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Good and Bad

Yesterday was a good day. A hearty breakfast at Slim Goodies, a day of cleaning out the house, meeting with the adjuster, and then meeting some friends for a few drinks at the Balcony Bar. I talked on the phone with Xy and she seemed in good spirits, unlike the day before when she was feeling sick and depressed. It felt like a very good day, considering the circumstances.

Today — not so much. At least not at first. Slim Goodies wasn’t serving breakfast. Michael helped me put our two refrigerators and other appliances to the curb — a job which needed to be done and which I couldn’t have done alone, so I was grateful for the help, but something about it was depressing. Maybe it was the stinking water that gushed out of the washer. Maybe it was the fact that I cut my arm as we took the refrigerator down the stairs. Maybe it was the fact that Xy called, feeling ill and miserable again. Maybe it was just realizing how much more there was to do. Maybe it was because I’ve hardly eaten anything all day.

I don’t know.

I tried cleaning up some more, stupidly exposing the cut on my arm to mold and bacteria, but my heart really wasn’t in it.

Eventually I gave up and headed across the river to Algiers. After a few wrong turns, I found Paul B. Habans Elementary, the school where Xy taught. I’d heard it was being used as a SWAT base camp. Sure enough, it was, and there were cops everywhere. One told me that the principal and some teachers had been there that morning but I’d missed them. The police officer also said she thought the school probably would not be re-opening, contrary to a report published in the news media.

I started to walk away, more dejected than ever.

But then I ran into a small group of women also leaving the school. They were Habans teachers, and they told me the principal was still in the building. I hustled back in and soon I was giving Ms Bernard a hug.

She told me something that lifted my spirits: Because Habans (and all the public schools in Algiers) have just been designated as “charter” schools, she has a freer hand on personnel, and she’s hiring back all the teachers who want to come back.

That means Xy has a job!

She felt certain the school won’t open by November 1st as NOPS has announced. Still, it was the best news of the day. I even got a chance to look at Xy’s room. It was in perfect condition, unlike some other rooms which have been outright condemned.

While I was on that side of the river, I also went to the Common Ground clinic to deliver some more donations from the Bloomington community and to get my arm looked at. I ended up getting a tetanus vaccination.

The volume of patients being served at Common Ground was astonishing, and the whole thing is really inspiring. Check out their website and help if you can. I would say your donations are going much more directly to people who need it than through certain big beauracratic organizations.

I also got a chance to stop by Malik Rahim’s house, which is HQ for other Common Ground relief efforts. I finally got to see Malik and give him a hug. Robert Caldwell showed up about the same time. It was practically like an old Green Party meeting.

Xy called and at least had a diagnosis: She’d gone off some medicine you’re not supposed to give up cold turkey. Kind of frightening, but she’s renewing her prescription. I hope she feels better soon. I worry about her a lot.

Life continues to be an emotional roller coaster. Today ended up being halfway good after all, but I was feeling pretty down there for a while.

Published inKatrina


  1. Hang tough Bart, you and XY have a rocky, but maneuverable road ahead! You are well-seasoned adults, and even though this is all seemingly “new” and out of the realm of acceptable, you have the chutzpah to pull through. It is hard to be separated, hard to have a seemingly uncertain future as well as great fiscal loss, BUT, if you just relax and go with the flow of life, it will all work. Sometimes that flow is contrary to what you WANT or what you THINK you want/need, but it is most always what is best in the long run, ifyou just believe. I have learned to accept the change that life bestows on us – at least I think I have :). I am far more accepting of the flow of life pulling me than I was in the past. Its a weird trip we’re all on for sure. I hope my has a good end! ddz

  2. liz liz

    unfortunately my website is down, but this is liz in portland, oregon. i met you back in bloomington before you moved and i had some great conversations with you at various parties in bloomington in 97-98 via ned, jim, phil, becky, scott etc. i’ve been reading your log religiously since the hurricane hit and i just wanted to say you and xy are in my thoughts. i can’t imagine all that your going through, i mean i can imagine it, but it’s only imagining, not experiencing. still i wanted to thank you for logging and posting photos. saying hang in there feels so cheerleaderish, but i hope it helps knowing there are folks out there rooting for you guys. i’m rooting big time. and take care of yourself, of course.

  3. JimA JimA

    Yeah, it probably doesn’t help to tell you that you’re an inspiration when you’re needing some inspiration yourself, but there it is.

  4. Roshantai Roshantai

    I wen’t to Paul B Habans since 1st grade and in those 6 years I wen’t there Mrs.Bernard that was Mrs.Jones is a great principal I thought Habans should have been a charter school a long time a go:) But I hope nothing bad happened to Mrs.Bernard and Habans Staff and Mrs.Paxson if you read this Im sorry about your house because I know you lived in the 9th Ward which flooded very badly 🙁 Mrs Heavnen, Mrs.Persick, Ms.Merriday, Mr.Brown, Mrs.Hemelle, Mr.Goodwin, Mrs.Paxson, Mrs.Coulon, Mrs.Diaz, Mrs.Burrato, Mrs.Firneno, Mr.Levy, Mrs.Tucker, Mrs.Sullivan, and the reat of yall I MADE IT TO KARR BECAUSE YOU ENCOURAGED ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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