Scout’s Farewell

Back in August of 2005 I was blogging at my little blog and had decided I was going to quit blogging. Then Katrina hit. I was compelled to continue blogging. After more than 3 years of blogging primarily about the recovery in New Orleans, I have come around full circle to that decision to quit political blogging. I find I don’t have much to say anymore…at least I wouldn’t say it any better than many others do.

I am not a writer, or pundit, or journalist (citizen or otherwise). I am just an American who felt strongly about the necessity of this country to right the wrong that had been done to the Gulf Coast and in particular New Orleans. I believed and still do believe that it is a moral imperative and that in not doing so we, as a country, as a community, risk losing our soul. I would submit that as a society we lost our moral compass when bodies were allowed to remain in the streets of N.O. for days and weeks, or in homes for months and even a year in some cases, as the powers that be argued over who would foot the bill to recover the remains of the victims of the flooding of New Orleans. There is something very wrong when such a thing can occur in a great nation. It is that issue that kept me blogging about New Orleans when many had moved on and moved me to question and look deeper, for if we were failing at such a basic level, what other failures were occurring I wondered. Of course time would reveal many failures and limited successes on our part as a nation and that is what I attempted to chronicle.

After a year I realized that chronicling was the word that best explained what I was doing. Early on I admit I had hoped my blogging could perhaps bring change but after a year I knew that was folly, hubris and naivety on my part. I had wanted to do more, always more. But as is so often the case when we seek to give, we find wereceive so much more than it would even have occurred to us to be possible. That was the case for me and I am forever grateful to so many for that.

I made many trips to New Orleans over the past years. I was given the opportunity to witness the people of New Orleans lift their city from ruin…out of love. Because it has been their doing…when often they waited and waited for help, fought against the misunderstanding and falsehoods, became the pawn in political fights, faced the sting of abandonment and worse. They taught me so much about what community is and that it is worth fighting for. I unabashedly admire them and I came to love their city.

I was in New Orleans a few weeks ago and this trip was purely for pleasure. As I rode the St Charles Avenue street car line for the first time I thought …this was what it was for…to have this moment, this experience, one so rich in history and so unique in the American experience. I was relaxing and enjoying New Orleans for perhaps the first time post Katrina. I thought though my work hadn’t come close to achieving what I naively had once hoped for, I hoped now that in some small way my work could be seen as anattempt atsupport of what they have done. I hadn’t changed anything but I hoped that perhaps my blogging efforts had helped them feel not soalone.If I achieved that I guess that is pretty good.

Witnessing their love for their city made me look anew at my own. I realized how much I had taken for granted here. I find myself now falling in love with my own local and am better for it. I had wanted to move to New Orleans yet this journey instead brought me home.

Finally I have been graced with wonderful friendships which will last a lifetime. It was lb0313 who invited me, a stranger, into her home. I can never thank her adequately for the many experiences and all she has shown me, but thank her once again I will. Thank you dear friend.

As another anniversary approaches, focus will once again turn to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It is my fervent hope that such focus will last more than a day. If one were to ask me what to blog on that day, I would say post the simple yet poignant graphic the NOLA bloggers post, seen here. Then write about New Orleans on the day after and the week after and in the months after the anniversary. Because it is not over, they are not OK yet. I hope we can make them and us OK once again.

I want to thank all of the great readers and commenters here at First Draft. You’re the best. I have so much gratitude to extend to Athenae for bringing me here, for her editorial guidance over the years and especially for her friendship. You have been so supportive, words can not do it justice but Thank You A!

As for my future, I plan to do some bike blogging at this site–Bike Scout. Stop by anytime

Thank You ALL and if you will indulge me one last time…I always found writing to be painful but I did so enjoy making my little videos. So here are a few of which I am particularly proud:


61 thoughts on “Scout’s Farewell

  1. Thank you Scout. Your persistence and compassion is an inspiration.
    Bike Scout is now bookmarked too!

  2. Thank you… because of you, my family and friends got more involved in NoLA recovery efforts… every little bit helps! And your videos have been gorgeous — I have sent them on many times over.
    Have fun biking!

  3. Thank you so much, Scout. It’s folks such as yourself that have kept the chronicling going, and it seems fitting that your next-to-last post was about Harry Shearer, who mentioned at this year’s conference that New Orleans lost the media war on what really happened. He said we needed to keep plugging away at not just what happened, but why it still matters to all of us in this country, and you are one of those voices that helped keep it out there outside of this city of mine.
    I can’t believe that I’m crying right now. Just keep coming to visit and hang out when you come on down. You’ll always have a place in our homes and in our hearts.
    Yashir koach and be well.

  4. You are such a class act.
    Love you my friend. Guess this means I better get off my ass and ride a bike!

  5. So the phone will ring at 10:30 at night and Scout’s number will pop up and it’s been some absolutely bitching 18-hour day but it’s Scout so two hours later we’ll still be combing through raw video of Bush golfing from five years ago on the CNN site because Scout thought she remembered seeing something on a newscast and Mr. A will be giving me looks like, “Um, honey, I need the phone back …” and we’re cackling about some dumb thing some pundit said and planning our next trip somewhere and trying to figure out between my hockey schedule and her work schedule how we’re going to meet up the next time I’m in Madison because breakfast with Scout is like espresso for your soul and people, that’s what the past three-plus years have been like.
    You challenged me to be a better writer, to think better and harder, to give myself less slack, to care more. You did that for me and everyone else here. We talk all day long around here about the slack we cut ourselves, about how we let ourselves walk away from something we KNOW we should do. You didn’t walk away and you didn’t let anybody else walk away either. I will never forget some of the things you wrote. I will never forget that trip to NOLA and the wonderful people I met through you and all the things I would never have dreamed of seeing if you hadn’t showed them to me.
    You’re the one who deserves thanks.

  6. I completely understand when you say that many others can better write the things you feel and want to say. But, please, don’t diminish any of your efforts. Your concerns and work have been personally inspiring. You just represent a common sadness that one individual effort seems so small.
    I’ll miss you here, but I admire you and value knowing you.
    (And being naive is often a good thing; it really is better to recognize the hope that it represents, instead of just sitting on the porch saying “Hey you kids, get off the grass!”)

  7. You have no idea how much you meant to many New Orleanians in the weeks after the storm.
    You have no idea how much you, unlike so many others, just “got it.”
    Thank you. You’re welcome here any time.

  8. While I have no right to say so, I strongly hope that you will find that retiring from this blog doesn’t suit you and you’ll pick political blogging back up. You have a knack for making the situation seem real (as opposed to appearing on TV where it seems almost like it is an entertainment program).
    Short of that, I hope you come back as a guest blogger on a regular basis.
    In all cases, thank you.

  9. Scout, what you’ve done has been so appreciated. More than you’ll ever know. As one commenter said, you were one of those from elsewhere who “got it.” That in itself was huge. Please know you are appreciated for that and your support of the NOLA bloggers.
    As for biking, well, I’ll be checking in on your new blog for sure.

  10. Damn it!
    I saw “Scout’s Farewell” in my feed reader and my throat tightened. When you’re thinking you didn’t do much, remember that and the comments above, and those sure to come below. Your Katrina blogging, so early, so quickly, after the fact was CRUCIAL, on both sides of the NOLA:Everywhere Else divide. I know you’ve done so much, maybe you don’t remember it, but I do, like it was yesterday. You galvanized a lot of people, you passed along vital information, you bore witness, you wrote amazing posts, turned on that video camera and drove through the Ninth Ward.
    I, among many, ain’t ever gonna forget what you did, Miz Scout. No one person ever won a war, and you didn’t win this one. But goddamn if you didn’t kick some ass in your share of battles. That’s more good than a lot of people will ever accomplish in their lives. I am not exaggerating.
    All that said, as much as I’ll miss your posts here, I’m glad to see you moving to something new and exciting and fun, that feeds you and makes you happy. You deserve it. I sincerely hope you won’t be a stranger. I can’t imagine the Crack Van without ham.
    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  11. Scout, I’ve probably never commented before, but I’ve read you often. You’ve touched more people than you know and you did make a difference. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  12. We’ll all miss you as an advocate. I’m kind of jealous of your decision to break away and wish you the best.

  13. Scout you will be missed. So much of what you have done, whether fighting or inspirational has helped those of us in New Orleans and along the Coast.
    Be Blessed, and remember you are always welcome in this old city. Thankyou.

  14. I found First Draft because of your posts after Katrina, so THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart.

  15. What a day … it’s my son’s 10th birthday … I find out about the death today ofsomeone who played a big role in my early career (he died in the same hospital where my son was born — weird) … and now this. I don’t know how to feel.
    Scout, you always have been an inspiration to me, and I know that will continue. I always wanted to write as clearly and thoughtfully and snarkily as you and Athenae and the rest of the First Draft crew (krewe?), and I’ll keep striving for that goal as well. Your work in New Orleans, both your reporting and the elbow grease, left alasting impression on the city and, not incidentally, on me. I’m happy to have shared some of this journey with you, and I’ll look forward to reading your bike blogging and more.
    Don’t be a stranger.

  16. Scout I am so glad to have met you and to have read your work. At times when the post levee failure depression got on top of me you were a primary inspiration to continue slogging through.
    You’re not that far away now since L and I moved to Cincinnati, and anytime you come through you have a place to stay with cats and creole cooking. As a fellow cyclist I’ll follow your new blog, but it is your work here that has been a source of strength for the NOLABloggers. You were a bright and shining example that someone out there still gave a rat’s bottom about us and for many that was a lifeline.
    Love you lady, you’re always a NOLABlogger to me!

  17. Damn. I totally get why you’re doing this, but it doesn’t make it any easier on our end.
    I want you to know how deeply I respect everything you’ve done over the years I’ve been reading your work. You are far better than you give yourself credit for, and you made me feel like a total slacker.
    Don’t be a stranger, ‘k?

  18. Thank you so much for what you did for all of us, blogging as you did. For me you made the Katrina a people story, a story about real people just like me caught up in a crazy nightmare that never seems to have stopped. Until then, Katrina was something that happened to “them”. Now, I am well aware that it happened to all of us, and I dread that someday I may be closer to the middle of the next episode. It’s hard to put it into words, but only because of your writing I realized the true disaster that was Katrina/Bush. I will miss you here.

  19. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for the city of my birth, childhood, teen and college years and more. When I couldn’t be there for my family and friends physically, you were. I can’t think a a more loving act toward a city. Peace and blessings to you, scout!

  20. Thank you, scout. Your videos and your writing have made me cry more than anything else in the last few years. They also made me mad and more active as well. It’s a gracious thing to be able to impact people in the way that you have, and I’m grateful.
    Grace and Peace to you always.

  21. Good luck, Scout. You lived up to the original’s name in so many ways. Hope to see you round town some day again.

  22. It was an honor being part of the First Draft Krewe.
    Thank you for touching my life, inspiring me to pack up and go to New Orleans. It was awesome.
    Peace and happiness.

  23. You kept the focus on when a lot of people wanted to forget and move on, when so many could not.
    All the best to you.

  24. NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo.
    love you for all the heart you’ve put into this…
    will miss your voice.

  25. Thank you so very much, Scout: to paraphrase a song, you’re someone who is essential. It’s a privilege to know you.
    I’ll be regularly reading Bike Scout.
    Tell Willie B. that Tigger and myself both say “meow.”
    All the best to you and your family.

  26. Scout – for every person posting here, there are a couple of thousand readers who feel the same way.
    You did something no one else could do.
    You made people care.
    A, say something – make her take it back.

  27. Tommy, I’d hold her here with bungee cords and a whip if I could, but somebody who’s done the kind of work she did deserves to go out when she wants to and be in the sun for a while.

  28. I’m very sorry to see that you are leaving. I have enjoyed your writing very much.

  29. Aw, Scout.
    Thank you.
    Ride well. Travel safe.
    Remember us to Willie B.
    I miss you already.

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