I'm stuck, y'all, and the airlines stuck me.
This is the third time they've cancelled a flight on me, damn it. And yes, it was because of bad weather in Dallas, where I was supposed to be on a connecting flight in the afternoon yesterday, but they couldn't get me on a flight back to Jackson until Tuesday. So I ended up with my in-laws, once again. Had to call up the religious school where I teach on Sundays and the elementary school where I teach art to let 'em know I wouldn't be making an appearance, and then my son and I were whisked off to an IHOP and then to San Jose's Tech Museum.
First off, the Tech is super cool. And we didn't even make it through the whole place. Fear and trepidation on my mother-in-law's part that the place would be "too old" for the little guy proved unfounded. The kid was rocking every hands-on display on the second floor of the place, designing his own rollercoasters, seeing what rendered objects such as a space shuttle would look like with frog skin, and checking out some shadow displays.
Why were we only on the second floor, you ask? Because the IMax theater in the place spits everyone out of the theater onto the second floor of the Tech after each movie. What did we see? God help me, we saw Hurricane On The Bayou.
First off, I know we saw it largely because my father-in-law was curious about it. I figured, okay, I can make it through this. I might end up hating the thing, but I just need to see it as research...riiiiight...research...see what people across America will be seeing when they pays their money and takes their chances. Plus, he paid for it. What the hey.
Surprisingly, it lays out the environmental issues very well, in the guise of young fiddler Amanda Shaw researching the coastal erosion problem for a school project. I applaud this film for that. Three months into what was supposed to be a fairly straight educational film promoting wetlands restoration, Katrina hit, and, serendipitously, the cameras of MacGillivray Freeman were there to film scenes of water in New Orleans' streets, of Tad Gormley Stadium as a lake with stands poking in and around it, and of Buras, Louisiana, after the storm.
Maybe I'm being a pessimist, but I think the whole thing ended on too much of a happy note for me. A NOLA radio show host once said around a long-ago JazzFest time that it seemed like all the world's problems could be solved at the Gospel Tent at the Fest, and (quasi-spoiler here, folks - sorry) much as I would love for Marva Wright to sing our way out of this mess, it just ain't that easy. Hell, Ms Wright herself hasn't gotten back to her rebuilt home until fairly recently. There was too much of a neat little package of coastal erosion's devastating effects in Hurricane, and the bow to tie it all together and reverse the trend is supplied by the music and culture of south Louisiana, according to the filmmakers.
Uh-huh. I wish. I hope so. I'm not so sure, sometimes.
What I regret most of all was bringing my son in to see that movie. He enjoyed seeing the early scenes of alligators underwater, and, on seeing the aerial shots of New Orleans, he exclaimed, "Mom! It's the Superdome!" But then, they re-created some of the in-storm effects digitally - the collapse of Buras' water tower, storm winds peeling off pieces of the Dome's roof - and showed some of the immediate aftermath, and my son clutched his popcorn, aghast.
"Mom, is New Orleans okay? Is New Orleans all right?" he asked me.
I had to do it. I had to tell a four-year-old the straight truth in a way that he could understand.
"Some of it is," I told him, after a long pause. "Some of it is."