I'm getting so excited about the arrival of StoryCorps this week that I've been ignoring my blog duties. Duties is not the right word here, because I started the Realgoodblog to document my reading life and my radio life with books. Though I wasn't quite sure I had the time,I've often thought that I mark my life by the books I read. So noting my reading is in some ways, noting my life.
I want to tell you about Phyllis Montana-Leblanc. I had the chance to have a conversation with her last week and I was impressed by how candid she was.
Here's the thing: August 29th is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I am sorry to say that though I remember the devastation of that storm and the devastation of the lack of government relief, because I live here, at the absolute OTHER end of the Mississippi River, it didn't have that much impact on me...which I know is a callous thing to say.
That's why I'm glad I had the chance to meet Phyllis Montana Leblanc. You may know Phyllis from Spike Lee's documentary "When The Levees Broke". She was the outspoken star who told it like it was. Now she's telling it through her writing in her memoir "Not Just the Levees Broke - My Story During and After Hurricane Katrina".
As we talked and she told me how it began, how the walls in her apartment bubbled - or like her husband said - he could hear the walls breathe... she admitted that even talking about it made her heart beat and her hands shake a little bit. She saw bodies float by, she saw helicopters come and helicopters go, leaving her behind. And yet, she is still here, just recently out of their FEMA trailer and in their very own house.
She struggles still, combatting fears, trying to help others who haven't been as fortunate as she has. But as she told me, she has faith. And that is why she made it.
You can hear our conversation here.