Carl Jung used the term SYZYGY to denote an archetypal pairing of opposites, which symbolized the communication of the conscious and unconscious minds.


Katrina Cuts to the Heart of America

Katrina Cuts America to the Quick End
French Quarter Holdouts Create 'Tribes'

Sep 4 2005

(AP) Mat James caries his dog Baby Pearl as he marches in the Southern Decadence parade in the French...
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming "tribes" and dividing up the labor.

As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property. In a bar, a bartender put near-perfect stitches into the torn ear of a robbery victim.

While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods - humanity.

"Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."

While hundreds of thousands fled the below-sea-level city before the storm, many refused to leave the Vieux Carre, or old quarter. Built on some of the highest ground around and equipped with underground power lines, residents considered it about the safest place to be.

Katrina blew off roof slates and knocked down some already-unstable buildings but otherwise left the 18th and 19th century homes with their trademark iron balconies intact. Even without water and power, most preferred it to the squalor and death in the emergency shelters set up at the Superdome and Convention Center.

But what had at first been a refuge soon became an ornate prison.

Police came through commandeering drivable vehicles and siphoning gas. Officials took over a hotel and ejected the guests.

An officer pumped his shotgun at a group trying to return to their hotel on Chartres Street.

"This is our block," he said, pointing the gun down a side street. "Go that way."

Jack Jones, a retired oil rig worker, bought a huge generator and stocked up on gasoline. But after hearing automatic gunfire on the next block one night, he became too afraid to use it - for fear of drawing attention.

Still, he continues to boil his clothes in vinegar and dip water out of neighbors' pools for toilet flushing and bathing.

"They may have to shoot me to get me out of here," he said. "I'm much better off here than anyplace they might take me."

Many in outlying areas consider the Quarter a playground for the rich and complain that the place gets special attention.

Yes, wealthy people feasted on steak and quaffed warm champagne in the days after the storm. But many who stayed behind were the working poor - residents of the cramped spaces above the restaurants and shops.

Tired of waiting for trucks to come with food and water, residents turned to each other.

Johnny White's is famous for never closing, even during a hurricane. The doors don't even have locks.

Since the storm, it has become more than a bar. Along with the warm beer and shots, the bartenders passed out scrounged military Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water to the people who drive the mule carts, bus the tables and hawk the T-shirts that keep the Quarter's economy humming.

"It's our community center," said Marcie Ramsey, 33, whom Katrina promoted from graveyard shift bartender to acting manager.

For some, the bar has also become a hospital.

Tryphonas, who restores buildings in the Quarter, left the neighborhood briefly Saturday. Someone hit him in the head with a 2-by-4 and stole his last $5.

When Tryphonas showed up at Johnny White's with his left ear split in two, Joseph Bellomy - a customer pressed into service as a bartender - put a wooden spoon between Tryphonas' teeth and used a needle and thread to sew it up. Military medics who later looked at Bellomy's handiwork decided to simply bandage the ear.

"That's my savior," Tryphonas said, raising his beer in salute to the former Air Force medical assistant.

A few blocks away, a dozen people in three houses got together and divided the labor. One group went to the Mississippi River to haul water, one cooked, one washed the dishes.

"We're the tribe of 12," 76-year-old Carolyn Krack said as she sat on the sidewalk with a cup of coffee, a packet of cigarettes and a box of pralines.

The tribe, whose members included a doctor, a merchant and a store clerk, improvised survival tactics. Krack, for example, brushed her dentures with antibacterial dish soap.

It had been a tribe of 13, but a member died Wednesday of a drug overdose. After some negotiating, the police carried the body out on the trunk of a car.

The neighbors knew the man only as Jersey.

Tribe member Dave Rabalais, a clothing store owner, said he thinks the authorities could restore utilities to the Quarter. But he knows that would only bring "resentment and the riffraff."

"The French Quarter is the blood line of New Orleans," he said. "They can't let anything happen to this."

On Sunday, the tribe of 12 became a tribe of eight.

Four white tour buses rolled into the Quarter under Humvee escort. National Guardsmen told residents they had one hour to gather their belongings and get a ride out. Four of the tribe members decided to leave.

"Hallelujah!" Teresa Lawson shouted as she dragged her suitcase down the road. "Thank you, Jesus!"

For Mark Rowland, the leaving was bittersweet.

"I'm heart-broken to leave the city that I love," Rowland said as he sat in the air-conditioned splendor of the bus. "It didn't have to be this way."

Katrina Cuts America to the Quick End

Good Samaritan Rescues Hurricane Victims

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 5, 2005 — Fed up with what he says is the government's slow response in rescuing residents along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, a California businessman is taking action.

Over the weekend, David Perez launched an effort to evacuate New Orleans — on his own. Using $200,000, Perez chartered a Boeing 737. Upon landing in Louisiana, he unloaded much-needed supplies he had purchased at a local Costco and later reloaded the plane with 86 weary hurricane victims.

"These people need to have their kids in school and get their feet back on the ground," Perez said. "They have gone through devastation."

The group headed to San Diego, where Perez has organized a contingent of local families to open up their hearts and homes as temporary shelters.

Welcome Relief

Perez's efforts are greatly appreciated by those who have lost everything. "I don't have nowhere else to go," said hurricane victim Norman Chatman. "I'm looking for a new start, a new beginning."

Perez said he's just doing what the government failed to do to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. "It's a joke," he said. "Everyone took a vacation from this disaster."

Perez was there for every step of the journey, handing out boarding passes and helping with luggage. When the plane touched down in San Diego, tears of devastation finally turned to tears of joy.

As chairman and chief operating officer of Carmel Valley-based Surge Global Energy, Perez said he's counting on one of the company's drilling operations to pay his credit card bills for the relief effort — or else he will have to take out a second mortgage on his San Diego home. If all goes well, he might arrange for additional evacuation flights.

"If I save one life — just one life — and I make one person's life better on this trip," he said, "it's worth a million dollars to me."

Hurricane Katrina Cuts to the Heart

Hillary Calls for Federal Probe into FEMA Response

WASHINGTON - With many blaming the growing scope of Katrina's devastation on the Bush administration, Sen. Hillary Clinton called yesterday for a 9/11-style probe into how the federal government responded to the crisis.
"It has become increasingly evident that our nation was not prepared," Clinton (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to Bush asking him to set up a "Katrina Commission."

"The slow pace of relief efforts in the face of a mounting death toll ... seems to confirm that our ability to respond to cataclysmic disasters has not been adequately addressed," she said.

Her call echoed statements of Republicans such as Arizona's Sen. John Kyl, chairman of the Technology and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who plans a hearing and has said the catastrophe in New Orleans could have a lot in common with a terror attack.

A White House spokeswoman deferred comment to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who appeared on numerous Sunday morning broadcasts insisting there would be time to lay blame later.

Clinton has decided at least one thing without waiting for any commission reports. She said she plans to introduce legislation to split the Federal Emergency Management Agency out of the Department of Homeland Security and give it back a cabinet-level director like it had in her husband's administration.

Michael McAuliff

Katrina Cuts America to the Quick End

9th Ward New Orleans
By Chris Chandler and David Roe

9th Ward New Orleans, the river has always run through you-- but
never so literally.

She has always been a part of you-- but rarely like this. Your 19th
century widow's peaks are all that peak from a river once held
temporarily at bay by the hands of man. Now 21st century widows
stand on your widow's peaks once again staring in vain for the
horizon to materialize.

But from the lost your culture has always been found.
It is with you-- 9th Ward New Orleans the melting pot of America melts.

It is from you OUR culture has sailed in from all directions.
From wayfaring sailors seeking the roughest of trade as well as
barges filled with amber waves of grain.

Here the wholesome and the whore are changed forever. Wholesale.

Whether watching the tops of tankers crest the hands of man while
endlessly rocking on stoops, or now on roofs watching the river flow
on the streets below. You are Alive.

As we watch your desperate desperados-- maybe now we know they have
always been there-- and that you 9th Ward New Orleans, like the
lands beyond your levees, have always been armed.

The desperate do desperate things when made more desperate. And you 9th
Ward New Orleans have been made the lowest of the low-- but like a
savior born in the feeding trough of a jack ass ñ you are the birth
of the blues.

America does not understand that you cannot feel the joy of song
without the blue note of pain. And it is pain you have felt. So who
can blame you when you never do ask "Good Morning America how are

I don't recall America ever asking you. 9th Ward New Orleans, it is you that is alive.

Yes, Lake Pontchartrain once again had itís evil wicked way with you,
and you will bear itís pain for a coonís age, and a slow painful
birth will come as a distant trumpet joins your blues.

And when the world asks, "What is that sound?", a Caribbean accent
will answer, "It's just music. It's Jah's Music-- yes, it is Jazz

Your water will break and a new Louis Armstrong will spring
from your loins to blow his trumpet with the mouth of your river--
and that music-- 9 th ward new Orleans , will turn the gulf of Texaco
into the sea of Galilee.

Katrina Cuts America to the Quick End


If you know that the Red Cross and United Way and a lot of the big name
charities have been scandal-plagued and are top-heavy with bureaucracy, but
you'd still like to make a donation that will actually help the poorest
citizens of New Orleans, Biloxi, and the many small Southern towns
devastated by Katrina, you should do so through the American Friends
Service Committee.

Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious
objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, the AFSC won the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for its work with World War II refugees --
especially prisoners liberated from Nazi concentration camps -- and its
opposition to nuclear weapons.

It's still Quaker-run, and its sterling history of agitation and education for peace is matched by its long record, for nearly a century, of effective, on-the-ground service to victims of war and famine, and to the impoverished both here and abroad. (The AFSC also has an extensive LGBT program.) A gift to the AFSC won't be wasted. They've established a special Hurricane Relief fund to which you can donate on-line -- so visit the AFSC's home page and follow the links to the online
donation form by clicking here:

Katrina Cuts America to the Quick End

The New Orleans Looters Are the Bush Progeny

by Mike Whitney
September 3, 2005

So far, the most revealing part of the New Orleans tragedy has been Bush’s reaction to the claims of “widespread looting” throughout the city. Aside from the fact that most of these people were either foraging for food and water for their families or, as the mayor of New Orleans said, drug-addicts looking for a “fix”, Bush used the charges to promote himself as a tough-talking straight shooter with a low threshold for lawlessness.

“I think there should be zero tolerance for people breaking the law during an emergency such as this,” Bush boomed on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco echoed Bush’s sentiments by deploying National Guardsman to the city and adding, “These troops are battle tested. They have M-16s that are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot to kill and I expect they will.”

Wow, talk about blaming the victims!

Would Bush and Blanco really kill a man for pilfering diapers and bottled water for his family?

Bush’s “law and order” approach to the tragedy is consistent with his utter lack of sympathy for the victims of this colossal disaster. As always, he simply reiterates the private property dogma that underscores his ideological worldview and disregards his role as “compassionate conservative.”

Bush is a firm believer that looting should limited to the class of carpetbaggers and war criminals to which he belongs. He has no problem with the “no-bid” contracts and war-profiteering that has plagued Iraqi debacle from Day One. The $9 billion of purloined Iraqi oil revenue never even drew a raised eyebrow from our benighted leader, but the notion that that corruption might be extended democratically to everyone regardless of class -- now that’s the REAL crime as Bush sees it.

The vast looting and destruction in New Orleans is an object lesson to the ruling class and one that ultimately benefits revolutionaries, antiwar activists and civil libertarians. The people in power need to grasp the ephemeral character of society; there’s nothing permanent about it. Social order is a transitory phenomenon that papers over the primordial swamp of human rage, desire and barbarity. When we peel back the outer layer of society, we see those same dark forces at work: a cauldron of competing emotions and shadowy cravings. Those forces are now in play on the streets of New Orleans, along with the even more elemental drive to survive.

What bothers men like Bush is the prospect that everyone may partake in the same nihilistic revelry that he and his confreres have enjoyed for so long. It is the anarchy of unrestrained greed that puts a shiver in his spine, the selfishness that infects every man’s heart. And, yet, this is the true face of present day America: a lawless, twisted waif unleashing waves of terror across the globe, feeding the burgeoning coffers of its privileged few.

Why not uncork the bottle and let everyone take part in the festivities?

As the poet Yates said,

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed
And everywhere the celebration of innocence is drowned.”

Now, the Bush-dimmed tide has been loosed in New Orleans and the city folk are enjoying the same evil pleasures as their Washington doppelgangers.

What’s good for Bush is good for everyone isn’t it?

And, let’s not forget the sage observations of Donald Rumsfeld who said of looting in Iraq, “Yes, people are ransacking hospitals, burning down buildings and fighting each other in the streets, but it’s not that bad. Stuff happens.” (Pentagon briefing, April 11, 2003)

Yes, and now stuff is happening in New Orleans and everywhere else haunted by the Bush specter.

The roving gangs of looters are like a giant mirror hung in front of the White House reflecting the anarchic soul inside. Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Falluja, these are the sordid images beamed back from the glass. These are the Bush legacy and, now, they are America’s too.

Bush can’t have it both ways. He cannot destroy the law and then pretend it still exists for the poor and helpless.

The looters in New Orleans are the offspring of the Bush political ethos, a no-holds-barred culture of violence, thievery and impunity. They are his blood progeny and his rightful heirs.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at:

Bush Back from a Vacation from Reality