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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Orleans

Until last week, Anthony D. Gatt worked in the MaltaMedia News team, usually on weekends. He left our news team to move to the USA where he will continue to study at an American university. Starting this week, he will be attending Tulane University in New Orleans.

Yes, that New Orleans. The one that was pelted by Hurricane Katrina yesterday. If it wasn't for this violent storm hitting the colorful city on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama I don't think I'd be writing about Anthony's exploits on my blog. I barely know him. He has only worked with MaltaMedia for a brief period of time. However, we had struck up a casual correspondence when he decided to go study at Tulane.

I have a tangential connection with Tulane because two of my professors at New York University graduated from that university in the 1960s before moving to the Tisch School of the Arts. Besides this, New Orleans has a special place in my life because it was the first major American city I visited in 1994 when I first moved to the United States. I have very fond memories of New Orleans, mostly touristy stuff, but there's more of course, because I don't consider myself as a typical tourist. Some of that will make it to my autobiographical project in due time; I don't think it's appropriate for my blog just yet. I feel very awkward even thinking about the fact that when I first visited New Orleans my girlfriend's name was Katrin, especially because more than 50 people have lost their lives to a hurricane called Katrina.

What a horrible way to die. Not that there aren't worse ways to loose your life, but death by storm must be a terrible way to go.

I hope Anthony is OK. I have no way of getting in touch with him right now. I doubt he has access to his email because most of the New Orleans area is still without electrical power. I doubt his stay in this beautiful city will be as pleasant as it could have been without this weather disaster. Still, it could have been worse.

Anonymous anthony david gatt said...

Hi toni its quite oki and im in texas dallas right now...ur web blog is the third website i logged on because ima regular readre , asu might now. it has been quite an experience for me.

so after travelling from malta to heathrow normally and boarding my plane to miami the first comments by the plane's pilot where about a trpoical storm shaping up...but later Katrina grew stronger. we couldnt land in miami because of the continous heavy turbulance so we went for the safer airport in orlando, florida. b.a gave us accomodation there and we got another plane from orlando to miami the day after just to experience anothet night in miami in a phantom hotel with no power. the day after I got a plane to new orleans.

but the thing was, katrina was now moving to louisina aming directly at N.O. So my arrival there was quite disrupted as when I reached the Tulane campus people where already out of their dorms shaping up the evacuation mode.... today...4 days later tulane campus is under litres of water with semester commencment postponed to september 21st earliest.

luckily enough we found refuge in the gym of jackson stet university in misisippi where we passed the following 3 days in 

12:48 PM, August 31, 2005
Anonymous Anthony D. Gatt said...

ghost like atmosphere with power being cut off in the 2nd day when the 'leftovers' of katrina hit the missisippi area. with water not available as it got contaminated and no power to cook food it was quitye difficult to manage but we all survived with the folks at jackson state being really helpful and friendly... now ... four days after my supposed arrival in new orleans im at the methodist southern university waiting to get a flight towards Los Angeles where I will stay with frinds I made during my 'stay' in the US. Hoping for a semester to take place and for tulane campus and new orleans to go back to their much accalimed splendor a activity...

so thats all about it... I come back to yoy safe and sound... with loads of spelling mistakes.... at 5.56am from Dallas, Texas, US!

thanks for your concern...

Anthony D. Gatt

12:57 PM, August 31, 2005
Blogger Toni Sant said...

Glad to hear you're safe and sound, Anthony!

Keep us posted about developments on your whereabouts and your unexpected adventure with Tulane and New Orleans. 

1:01 PM, August 31, 2005
Anonymous Anthony David Gatt said...

The last two days have been much better than the first phase of my stay in the US.

But it still looks like that Tulane will not be able anytime soon and semester is still very much in question. We are supposed to have more official information in 2 days time giving the exact procedures and target dates of going back to campus.

On a general perspective the country looks all united in this, universitys all over the US are opening for college students from the hit area giving scholarships, waived tuition fees and free accomodation/ food. The state of texas, where I am right now, is one of the most active in this 're-build' effort with special funds being created and students kicking off aid campaigns.

the louisina citizens, as you alL know, have now been transferred from the previous shelter at the Superdome and transported with scores of buses towards the Astrdome in Texas. So yes there is quite some activity going on as the situation in NO looks really bad with further bad weather hitting the zone and hindering rescue and analysis processes that would lead to the future rebulidling effort. Some are adding their evaluation comments with president's Bush comments that this is one of the worst natural disasters that the US has experinced since years with the affirmation that 'NO was, but will never be again'.

I will not travel towards California as planned but I am to stay here at the Southern Methodist University of Dallas, Texas for the next couple of days untill Tulane divulges new official information.

Being a Katrina refugee means that people go out of their way to help you and asking you repeatedly to contact them if you wanted anything, before leaving your company for something else.

so this is it, a country which is physically devasted by this event but which like anywhere in the world sits up for such an occasion and bonds with anyone in need to make them feel that much better.

god bless all the victims and their mourning family.

May Katrina never be again! 

2:48 AM, September 02, 2005
Blogger wwwitchie said...

I just figured out where I know the name Anthony D. Gatt... It's been niggling me for days...

Well, Anthony, think of all the dinner party conversation you can monopolise with "I was there when ... "

Take care. 

4:54 PM, September 03, 2005

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