Thirteen years since Hurricane Katrina destroyed the lives of over a thousand New Orleans residents, scattering survivors throughout the country. And yet, based on our abysmal response to the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, we’ve learned little. Get this year’s annual Katrina recognition dedicated to Puerto Rico started.
Shamarr Allen creates the intensity of a hurricane with the opening track of this show “Katrina and the Flood.” It’s become almost a tradition to play that song as well as Marva Wright’s heart-wrenching “The Levee is Breaking Down” which comes off her post-Katrina album, After the Levees Broke.
This year’s show features the KAOS premiere of “You and Me” a song written to dramatize the story of Tim Bruneau, a New Orleans police officer who was working when the levees broke. Bruneau found the body of 23-year-old Marie Latino after the hurricane had passed but before the city had started to flood. After several attempts to have the body picked up, he put her in the back seat of his car. But after failing to find a hospital to take the body, he was ordered to “undo” what he did. He placed Latino’s body in a body bag and returned it to where he found, where it floated on flood waters until it was picked up a few days later. The song is poignant and haunting. An autopsy later revealed that she had been shot instead of killed by the storm as originally believed.
Sonny Landreth song “Blue Tarp Blues” references President George Bush’s famous looking out from Air Force One and Marcia Ball sings Randy Newman’s ode to the 1927 Louisiana flood. I finish the show with Dee-1 and Shamarr Allen singing about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico titled “Sorry Ain’t Enough No More.”