Saturday, September 02, 2006

Grong Grong surfaces in Memphis; Sula's video gets industry attention; African wild dogs arrive in New Orleans; etc

A year ago, the dogs and I arrived in Atlanta after finally finding gas and access to money in northern Mississippi. But you can read all about that in my book, or in the archives here.

Meanwhile, back in the present, a journalist in Memphis contacted me to let me know that Grong Grong, the dog Brando was in love with before the storm, is now living in Memphis.

Jambalaya is still awaiting adoption at a shelter in Ohio, but the staff loves her and have been feeding her a little too much--apparently she's a little chubby.

Sula's video with me was selected by The Book Standard for their weekly column highlighting the best author videos.

My appearance on C-SPAN is, quite unexpectedly, available on DVD.

"The Dogs Who Found Me" continues selling like hotcakes over at

And tomorrow, I'll be going to the zoo to see African Wild Dogs.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Silver Lining

Headline in today's Times-Picayune:

Study: People Standing Tall After Katrina

Survivors report drop in suicidal thoughts

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Year of Magical Thinking

In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion writes about how for the first year after her husband's death she measured time by recalling what she and her husband had been doing a year before. A year ago we were on vacation, a year ago we had dinner with friends, etc. Then, after a year, she could no longer find comfort in looking back that distance, because a year ago he was dead.

This morning I had coffee with a friend who asked, "What do we do now?"

A year ago, I was trying to find ice and water in Mississippi, but no one knew where it was. The Red Cross kept directing us to places that were not distributing any supplies at all.

At some point, I drove out to try to find my vet in Petal, and when I reached the top of a hill, my cell phone began to work, briefly. I called a friend and asked him to post a message online:

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
A Ken Foster Update
Hi Everyone,
This is Ken's friend Case in Florida. I spoke with Ken today (his phone is finally working, though only intermitenttly) and he asked me to post the following things.
1) He is ok.
2) He is still in Hattiesburg, MS, but as conditions there worsen (no ice, water, a/c etc..) he is heading to Tallahassee.
3) He and the dogs have a place to stay here
4) His words, "It's total chaos. No one is in charge or seems to know what's going on."

He should be available by phone and email soon.

A few more dates on the road

Tuesday September 12: Davis Kidd, Memphis
Friday September 15: National Arts Club, New York
Saturday September 16: Bluestockings, New York (benefit for Social Tees)
Sunday September 24: TBA, Atlanta, GA
Monday September 25: Clayton State University
Tuesday September 26: The Warehouse/FSU, Tallahassee, FL
Monday October 16: Books,Inc, San Francisco

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

George Bush returns; rebuilding screeches to a halt

Sky News
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Remember when you were young and got your photo redone each year: for the yearbook, or the sports team, or the band, or whatever club you were in? Mr. George Bush remembers it like it was yesterday. So he came down to take some commemorative photos, because he remembers doing something similar around this time last year.

And what did this accomplish? Traffic stalled all across the city. People forbidden to drive from one side of Canal Street to another. General chaos. I'd been hoping to get groceries, dog food and also drop by Tulane to get ready for classes tomorrow, but I was asking too much of Bush to allow the city to function that much in his presence.

In the parking lot of the grocery store, I ran into Elizabeth Pearce in her matching green Element. We block traffic ourselves, caught up in our ranting. "You know what's amazing?" I say. "At this point it would actually have been less embarassing for him if he hadn't come here at all. He actually would have looked better if he had just stayed home."

I had, during my struggle to make it across town, considered turning around and waiting along the security route, so that I might "communicate something" as Bush drove by...but I decided to be practical about it, and just keep moving.

Disaster commemoration fatigue

Monday I was exhausted by 6pm. So were all of my friends. We cancelled evening plans. We wondered aloud what could be draining us. It hadn't been that hot. We hadn't over extended ourselves. I think it was just cumulative weariness.

Lost among the past month of anticipation and anxiety: Brando's sixth birthday. And my own birthday, which is coming up on Saturday. Last summer I walked Brando to the French Quarter for his birthday, and we did some shopping at the Three Dog Bakery. The store no longer exits. Last year, my friend Andy was planning a party for our shared birthday. The party never happened.

Currently, Brando is asleep at the bottom of the bed with his head on my knee. Sula is snoring and talking in her sleep on the other side of the room. Zephyr is quiet as a mouse in the next room.

This time last year, we were in Mississippi, without electricity, without gas, and without radios or television. It was sometime on Tuesday that we heard for the first time that the city was covered in water. But we didn't quite believe it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A year ago, before the power went out...

Monday, August 29, 2005 (3am)
I'd like to sleep through this...
but I can't. Not only that, I'm watching the hideous, gleeful FOX News coverage, in which the newscasters clink their champagne glasses while announcing that New Orleans will certainly never survive. (And what great ratings we'll receive!)

Brando is at the door to my host's bedroom, where she is sleeping with her terrified cat. Brando, meanwhile, is whining, because he thinks she should be sleeping with him. And I think he should be with me in my sleeping bag. The sleeping bag is borrowed, after I tried to go to Walmart to buy an air mattress and discovered that they had closed. (I thought they were all about serving the community!!!)

The maps, even on FOX, look like my street back in New Orleans might be safe from flooding. I really want to go back there, eventually, and find that my street is intact and inhabitable. I miss it already.

Shortly after this post, the electricity went out; and around noon the eye of the storm was overhead, sending a huge tree crashing through the roof.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Katrina's macho cousin Ernesto threatens to slap us around for all the trash we've been talking

Yesterday, I spent part of the morning shoveling the gutting remains of a house on St. Roch while one of the owners sat in the back room surrounded by his remaining possessions, including some remarkable paintings he'd done of the neighbhorhood in his youth. The night before I'd received a call from old woman in Texas who was trying to find Thelma Foster, her daughter, who supposedly lives not very far from me. "They don't know I'm still alive," the woman said, yet she didn't seem to understand that I didn't know who her daughter was, and she couldn't give me a specific address of where I might find her. Thelma, are you out there somewhere?

At Bacchanal, our commemoration of last year's wine-tasting was cut short by talk of Ernesto, and whether we should be booking hotel rooms now, just in case. Today it looks like he may spare us, but not Florida.

A year ago, I had made it to Mississippi, where I thought the dogs and I would be safe:

Sunday, August 28, 2005
We escaped...
This morning I woke up, looked at the flood map that had been posted online, and decided to bolt. While I was getting the car ready, Sula ran away and I had to chase her five blocks while people who were loading their cars screamed in horror. Afterwards, it was kind of funny. But at the time I was terrified that I was going to have to leave New Orleans with only two of three dogs.

This is what I managed to take: Three dogs, three dog crates, a change of clothes, dog food, some wine and cheese.

Everything else, I think I'll never see again.