Tuesday 16 August 2016

Feeling responsible

Sometimes I wonder whether I've got this blog back to front. That it's not about going places and finding connections with it for ever after. That, actually, my going somewhere is the kiss of death for that place and it is automatically doomed to suffer some sort of disaster in fairly short order. Fires, floods, earthquakes, shootings, terrorist attacks - they've all happened in places I'd recently visited.

Louisiana's on my mind, of course: much of it under water right now, even more than normal for such a swampy place. Even though disastrous floods are pretty much a news staple these days, just the location changing, the footage of brown water right up to the eaves of houses makes pretty grim viewing. And by now everyone must have seen that amazing rescue from a sinking car of not only the woman driver, but her little dog as well. I see that Lafayette and New Iberia have been badly affected, the Vermilion River very far from living up to its name. I'm wondering about the beautiful plantation house I visited in New Iberia, Shadows-on-the-Teche, built right next to the bayou which even when I was there was running pretty high.

I've just been writing about Louisiana this week, about the loop I took through the state, by train from Houston down to Lafayette, and then on to New Orleans, and by bus up north through St Francisville and Alexandria and Shreveport back into Texas at Dallas. Water was a constant all the way: swamps, rivers, bayous, lakes. Recent rains meant I didn't see any alligators in the Atchafalaya Swamp because all their sunbathing banks were under water - I can only imagine now how high the water must be.
I read about a woman trapped in her house who battled for ages to break through the wall to escape, using just a screwdriver and a saw. Crumbs, having been to the Katrina exhibition at the Presbytere in New Orleans, even I know you need to keep an axe in the attic in Louisiana. If only to beat off the gators...

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