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breakthecitysky:

Five years ago.  August 29, 2008.  One of the prouder moments of my professional career. Hurricane Katrina left a lot of damage and destruction in its wake.  I love New Orleans, there is something about that city that feels like home to me, and my career took a very different trajectory as a direct result of the storm’s devastation.  Disaster management, crisis communications, I learned on the fly as we helped work to get resources to funeral directors who were struggling to care for families when their own facilities had been decimated.  Being a part of that response is the kind of thing that changes how you look at the world, as clichéd as that sounds. Almost before FEMA and DHS were on the ground, the national association had mobilized trucks of supplies, sent in teams of funeral directors to relieve the local men and women who were struggling to serve their communities when many of them had lost everything themselves.   Eighty-five of the dead were left in morgues, long after the waters receded and the rebuilding had begun.  Unidentifiable or unclaimed, they seemed to me to be a testament to everything we promised we would do and failed.  Plans were made to build a permanent memorial, a place to remember all who had lost in the storm and its aftermath, a place to finally lay the dead to rest. Fundraising was slow to start, until funeral service stepped in via the foundation to became the largest single private contributor to the effort.  The first large donor, it enabled the project to secure the site on the grounds of the former Charity Hospital Cemetery, and to pursue other funding.  This is what funeral directors do, you see. Honor the dead while caring for the living.   Five years ago, as New Orleans was battening down the hatches to prepare for Gustav, I flew into a city still shell-shocked but fighting back to entomb the dead.  Plans for a full jazz funeral were scrapped because of the oncoming storm, but there was something equally powerful about the lone trumpeter who sang the bodies home.  At 9:38, the time the levies had been breached in 2005, bells rang out in the cemetery, in the city.   It was all you could hear.It didn’t get much media coverage outside of the region.  Why would it?  The nation tried really hard to bury memories of Katrina, of a disaster made unspeakably worse because of human failure, not the wrath of Mother Nature.  These were the abandoned dead, anyway, unwanted by family, or without any of their own or centuries old, thrown from their crypts by flood waters surging out of control.  Funeral service didn’t forget.  They put blood and sweat and hundreds of thousands of dollars into making that memorial a reality because they understand what it means to have a place to go to mourn.  A place to go to remember. Hallowed ground.  If you’re ever in New Orleans, take a cab down Canal Street to where it ends at the Calvary Hospital Cemetery.  The city’s scars are still raw in places, pink in others, but this is a place of healing.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve felt it.For the full gallery of pictures I took that day, you can find the Flickr stream here.

Remembering all that we lost in Hurricane Katrina’s wake today.

breakthecitysky:

Five years ago.  August 29, 2008.  One of the prouder moments of my professional career.

Hurricane Katrina left a lot of damage and destruction in its wake.  I love New Orleans, there is something about that city that feels like home to me, and my career took a very different trajectory as a direct result of the storm’s devastation.  Disaster management, crisis communications, I learned on the fly as we helped work to get resources to funeral directors who were struggling to care for families when their own facilities had been decimated.  Being a part of that response is the kind of thing that changes how you look at the world, as clichéd as that sounds.
Almost before FEMA and DHS were on the ground, the national association had mobilized trucks of supplies, sent in teams of funeral directors to relieve the local men and women who were struggling to serve their communities when many of them had lost everything themselves. 

Eighty-five of the dead were left in morgues, long after the waters receded and the rebuilding had begun.  Unidentifiable or unclaimed, they seemed to me to be a testament to everything we promised we would do and failed.  Plans were made to build a permanent memorial, a place to remember all who had lost in the storm and its aftermath, a place to finally lay the dead to rest. Fundraising was slow to start, until funeral service stepped in via the foundation to became the largest single private contributor to the effort.  The first large donor, it enabled the project to secure the site on the grounds of the former Charity Hospital Cemetery, and to pursue other funding.  This is what funeral directors do, you see. Honor the dead while caring for the living. 

Five years ago, as New Orleans was battening down the hatches to prepare for Gustav, I flew into a city still shell-shocked but fighting back to entomb the dead.  Plans for a full jazz funeral were scrapped because of the oncoming storm, but there was something equally powerful about the lone trumpeter who sang the bodies home.  At 9:38, the time the levies had been breached in 2005, bells rang out in the cemetery, in the city.   It was all you could hear.

It didn’t get much media coverage outside of the region.  Why would it?  The nation tried really hard to bury memories of Katrina, of a disaster made unspeakably worse because of human failure, not the wrath of Mother Nature.  These were the abandoned dead, anyway, unwanted by family, or without any of their own or centuries old, thrown from their crypts by flood waters surging out of control.  Funeral service didn’t forget.  They put blood and sweat and hundreds of thousands of dollars into making that memorial a reality because they understand what it means to have a place to go to mourn.  A place to go to remember.

Hallowed ground.  If you’re ever in New Orleans, take a cab down Canal Street to where it ends at the Calvary Hospital Cemetery.  The city’s scars are still raw in places, pink in others, but this is a place of healing.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve felt it.

For the full gallery of pictures I took that day, you can find the Flickr stream here.

Remembering all that we lost in Hurricane Katrina’s wake today.

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Dinner: a story in four pictures.  That bottom right picture, though. He’s really got “murder” down pat.

Dinner: a story in four pictures.  That bottom right picture, though. He’s really got “murder” down pat.

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Hand in hand.

Hand in hand.

Photoset

laughterkey:

micdotcom:

Amy Poehler just schooled Neal Brennan on what it’s like to be a woman with one sentence 

Oh, Amy. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways. 

For one, she can make a feminist argument zing like a “Weekend Update” punchline, a skill she demonstrated as a recent guest on The Approval Matrix, the Sundance Network’s new panel show. During her interview, Poehler was asked about modern men and the difficult challenges men face.

Poehler has never been shy about women’s issues | Follow micdotcom

Reblogging to watch later b/c they’re both great.

(via badgrammer)

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#tbt Kid A, first days of kindergarten, first and second grades.

#tbt Kid A, first days of kindergarten, first and second grades.

Tags: tbt
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Kid B’s Kindergarten Open House and Kid A’s 3rd grade Open House. Thanks to the Mister for recording the evening for me.

Tags: kid a kid b kid c
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I could never be a SAHM, but on days when your boss’s boss cuts out of the big event early to go to her kid’s Open House and you end up stuck at work 90 minutes past when you were supposed to be and find yourself sitting in a hotel parking lot in tears looking at pictures from your own kids’ event, working outside your home (and not being your own boss) really kind of sucks.

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#gpoyw out in the field all day leading a tour for work oh God my only option is pit toilets edition.

#gpoyw out in the field all day leading a tour for work oh God my only option is pit toilets edition.

Tags: gpoyw
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Thirty minutes and counting. Because he had milk and I wouldn’t give him juice. I have to give him credit, when he commits he’s all in.

Thirty minutes and counting. Because he had milk and I wouldn’t give him juice. I have to give him credit, when he commits he’s all in.

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Lenny Bruce is not afraid.

I surrendered a good chunk of my childhood subconscious to fever dreams of nuclear war. I couldn’t tell you where the fascination-slash-fear came from. I was born in the mid-late ’70s and while my early elementary school years were dotted with the occasional disaster drill Mutually Assured Destruction had already embedded itself so firmly within our national psyche that no one I knew growing up ever really believed in the possibility of a nuclear war.

I still had nightmares, though.

I’ve mentioned it before, the first and second grade Peace Club, writing letters to President Reagan advocating disarmament, marathon viewings of Amazing Grace and Chuck, all the papercuts from hundreds of paper cranes.  My mother, who was the one who bore the brunt of my night terrors and already world-weary questioning, was concerned. My father was proud of my precociousness.

I was a freshman in high school when Generation X came out, dancing around the edge of great loss and desperate for connection.When I found it in the school library I got so caught up I missed a class.  There’s a section, roughly midway through, where Dag announces to Andy and Claire that he’s got an end of the world story.

"That’s when the sirens begin, the worst sound in the world, and the sound you’ve dreaded all your life. It’s here: the soundtrack to hell - wailing, flaring, warbling, and unreal - collapsing and confusing both time and space the way an ex-smoker collapses time and space at night when they dream in horror that they find themselves smoking. But here the ex-smoker wakes up to find a lit cigarette in his hand and the horror is complete.”

I remember sitting in the school library covered in goosebumps, the hair on the back of my neck standing up and it’s not great writing, though it felt like it, but it was that moment where you realize your nightmares are shared, and you aren’t as alone in your head as you once thought you were.

A decade later I sat on the front stoop of the Glover Park rowhouse I shared with five other people in Washington, D.C., nursing a beer with a roommate and making big plans about changing the world.  Out of nowhere, there was this boom, followed by a bright flash of light.  Car alarms started going off, the phone rang.  I tipped my face up toward the sky, holding my breath, and he slid his hand into mine and then the world righted itself again. Just thunder and lightning.

In Dag’s end of the world story, the scene closes with two friends standing in a supermarket checkout line as everything melts away, one reaching over to kiss the other because, well. He always wanted to.

"In the silent rush of hot wind, like the opening of a trillion oven doors that you’ve been imagining since you were six, it’s all over: kind of scary, kind of sexy, and tainted by regret. A lot like life, wouldn’t you say?"

Tl;dr: I’ve been dreaming about the end of the world a lot lately. I’d really rather just get more sleep.