Skip to main content

Book Review - Three Tides - Part 4

Pineda’s ‘gathering’ chapters are all about the epic destruction of Katrina. I come away from this reading feeling some sense of relief that many people are decent human beings who will help others in times of need, including Pineda herself. Pineda talks a lot about the strong sense of community in New Orleans before the hurricane and that during the hurricane the effected people were repeatedly “helping one another, sharing what they had.” 

But the sense of relief at the humanity between individual people, gave way very quickly to disgust at the negligence of the organizations meant to help. Starting with the callous government officials who actually seem to have viewed Katrina as an opportunity to ‘clean up’ the “public housing” of New Orleans in favor of “urban renewal.” Rep. Richard Baker actually said as much, adding, “We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Apparently, they blew up the levees intentionally to sacrifice the poorer parts of town, in order to save the richer areas and tourist districts. That, coupled with the fact they rescued the affluent white population first, make it impossible not to see it all as a cold and calculated plan just waiting for a cover story. But the dubious forms of help offered by other organizations, like the Red Cross, also leave me wondering where all the money went that was donated. It clearly didn’t make it to the people who needed it. One of the victims is quoted as summing it up with, “Most of us survived the hurricane. All the death … was from lack of medical attention, no emergency medical response, no rescue.”

I found these chapters deeply moving and excruciatingly eye-opening. The helicopters which flew overhead but didn’t pick people up for several days, or even drop water or food. The floating corpses of neighbors, friends, beloved pets. Watching people attacked by alligators or drowning in front of you. Separated families being shipped off to different states. No medications. Prisoners left locked in their cells to drown. This entire section of this book is a written tour of hell. And I especially appreciated Pineda’s inclusion of the verbatim oral history versions of the victims’ stories. Her explanation for recording the stories, “because like any holocaust, none of it should ever be forgotten or denied” is both beautiful and apt. 

And the way Pineda wove in the strands of her own subconscious preparations for a move she didn’t realize she intended to make was intriguing. The purging of all her unnecessary worldly goods, seemed to start as a simple desire to find things to donate to the hurricane victims. But the purging continued as she gathered more and more of the traumatic stories until she finally realized she had decided, on some level and at some point, to sell her house. I find that angle of the section fascinating. I’m trying to figure out if she would have come to that same place without the exposure to the hurricane victims.


Popular Previous Posts

I'm Posting on YouTube Now

I have been thinking about getting back on YouTube for a while now (a friend and I used to have a fledgling lifestyle channel together), but with a more writing/reading-related focus.  Since I am still between homes (sold old place and new one is still not fixed up en ough to move into) I haven't felt able to start back up on YouTube. I figured no one wants to see me and five small noisy dogs cramped into a tiny bedroom (with all but current schoolbooks still in boxes). Not quite the background I would like to present. But then I thought, I could always try recording and posting my real time random word poem writing sessions. They're short, and hopefully/possibly interesting. Now I admit this first video needs to be improved upon greatly when it comes to camerawork. But it's a first attempt, so cut me some slack. I'll work out the kinks as I go.  

The best laid plans ...

So this summer has gone to hell in a handbasket. I  had planned to get my "novella" (in quotes because of its awkward length), Fall On Landing out in June, but tomorrow starts Aug and it's not up yet. Part of the reason is because I tried to hire someone off Fiverr to do the cover, and it didn't work out. I had an idea, expressed in both writing and a sketch, but didn't trust my skills to do it myself. After that fail, I decided, despite not having done much painting since I was a teenager, to give it a go. What I created isn't quite the Old Masters epically nuanced version I had in my head, but I like it enough to use it. So, a couple weeks ago I finished it and ran it through the Canva site to make a cover. Now, I'm just trying to decide between two covers I made.  Anyone up for a poll? I feel one coming on 😉 I've decided to start two different series, and I had planned to get book one in each series at least written this summer. Now, I'm hoping