Posted by: ladola | June 16, 2007

Word of the Storm (background)

Hey, all, Catherine Boger here. To begin, the reason I’m down here: people need help.

It started with the storms. I learned about them through the eyes of Glenn Zeringue, friend, fellow Berklee alum, N.O. musician and true Cajun. Shortly after Katrina hit, his words began to paint of picture of the dismay and chaos the storms dragged in and dumped on their way through: the gone-forever possessions, lost work, apprehension, and simple relief came across with few words and a steady sense of humor:

9/7/05 (after Katrina)
Hello All,
Sorry about the mass mailing but I just had the eye of the biggest storm ever go over the top of my house and I’m pressed for time.

1st order of business: Christine, myself and all of the animals are ok. [T]he shell of my house is standing in Slidell. Everything on the inside and outside that wasn’t part of the house frame is TOAST! …trees, deck, shed, everything in the shed, clothes, electronics, books, important papers, Pig house, …some siding, shingles, you name it. Just look around your house; all that stuff……it’s gone.

School is done for this semester, all of my gigs are cancelled. Christine’s shop is flat, along with Slidell itself (we won the Katrina wind damage sweepstakes), my shop was flooded. …We are extremely fortunate though because I have 285 yrs’ of Zeringue family here to help us out. We are ok and extremely tired…

So I’ve had enough of the “most disastrous storm ever,” thank you very much. And since I’ve already done it; don’t y’all worry about it…

9/22/07 (During Rita)
…Here’s what we know. GOD is intent on wiping out ALL ZERINGUES from the Earth. This time it’s “Rita”. Cat 5/ bigger and stronger than Katrina. It took a turn this morning and is now making a beeline for both sets of grandparents (ages range from 75 to 85) and my mom.

I will be going west sometime today or tomorrow to collect all of the old folks and bring them to the farm depending on where this witch goes…

9/23/07 (after Rita)
…grandmother and mom are in Spurger Texas and are evacuating to the Baptist church… The 9th ward levee has been breeched again (9:20am CST) in New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico is flooding the Crescent City again. We have nothing left in Slidell to destroy so I guess that’s good.

We have no gas anywhere and there are 1000’s of people still on the highways. I will be moving along super secret Cajun roads.

Very quickly, Berklee began reaching out in various ways to musicians in New Orleans. I wrote to ask Glenn what he might need. I lost my entire music library. All of my Real Books, years worth of lead sheets, teaching aids, …demos, All of my Berklee materials, books, …Degrees, …cables, mics, …students, gigs …I can’t begin to describe what I need most. Well yes I do………….. STOP STORMING ON LOUISIANA!!!!

“Rita” swiped her nasty, nasty hands over the entire Louisiana coast before turning north… The storm surge flooded ALL, that’s ALL of the levees of south Louisiana. 100 mph winds were clocked as far east as Morgan City.

If y’all are allowed to have maps of red states: basically ALL, that’s ALL of south Louisiana, south of I-10 is blown down or is under some level of water (about the area of Massachusetts). Abbeville… where I’m from, is under 5 ft. of water. Trees are on the farm house. Barn and livestock are ok.

…What wasn’t ate up by Katrina is now ate up by Rita…2 more GB band members lost houses bringing the total to 3. Entire towns …are gone. …It’s just AMAZING! Every single person in LA has been affected in some way by KatRita. I’ve tried to get bummed out about this whole experience but then you talk to someone and they’re in the same boat! It’s EVERYONE!

We’ve heard that Bush is going to secede us and sell us back to the French. We’re a “fixer upper” for sure.



  1. Added more background 7/26/07 & edited a bit.

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