Wrath of God Strikes Smoketown

It’s starting to quiet down out there. My shotgun home in Germantown suffered only a few brownouts at the hands of this Biblical Flood, and a moderately soaked basement. Lucky.

I was out earlier (sans camera, unfortunately) driving through Smoketown via E. Kentucky, and the scene was insane: Fucked-up, out-of-commission cars haphazardly strewn onto sidewalks or in the middle of the street, clogging the half-flooded one-way, their owners standing nearby, arms-crossed or nowhere at all; the odd, bulky tow truck crawling by, lights flashing against the gray, soggy environs; human and natural debris — mushy cardboard boxes, articles of shit-covered clothing, bottles, scraps of plastic, ubiquitous black sludge — scattered about as if an MSD truck had been charged with equal parts garbage and ammonium nitrite and detonated at Hampton Park. It was everywhere.

Old Louisville was hit hard, too — downed trees at Oak St. virtually severed the neighborhood’s main vehicular artery, causing all manner of detours and perquisite homicidal driving: A golden Sedan nearly hit a bicyclist at an intersection and, without warning, cut in front of a blind-spot-residing black pickup and jettisoned across three lanes while making a left turn onto Floyd. Simply priceless.

Later, at Broadway & Barret, Beargrass Creek was violently cresting at the goddamned banks of the canal wall. Half of the eight-lane road was underwater, and my thought (like Mr. Bailey’s) was: given the legacy of the ’37 flood — wherein Louisville’s gentry up and packed their gilded asses to the East End, which contributed much to the West End’s current physical and economic state  — aren’t the same “poorer and blacker” residents getting pissed on by failed post-merger promises if they’re still improperly protected against natural disasters?

2 Comments

  1. Mike at The Big Stick
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I’m having a lot of trouble following the narrative that this flood is evidence that the West End is neglected. There was flooding al over town. The urban areas (read: less grass, more concrete) flooded more heavily. That’s simple physics. If the city came in and ripped out lots of asphault, demolished every third packed-together shotgun house and replaced it with a water-absorbent lawn…would that make everyone happy?

    Perhaps the question is: when there is variable-level home pricing all over town, why are so many minorities congregated into the West End? Is there some sort of invisible fence which keeps them from leaving? I live in the East End near Worthington Hills / Cold Stream. At least 50% of those neighborhoods is black and yesterday the yards and streets were all free of water.

    I have as much pitty for the black folks that live in the flood-prone West End as I do for the white folks that live in flood-prone Okolona and Fairdale, which were built in Louisville’s flood plain. If you live in bad areas…move. If you want to be around people of the same race, there are plenty of other minority-heavy neighborhoods all over the county.

  2. Mike at The Big Stick
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    This weather map seems to explain some of the problems in the West End. Or maybe it’s just a government conspiracy using the COBRA weather dominator.

    http://brokensidewalk.com/2009/08/05/great-flash-flood-of-2009-where-the-rain-fell/

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  1. [...] Sweet sassy molassey! The concert event I’ve been waiting for all summer, Deerhunter, is tonight at the Southgate House in Newport! And I better not be stymied by our ill-tempered God in our attempt to hang tough with Braddy C, Lotus P, and the whole rabble rousin’ gang. As of right now, rather gnarly, apocalyptic weather abounds. WHAS is reporting that it’s all 1937 up in this bitch. I’m currently listening to NOAA weather radio, and to paraphrase, everything is “fucked” in Louisville as we speak, especially the suburbs on the Indiana side. Large stretches of the expressways are shut down, the buses are running 90 minutes behind schedule, and lots of mellows are harshed throughout the area. LEO Weekly’s Jonathan Meador has very good (and contextual) coverage of the insanity in the River City today on our news blog. [...]