Sunday, August 31, 2008
Erez, our guest blogger, looks at the headlines in Tuscaloosa, AL
Erez daily blog day 3/4 3:49 PM August 31, 2008
We ended up at Tukami last night, dancing contently by ourselves to mixes from soul sister. The lounge at Tukami was near empty, many people having gotten out of dodge (more on how much I hate that expression and its origins later) It was a chill, comfy spot, that I could see getting crowded quickly if not on the eve of an incoming natural disaster whose name reminds me of a fat French cook. Ben was the manager and bartending; he made me a stiff gin and tonic while sharing his excitement about the new space and his plans for it. He says a website is on the way, and I’ll post the link soon as possible.
Waking late, we soon discovered that most of uptown had not procrastinated as we had. Boarded up shops and empty streets were disconcerting and left an odd feel in the air. Walking around was one of the odder experiences I’ve had.
After packing up things I couldn’t stand to lose, we headed over to an air-conditioned house to have a last meal. These generous giants of men (from left to right; Hampton, Joel and Dan) were attempting to cook everything they had left in their fridge. The many courses we enjoyed were true hodge podges of ingredients and creativity. Drinks were being mixed and handed out in mason jars by none other than Chris Hanna, bartender at Arnauds. He created a delirious elixir, which tasted like a margarita and a mojito dry humping in my mouth. I’ll get the recipe and post it later…
We left at New Orleans at 11 pm, sound bites of Nagin’s ominous warnings being played and played again. The radio was the perfect soundtrack to driving out of the abandoned, boarded up city.
We hit a few hours of traffic on the 10 east before listening to a radio dj and jumping on the 90. It was an unusual event, sitting in traffic, surrounded by tens of thousands, all trying to get out, all listening to the same thing. It conjured up memories of the type of disaster movies that usually come in two’s.
We drove through the night, taking turns at the wheel, surrounded every mile we drove and at every pit stop we took by similar transplants. The city was on the road.
We would switch places when the familiar, heart-thumping roar of a rumble strip would shake us awake. Coffee, conversation and radio kept us in the right lane, above 70.
Arrived in Huntsville, AL at 2:00 pm, 13 hours after we had left the night before. Our mutual hate for the other car traveling in our caravan was the clearest byproduct of the ordeal. Next stop Memphis.
" The VA Hospital in Birmingham, AL- Very different situation than our VA in New Orleans.
A Painting in our final destination of the day- Huntsville, AL
“ It has not been easy to watch the images on television and to now be able to identify very closely with each location. When I heard the Mayor call the storm, “the mother of all storms,” it sent a rush of panic and anxiety through me, and my passion for the city became clearer than ever. It is never easy to leave a place you want to stay, but it’s even worst to not know what you will be coming back to. I want to be back in New Orleans and I hope to see you there soon.”- Nathan Rothstein