Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Two tribes 

In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming "tribes" and dividing up the labor.

As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property. In a bar, a bartender put near-perfect stitches into the torn ear of a robbery victim.

While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods - humanity.

"Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."
Nothing surprising. Extreme events - whether war, or natural disasters - bring out extreme reactions out of people; either special heroism and generosity which are not required at the times of peace and tranquility, or special barbarity and callousness that a well-functioning society normally manages to contain. In New Orleans we hear stories of gangs raping women and shooting at rescue helicopter, but we also hear stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Today's related must-read from EjectEjectEject about his two tribes (no relations to an old Frankie Goes To Hollywood song).


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