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From the Hi-to-Low ~ The Great little deluge

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From the Hi-to-Low ~ The Great little deluge

 

 

Oh gosh! I got side tracked and stayed up all night recently because of an unexpected hunger to watch documentaries. And the reason why my interest became peaked was due to an earlier choice I had made to watch one of my old DVD series that touched upon this certain subject. I had filed these particular DVDs away in storage because, in the past when I began to watch them, my husband constantly expressed that they were not one of his favorites at all. I have never been a serious television addict but ever so often I do like to watch certain shows and I had only watched one episode while this series was aired on television more than about fifteen years ago; The Reba Show. So years later after it went off the air, I decided to buy two Reba DVD series on sale at Walmart back in 2009 but, I only watched a few episodes until I decided to store them away. But for some reason, I just recently became in the mood to pull them out of storage again. I waited until my husband went out of the room and decided to quietly watch some episodes so as not to draw attention because I just didn’t want to here his rants about ‘why he didn’t care for the show’. But after a few episodes, one certain episode caught me off guard and caused me to burst out in laughter. Barbara Jean had broke out of the kitchen wearing corn rolls and hair extensions in her head with the bling bling on and, she was boppin and make head gestures, and other ethnic gestures and commenting like a Black woman. I tried so hard to contain my amusement, but it was like one thing after another, and I was bursting out and hollering through the whole show. And the guest, one of my favorite actresses, Jo Marie Payton, from the show, Family Matters, was on this episode as well. That was one of the funniest shows I had ever watched. In one scene, Barbara Jean was attentively playing cards with the black folk in Reba’s living room and when the character ‘Brock’ came through the front door, she got up and bopped over to meet him and called him her ‘White Chocolate’ and, she later walked back into the kitchen and complained that she needed an aspirin because she had a headache, while she pressed her corn rolls so as to ease the tension in her head. However, there happens to be a down side to this show. I came to realize that the theme revolved around the past devastating disaster, hurricane Katrina. So then, I went from an Hi to a Lo point very quickly. After the show was over, I decided to research some updates and to my shock, I came across several documentaries that reveal to me events that I had never realized. And as one celebrity, Sean Penn, commented, this dynamic flood catastrophe that occurred in August 2005, now brings to my mind the Biblical Noah’s flood. It seems like a Great-little deluge.

 

Even though, there are so many more devastating catastrophes that happened not long after this hurricane Katrina that was officially reported to have caused the deaths of about 1800 people, such as the great tsunami in Indonesia on December 26, 2005 and this recent hurricane Michael in October 2018, nevertheless, certain aspects of it makes Katrina very unique in my opinion. Even though there were other reports of previous hurricanes in that some surveys consider to be much worse than Katrina for various reasons, however, it would be this hurricane that still causes me to believe that it should be listed as the worst one to at least have happened here in the States. I believe that each hurricane force winds that has made landfall would be unique in and of itself, but after viewing one documentary after another recently, I still believe Katrina has made an historical landmark in America due to many circumstances that makes it be in sort of like a class by itself.

 

There are several awesome documentaries about this hurricane Katrina, and each one of them highlighted unique aspects of this horrific ordeal, but one of the most compelling documentaries that I watched was Spike Lee’sWhen the Levies Broke a requiem in four acts’. In this film a wide variety of people were interviewed from dramatic eyewitness accounts to well-known activist, ministers, celebrities, musicians, politicians, high ranking military personnel, and expert professionals. One of the many comments that struck me was from Garland Robinette, a Radio Host for WWL when he commented that [paraphrasing] ‘it is indescribable in how Black people were treated and even after almost nine (9) years later, it stuns me to this day’. Like this man, who even though he was White, there were so many other White people interviewed that became brought to the brink of tears as they passionately spoke about the racism against the Black African American victims of hurricane Katrina. This hurricane seems to bring out the best and worst in people from many different aspects. In part III at about the 13-minute mark, Dr. Ben Marble, ER Physician of Biloxi, Mississippi, exploded and abruptly cut off the former Vice President Dick Chaney, and later retorted [paraphrasing] that he did not want to hear comments just to make a photo opt to make himself look good’. He continued to say, ‘where was he three days before when everyone was dying in New Orleans’. Also at some point, Soledad O’Brien of CNN ripped into an official and spoke against the former president Bush on the same lines. She said [paraphrasing] that food, water and supplies were air dropped for the victims of the Sri Lanka tsunami victims two days later, but it had been five days and thousands of people were in the dome and had no food or water. She continued to passionately state that Bush was in Iraq when the people in New Orleans were suffering and that it was definitely a disservice in the name of racism against Black people. This documentary had me on the edge of my seat, so-to-speak and even though it was a lengthy series, that showed shocking scenes that made me depressed, on the other hand, even in this disparity, it took me, at times, from a Low to a High point.

 

Throughout the entire series, there were two women that seen to carry the entire series and they would each continue to be interviewed at certain intervals throughout the whole film, and their comments were so abrupt and hilarious so that it was impossible for me to lose interest. It was a Black Afro-American woman named Phyllis and a White woman named Cheryl and both of their comments throughout the film was so blunt and raw, that I couldn’t help but laugh. In part IV at about the 1:07 minute mark, Cheryl was asked a question, and even though it was obvious that she was stressed out of her mind because of not receiving needed federal intervention, her response almost made me fall out of my chair; They need to offer that woman to start a career as a stand-up comedian. Cheryl made all of her comments with a straight face, however, she took me from a dark gloomy mood to being bowled over with laughter. Both she and Phyllis showed the gut-wrenching reaction of being pushed over the limit and seem to be able to show the emotions that many others probably felt but did not express. The Louisiana State Representative, Karen Carter made so many important comments about disparity of Black men and the response of the officials or lack thereof. Celebrity activist Harry Belafonte was also interviewed as well as Wynton Marsalis, and so many others. And so, after watching this series, it led me to search for more and more. I had no idea of the full impact of this storm of which I now believe still continues even after almost fifteen years. And as it was also stated, even though the official fatalities have been listed as being about 1800, this number could well be much larger. Due to many victims who are still unaccounted for, the death count cannot possibly be accurate. Many people were told by ‘search and rescue officials’ that their loved ones were not inside their homes, and these people would go inside, and in fact, they found their relatives there inside dead. Little children were able to look and see many dead bodies that lay in the streets for weeks and, many of these bodies remained unclaimed and unknown. Even today, many people have never found out about their missing loved ones. As one interviewer stated, this disaster was almost like watching what happened in the Rwanda Genocide. Why has not our government brought this kind of information to the forefront of our educational system? Just as Karen Carter stated [paraphrasing] ‘the disparity of Black men [and woman] is a direct result of the American Educational System’ or, lack thereof’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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