The Hurricane

by Lou on September 1, 2005

I was gonna write about some poker hands today, but I’ve been spending too much of my time watching televised coverage of the disaster that’s New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf. It’s compelling, overwhelming, and too big a disaster to really take in emotionally in one fell swoop, which is why I’m watching this footage over and over again until it seeps into my brain and I can begin to make some sense of it all.

One of the guys many of us know quite well from the Internet poker newsgroup rec.gambling.poker is Rick “The Voice of Poker” Charles, a guy I’ve played poker with and been a guest on his internet radio broadcasts. He’s a friend. Now he’s in North Carolina where he went to outrun the storm, and his house — located about two blocks from the water in Biloxi — is toothpicks.

He’s down to the clothes on his back, and can’t even access his own money. He had it in a local Biloxi credit union that’s a stack of toothpicks too, so he won’t be able to get his own money until the credit union gets a new site and retreives it’s offsite backup data. In the meantime, Nolan Dalla has started collecting funds for Rick and his family and it seems the entire poker community is responding with aid as quickly as they can. I guess all things are relative, and this makes Rick much better off than a lot of people I’ve seen on TV who don’t have the support group he has, and are left with the clothes on their backs and no one to help them out.

This is the biggest disaster I’ve seen in the United States. I think New Orleans will take months before they can even start to rebuild. First they have to stabilize the levees, then pump out the water, and then make sure there’s electricity and that the potable water system is OK. The flooding in New Orleans is not just a problem with water because the city is ringed by petrochemical plants so the flood waters in the city carry all the chemicals that have leeched into the soil and the flood is really a toxic waste soup.

It’s a nightmare of disease waiting to happen and evacuating the entire city for as many months as it takes to get an infrasructure back in place seems to be the best approach. I’m guessing that many of the refugees from New Orleans will never return. After three to six motnhs in another place, you begin to build roots there, get jobs, find a place to live and when you consider that there’s nothing for them to come back to, I’m guessing that the population of New Orleans will drop by a third to a half.

If you’re a poker player and were going to go to the tables today, take the sum of your normal buy-in and give it to flood relief. If you know Rick Charles, you might just want to contact Nolan Dalla at nolandalla@aol.com and see about helping Rick out. If you don’t know Rick, find a charity that’s involved in this and send them some money.

One thing about Americans: we’re a generous people in times of crisis. And that’s what this is. It’s a disaster of unmitigated proportions. And we can all afford to help. Even a little multiplied by many makes a lot.

thank you………..

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