RSS

Louisiana 1927 & 2011

14 May

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927 became a familiar anthem for New Orleans and was performed regularly by various artists at various benefits and performances. For a few years, the song couldn’t be performed without producing teary eyes throughout the audience.

While the song talks about flooding, it’s a bit ironic that it became an anthem for the City of New Orleans. You see, in 1927 levees south of New Orleans were actually blown up to divert flood waters AWAY from and out of the “bowl” known as New Orleans where the levees were being pressured from 14 inches of rain inside of New Orleans and the swollen Mississippi River on the outside of the levees.

What resulted was The Great Flood of 1927, an event that was to paralyze the Deep South for nearly six months and leave nearly 1,000,000 people (mostly poor farmers) homeless and penniless just before The Great Depression would deliver a similar blow to other areas of the country.

My father was a year old when “the flood” created tent cities throughout South Louisiana. My grandmothers referred regularly to the flood mostly in terms of before and after. There was a certain disdain for the “city folk” of Baton Rouge and New Orleans who were saved and protected while the poor Cajun farmers were sacrificed. It took decades to recover.

I was nine years old in 1973 when flooding that year caused the new Morganza Spillway to be opened, again flooding millions of acres of “country” land. While the spillways relieve pressure on the levee system and save the cities, they are the equivalent of blowing up the levees in 1927. Today, May 14th, the Morganza Spillway was once again opened to relieve the levee system. Evacuations have started and the wait begins…

Say a prayer or two for the people of South Louisiana. This is what they face in the coming weeks…

After Katrina, then the Oil Spill, and now an epic flood it’s getting harder and harder to keep getting up after the body blows. But, somehow I know that the enduring spirit of the Cajun spirit will prevail….yet again.

For now, all I can do is listen to my favorite rendition of the ode to that great flood over 80 years ago and pray that they actually don’t “wash us away”.

 
 

2 responses to “Louisiana 1927 & 2011

  1. Shrewspeaks

    May 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    it is so sad. After being there and seeing how much this area depends on the capricious power of water I still cant fathom how devastating this all must be. Compound the most recent hard times since Katrina, deep water and now this…it is all so overwhelming. Only could a resilient and faithful people such as the Cajuns not only survive, but do it with great humiliation and a song in their heart. My prayers are there with all of these people.

    PS- Cola or no cola…I could murder a boudin right about now😉

     
  2. Shrewspeaks

    May 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    ummm…that is humility…not humiliation….dang

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: