus

So I’m sick now. Sinus pressure everywhere. Had to take the day off work today, even though the editing list is still over 200. I also had to withdraw from a class today for the first time ever. Cannot concentrate for the life of me. The first day of school was the day Katrina hit–I am so far behind and more and more distracted everyday with trying to keep track of all my friends and their emotional well-beings. That’s more important to me than editing reports and grading papers.

My parents are leaving me tomorrow for our house in Picayune, MS where they plan on re-starting. And once they can get back to NOLA to assess the damage, they will go. I wish I could be there with them, because it won’t be pretty, and I’d hate for them to see all of that alone. With another storm coming, there is a chance more water will flood the city after it’s just been drained. It seems none of those pumping stations have worked well for years…It’s just too much to deal with. I want to run away and hide, but I know I can’t.

Going to try and write that article for Joyce. Wish me luck and if anyone has any tips for how to focus in times of disaster, feel free to share. At least I can dedicate some of my research to the sites created in response to the Hurricane as well as how the media has handled things (See this from Jeff Jarvis on the latter.)
Also Jim wrote about some of those spaces, whic he refers to as “emerging responsibility,” and CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on Craig Newmark yesterday.



Another great find from the Online Communities and Identities directed study group–chronicling the edits made to the wikipedia page on the London bombings.

Here is another video I just found on MN Stories about a paramedic’s 7 days in NOLA.

And speaking of MN, I’ve been meaning on posting/gushing about how perfect of a boyfriend AC is. 😉 I am so overwhelmed with the job and school work and publications (and I know I should have finished the latter before the semester started but then that bi-otch Katrina distracted me), but that darlin’ boy keeps me sane by advising me to finish one thing at a time. And we FINALLY saw the Penguins last night! Yay!!!!


links a plenty

Finally getting to some teaching and reading so I won’t write long, but had to put these links up for future reference:

1. NPR’s Katrina Web Log
2. Bloggers Blog’s Katrina and the Blogs
3. Another New Orleans Flood Map, which says that my street is under 1o-feet of water. 🙁
4. Dave Winer’s blog with links to video of Dick Cheney getting heckled
5. A New Orleans Metroblog post with Chris Rose’s letter to America from New Orleans and links to Cafe Press’s merchandise with the image below

BTW: Chris Rose’s letter couldn’t be more true and makes me so glad I don’t have cable. I’ve barely watched any footage of this whole thing, only have read about it. All I see/hear in the maintstream media is the negative and highlighting the worst of the worst in both the politicians and citizens of NOLA. But in the past 24 hours I have spoken to friends who have ventured back into the city with quite optimistic views. Yes, it’s a disaster, but we will rebuild and it will be better than before. And we will NOT Manhattanize or Disney-fy the place known best for its southern decadence. I close with Chris Rose’s words:

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces.

But don’t pity us. We’re gonna make it. We’re resilient. After all, we’ve been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That’s got to count for something.


Ballet Teacher Found in Houston

I posted a few days ago about my ballet teacher Gayle and that she was now the only person I knew of that stayed in NOLA. After days of no news, I was forwarded this email of her “odyssey.” The writer of the email is a woman named Olga who is quite a character and proclaimed “impresario of dance.” I helped her draft a grant proposal once and it was amazing how much she knows about the history of ballet and its origins. Enjoy the read! 🙂

Gayle endured the hurricane well and had running water until Tuesday. Then the water began to rise, and she was without power or water. Her elderly landlord and two other elderly people in her apartment house came up to her apartment to escape the rising waters. Eventually the apartment house had 4 feet of water on the first floor. .

Wednesday she began to be worried. She could hear some shooting in the distance and it was not pleasant at night when it was pitch dark. However, they did have bottled water, food, cat food and candles.

Thursday morning she sat on the balcony and Juan Park, a man on a bycicle, passed by trying to rescue people. Gayle pointed out that by sheer miracle there was a skiff left by the wind on her back yard (!!!). Mr. Park used said boat to get Gayle out to St. Charles. They located her car, safe and dry in the Loyola parking lot. Knowning that they could leave the city, they went back to the house (on the skiff) and picked up the other 3 persons and her cat Chabukiani, and brought them back to St. Charles where they boareded Gayle’s car. They drove on St. Charles (the lake side of St; Charles) and went down Webster Street. Then they went on Tchoupitoulas (or Magazine, I do not remember which one) and took the bridge to Baton Rouge. This was the only road open (on to the the West Bank). When they arrived in Baton Rouge the other persons were met by family or by the Jewish Relief agency. Gayle and Chabukiani were offered a very confortable room for Thursday night by a lady that had heard Gayle tell the story. (The lady works at a Law Firm.) The next morning she drove to Houston, without misshaps, and has been at Hiller ‘s since then.

I told her how people in three continents had been frantic about her. She thanks us all for the prayers and thinks that it was our prayers that sent the two good samaritans to her.



Ok, yet another reason to be annoyed as hell with FEMA. I’m trying apply online for my parents [via my Mac Powerbook] and got this message:

In order to use this site, you must have JavaScript Enabled and Internet Explorer version 6.
Download it from Microsoft or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to register.




At work and trying to get outta here but wanted to update the blog with a few tidbits and links:

I’ve been wondering how NOLA’s former WWL-TV weatherman, David Bernard, was reacting to everything and found this report in the Miami Herald.

Got in touch with my friend Paul and he and his whole family are in Houston. But a few of them snuck into NOLA the other day to save their dog. They waded through waist-high water and got the pup. Paul’s Uptown house had a basement, quite rare in NOLA, which was flooded, but the upper floors were fine. His parents lived in devastated St. Bernard parish and even with their house being under 30-feet of water, FEMA denied their claim. What the hell??? All he told me was that the rep said it was there was sufficient damage?!?! Oh this is not going to be fun…but at least I read this: 12:15 P.M. – FEMA Director Mike Brown is being removed from his oversight role of the mission in New Orleans and being sent back to Washington.
Lara had already told me that she was annoyed FEMA didn’t have an office set up in Louisiana and that everyone she knew was driving to TX and MS to get their checks, and today I hear that the $2000-promises are only going to those in the Astrodome. What a mess.

The fact that fires are starting in NOLA everyday now, one just destroying 3 buildings on Dillard University’s campus, [EDITED TO INCLUDE LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT HELP FROM BROWN AND PRINCETON] scares the hell out of me. I know I am still in denial and daydream of returning to my city to find things like they were, but it’s getting more depressing each day. I remember walking down my street and then 3-blocks to go to St. Raphael the Archangel school and walking to Ferrara’s grocery store [EDITED TO INCLUDE IMAGE], and to Ellen Hardeman’s Dance Academy and I just want to cry at the thought that EVERYTHING IS GONE. EVERYONE HAS LOST EVERYTHING…I don’t get it and I don’t care to blame anyone for it, which is all I seem to read about lately. I just want it all back.

But on a happier note, I heard from Julie who is now attending a Sacred Heart school in NYC. She’s doing well and as it turns out, Time magazine read her mom’s posts on and decided to do a piece on the whole family which is expected to come out on Monday. I’ll link it here ASAP.

Gonna try and beat traffic. Expect more posts this weekend, particularly ones that discuss the blogs and wikis I’ve found created to help people and pets reconnect during this time.

Oh and one other bit of good news from the WWL-TV Katrina blog:

The famed aquarium in New Orleans is sending surviving creatures to facilities in Dallas, Galveston and Monterey, California.
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas wasn’t badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. But officials say the loss of electricity and other storm impact on the complex knocked out the life-support systems. Most of its six-thousand animals died. But aquarium staff managed to save sea otters, penguins and other birds, some fish and a 250-pound green sea turtle named “Midas.”



I have been thrilled and overwhelmed with the amount of people I’ve heard from during this time but sadly only have the time to point them to the blog. After a weekend offline, then having the parents with me, going back to work at FADV yesterday, and trying to catch up on all the schoolwork I was assigned and then assigned my students, my eyes are glazing over and the only thing keeping me awake is Excedrin Tension Headache.

But AC has been a wonderful distraction and support. He’s been asking me how I’m feeling each day because I think it’s clear to see that this whole thing conjures up a weird range of emotions. I am fine when at work/school, then sad again when I read/watch the news and am faced with the images, but then full of joy when the cell phone gods are working and friends can get through. Heard from Matthew M yesterday and he’s already been to his parent’s house in Jefferson parish. There wasn’t too much damage and the power is back so he’s quite optimistic about things. He works for a Segway Tours Company that could easily transfer him to Chicago or somewhere else, but he wants to stay close (and be the first back in the Bruno’s bar! 🙂 ). I’m sure I would do the same.

My parents and I are pretty sure that the NOLA house is gone and everything is destroyed, so we’re dealing with that now. I’m worried about what might have been in the safe and even in our bank’s safety deposit box, but I’m hoping that paperwork will fix everything out eventually. And there are so many people who have so much less than we do.

Everyone else I’ve spoken to seems to be in good spirits and trying to settle into some sort of routine in their new location. Lara starts filming the movie again on Friday; Rudy was running errands today in Houston with hopes of getting transferred to the Miami Ritz Carlton, and Sarah’s hotel has relocated them to a Houston Marriott. Jeremy and Tom are kicking it in their respective Mid-Western folks’ homes.

I need to contact the little girl I used to tutor who was just starting her senior year at Sacred Heart. We just emailed a few weeks ago and she was all abuzz about her summer at a film/dramatic school in NYC, with this scandalous short film as proof of her body of work. As an Academy of the Holy Angels girl myself, I know that what means most at an all-girls catholic high school, especially for JC whose mom and sisters also graduated there, are the traditions, ceremonies and pomp and circumstance. I hope somehow she gets the senior year she’s dreamed of.
EDITED to include link to the Sacred Heart communications network where I just found out Julie is in NYC! (Search “Comarda” on the page and you can read her mom’s posts).

And speaking of diplomas, my mother somehow thought to pack my BA from Loyola and MA from Northeastern along with some framed pictures. Now I really need to finish this PhD and get that to join the others!


drink up!

I’ve linked to Preston before, although I just realized I haven’t added him to my blogroll on this site, but I had to share his post on it “hitting home.”

Also just got an email from him about the “Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour!

On Monday, September 12th, between the hours of 5:00pm and 7:00pm, bar customers across the nation will raise their glasses for a “Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour” as bar and restaurant owners shake up New Orleans’ classic cocktails to directly benefit New Orleans food and beverage industry workers who are out of work and sorely in need of funds for rebuilding their lives. During this special event New Orleans classics will be offered at participating bars for $10 per drink. Receipts from the Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour will be donated to a special tax-deductible relief fund established by the Museum of the American Cocktail.

No FL cities are listed, but I plan to make mine a double!

Spread the word, folks!


Chris Rice on

I posted the link to his essay earlier but just read it and had to paste in this paragraph:

Those of us who have migrated to the coasts of the country from its often maligned middle like to view our hometowns as time capsules. We fault them for being too fixed and too rigid, but we also enjoy the ability to slip back into familiar routines upon returning home. Both of those luxuries have been taken from me; New Orleans has spilled past the boundaries of my conflicted feelings for it. Those of us who are from there are being left with a storehouse of memories that have lost their physical referents.

I met up with Chris at his booksigning when in San Fran in March for 4Cs and we talked about home, Mardi Gras, and mutual friends. While we are two people who have moved and now have our parents close, knowing that those “familiar routines” no longer exist, and even when we can return to NOLA, not everyone will be there, is heartbreaking.

Everytime I’ve visited home lately, the best part was knowing where everyone would be or just running into them in any local bar. Walk down Bourbon and St. Ann, and Allen would always be tending bar and making the best “Sex on the Beach.” Roy would always be there emceeing Drag Bingo. Charlie, Jamie, and Sidney would always be at Pat O’Briens. I could go on but it hurts too much.

Back to denial.


Mayor Nagin

I’ve never been more proud of my mayor…
Trying to find more links to his appearances, but like I’ve said in other posts, I’ve been overwhelmed with emails and reading news sites that I can’t keep track, especially since I took nearly 3 days offline.
EDITED to include this open letter from the NO Times-Picayune to George W Bush.

So glad I still have one of my “New Orleans Proud to Call it Home” bumper stickers. Putting it on the car after she’s gotten a good wash.



late night post

Have got to get to bed and have so much I want to include in posts tomorrow, but wanted to comment on my comments section and the fact that I just heard from 2 cousins in Peru that I’ve never met before! Lots of other friends I haven’t heard from in a long time have found me via this blog, so for that I will be eternally grateful.

I haven’t read all of the Chris Rice article I linked to earlier, but found out from Tom G that Anne Rice wrote one for the New York Times too. Here is the link and a powerful excerpt:

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us “Sin City,” and turned your backs.

Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.

Maureen Dowd has a great piece too here.

I’m so glad my parents are here with me but every hour brings another story, another memory of my city that is no longer there. I’m getting emails with updates as to where everyone is now, and also news that people have already decided to permanently move to other states. I’m more upset now than a few days ago because I’m at that stage where I have to move beyond “Where did people go?” and “I’m so glad to hear from them and that they’re safe,” to “We’ll never all be together again,” and “What on earth are we supposed to do now?”

I’ve got way more than I can handle on my plate now, but I hope that writing will get me back on track.

And to think that I have barely watched the news and seen the pictures. I almost feel like the whole country just needs to stop and let us all regroup. But let me start the healing process with a good night’s sleep.

More tomorrow.


meet the parents


My parents made it to Tampa yesterday and I was in Cocoa Beach with friends from DC. My leasing office let them in and AC and I made it here. Poor AC–imagine meeting your girlfriend’s parents under these circumstances. My dad can’t stop crying and we’re all just trying to hold it together. I can’t see some of the map resources friends have sent me because google earth isn’t Mac compatible. I don’t think it looks good for Cameron Blvd. but I’ll remain in denial for as long as possible.

Rudy got out of NOLA on a plane Al Gore sent! And here is an article that quotes him. He has told me of a site where he’s posted his story but I was driving when he called me. I’ll get it here ASAP.

But Trina the cat didn’t make it. My parents took her with them but she couldn’t handle the travel, heat, etc. 🙁

Here is a link to a article Chris Rice wrote.

Oh and I heard that people in the French Quarter don’t want to leave and that, “Not even Hurricane Katrina could prevent the Decadence Parade from being staged in the French Quarter. The annual Labor Day gay celebration drew about two dozen people. Street musician Matt Menold summed it up best: “It’s New Orleans, man. We’re going to celebrate.””

And of the unique list of “22 reasons America needs New Orleans” , this is my favorite. “Get em while they’re HOT! Get em while they’re DOGS!”

The Lucky Dog is a venerated local frankfurter that has come a long way, culinarily speaking, from the days when Ignatius J. Reilly peddled them to tourists in “A Confederacy of Dunces.” Now they are really good, especially if it is 4 a.m. and you are hungry.


from the frontlines

Heard about this site this morning but could not get to it til now, but here it is.
I’m not sure what this blogger’s plans are for getting out of NOLA, but this is his first hand account which began with this innocent post:

We’re on the 10th and 11th floor of a corporate high rise on Poydras Ave., right near St. Charles. We have generators and tons of food and water. It is 5 of us total. I am not sure how the internet connection will be affected. I have a camera and my gun.

I’ve not been trusting AP reports, so it’s good to have this resource.

Have a safe holiday weekend!



After getting in touch with the hotel where my parents were, only to find out that they weren’t there anymore, I was starting to flip out then just got this email from my brother in CA:

Hi Sis: Our parents have been found!!! Hooray!!! Just a bit shaken up.

They left on Tuesday and made to the house in Picayune. MS. They house made it
with just a few broken dishes. They stayed there ’til today and called
Raquel using the neighbor’s phone. They just got their power restored.
They are heading to Tampa as we speak to stay with you. So you better get
the place ready. They will probably call us and update us with their
whereabouts when they stop to rest. I will keep you updated of course. I
don’t think they are fully aware of the damage NOLA sustained. I just hope
they take it lightly.

Thank God!

I’ve also heard that the American Can Company was fully evacuated so I know Rudy is on his way to safety. But now I’ve found out that my ballet teacher, Gayle, stayed in Uptown New Orleans.

There is a long road ahead, but I’m so relieved right now.

And this Tuesday, September 6, is my 30th birthday and my father’s 62nd. What a present this year!


Map resource

Just got this from the Association of Internet Researchers listserv:

One Web site,, is combating the confusion by encouraging users to annotate a Google Map of New Orleans with information about specific locations. Collectively, the community is creating a collaborative map Wikipedia. Anyone with something to add can enter a street address and leave a marker on the map at that location, providing a few lines of text about conditions at that spot.

I clicked on my neighborhood and only one post was up just asking for information about Cameron Blvd. Another one reads, “lower half of UNO including Ben Franklin High School is flooded” and those schools are only 3 blocks away and literally alongside a levee. So if we’re down the street, shouldn’t that mean our house isn’t too bad? I just don’t know…

News from more evacuated friends keeps coming in, but still no word from my parents. The state of NOLA gets worse with the looting, fires, and gas prices soaring everywhere else. Have heard lots of complaints about George W‘s delayed reaction, even from fellow Republicans, but I honestly don’t have anything to say. I never expected anything from him anyway, so why should I be surprised?