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Well, it seems at the moment that we've survived Gustav. Early reports indicate that we probably had 3-5 feet of water under our house (which is about 8 feet up on stilts), so, perhaps no serious harm done. We'll know more later today when some of our friends still in Bay St. Louis check back in with us. It's been interesting to watch all of the news reports and coverage.

This storm we spent in Grand Bay, Ala., with Heather's folks, and never once lost power. Yesterday was a constant wall-to-wall Gustav story ... today, mostly back to business as usual.

I'm glad. I'm happy that there isn't nearly as much to say as there was after Katrina. True, I've got some serious, unpleasant work ahead of me, cleaning out my shop/studio under the house ... and true, my lawn mower, bicycles, BBQ grill, and various hand tools (and possibly the water heater) will need to be replaced, but, that's small potatoes compared to last time.

So this morning I was watching some news shows (trying to see if I could go back home ... I can't) and saw some coverage of the Republican National Convention. First off let me say, I'm somewhat politically agnostic ... I'm sure there's some perfect system out there, I just don't know what it is, and this year I'm really having a hard time deciding which Ivy-League Educated Millionaire will best represent me and my interests ... but my point was about the Republicans.

The reporter for this segment was making a great deal out of John McCain's comments about cutting back on the ceremonies, and only doing those things which were absolutely necessary at the convention. The reporter then went on to show footage of the lavish parties, flowing drinks, and live bands at the parties last night. As they shone their camera's lights on embarrassed looking congressmen, senators, and other Republicans they asked, "Don't you feel any qualms or have any problems about attending a party like this while this disaster is going on? Is this party one of McCain's 'absolute necessities'?"

That's when I thought, "YES!! It is absolutely NECESSARY!!!"

As a proud former resident of New Orleans, let me assure you that if the evacuation had not been so dire or urgent, New Orleanians WOULD HAVE BEEN partying exactly the same way! (Wherever they were, I'm sure they were partying as best they could!) Even those of us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast would party as well. (Even I threw a Hurricane Party/Art Show the day before evacuating!)

How does it help those of us in harm's way for those people to stay home and feel bad? It doesn't.

That's also when I thought about all of the caterers, florists, bartenders, waiters, and especially MUSICIANS. For everybody WORKING at these parties, they were absolutely a necessity.

As some of you might know, I'm a musician. My wife is a musician. My father, sister and brothers are all musicians. Our friends are musicians, waiters, bartenders, florists and caterers.

The organizers of these parties (Republicans) made it possible for all of these artists and service workers to survive and pay their rents, and buy groceries, and do what they do for a living.

After 9/11, many people felt guilty about celebrating anything, or doing anything that might seem ... inappropriate. No one had any Christmas parties that year, and Mardi Gras was extremely subdued ... But these are the times of the year when musicians and waiters and all the rest make much of their money for the year.

I know many musicians who couldn't make house payments that year, and many who had to scale back on many of the necessities of daily life.

So I say to the reporters, let these Republicans have their parties. As I shovel mud out of my shop, I will hold them no ill will.

If New Orleans and the Whole Gulf Coast stand for ANYTHING, I think it would be the idea that you will always have care, strife and trouble, so find your fun when you can. I know that my friends on the Coast understand that just because we partied last night, that doesn't mean we won't help you rebuild your house tonight.

And we really hate to see a good party spoiled by something as trivial as a hurricane.

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I'm SO GLAD to hear that you and Heather made it through Gustav fairly intact. I am sure that is such a weight off your minds and I hope you can continue to keep working! Without musicians, this world would be so dour.

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