Topic: "One Orbit of the Sun"(2)
One year ago today Hurricane Katrina was crossing the Florida peninsula and settling in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, and she was gathering strength. On the same day George W. Armstrong Custer Bush was clearing brush as he neared the end of another of his vacations from hard work. Michael Brown was busy issuing memos and wondering where he might have lunch. Antoine "Fats" Domino was relaxing in his modest home in the area known as the Ninth Ward, in New Orleans. Aaron Brown was preparing for his nightly chair of the day's events for CNN. Frodo trudged upward on Mount Doom, just as he had done the day before.
Hurricane Katrina struck Hancock County, Mississippi, head on, and swung in the direction of Lake Ponchartrain, which is the geographical north shore of the City of Orleans. The scene was set for the event that annually caused so many to mount hurricane tracking charts on the walls of "rec" rooms. A hurricane would raise water levels to the danger level and threaten the levee system itself, if the hurricane spun into Lake Ponchartrain.
If you've ever driven or flown in an easterly direction past the City of Orleans that high rise bridge to the Northeast of downtown spans where the first levee broke. The water spilled through that section of the Parish and engulfed all of the area between until it reached the Mississippi River to the South of downtown. The Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish are the points of reference at this point.
Almost five miles back from that break the 17th Street Canal separates Orleans Parish from Jefferson Parish. The second break occurred here, and the floodwaters poured into the Lakefront section of Orleans and on toward the Ninth Ward.
Frodo, like most of us, felt that the City had been spared. He did not yet know that the levees had broken once the hurricane itself moved out of Lake Ponchartrain and headed inland. Watching Aaron Brown one evening, he heard the impassioned reporting of Jeanne Meserve, and the impact of her words hit home.
The realization that comes when disaster strikes the homes and hearts of people and places that are part of your Shire, dear reader, is better than tomato juice and a raw egg. One gets sober very quickly.
One year ago today, Frodo felt that the City of Orleans would always be there, calling to him to come home and dance in her streets. Sam has said that going back now would be too painful.
One year ago today, Frodo was stung by the Sword of the Black Rider.