This American Life is one of my favorite things on radio. If you’ve listened to any of my podcasts, you know that I desperately want to sound like a This American Life episode.
Anyway, whether you’re already a fan of the show or not, you owe it to yourself to listen to yesterday’s broadcast. Norm of Onegoodmove has the audio: After the flood.
It features lengthy interviews with two of the people in that group led by the two San Francisco paramedics, who got kicked out of their hotel several days after the hurricane, and ended up on a surreal odyssey of flooded New Orleans, culminating with their being driven back by sherrifs firing guns over their heads when they attempted to walk out over a freeway bridge.
The program also features a heart-wrenching interview with 18-year-old Ashley Nelson, who lived in a New Orleans housing project, and who survived the aftermath of the hurricane at a relative’s house in a New Orleans suburb. As when I was listening to Aaron Broussard talking about Tom Rodrigue’s momma on Meet the Press, I was moved to tears, but this time I have no doubts about the honesty of the voice I was hearing.
TAL: How scared were you?
AN: I thought I was gonna die. I mean, I look at it like this now: 9/11 was bad, because it was terrorists. You know, it’s no surprise people hate the United States. It’s no big surprise.
I mean, but New Orleans was worse. Because it was our own goverment who betrayed us. They betrayed us. They betrayed us. Like, they left us there to die.
And then you hear George Bush telling the FEMA man, “You doing a good job.” What do you mean by that? What do you mean by that? Because I mean, people are dying there. So you telling him, he’s doing a good job, what you’re saying, like, that’s good that people are dying?
I never understood that. And I really wish I can meet him, to ask him, what do you mean by that, he’s doing a good job?