ITEM: Both Matt and Bart have updates. The Royal Pendletons are playing a gig this evening in Memphis, which seems a perfectly sensible way to deal with the fate of the band’s city. Bart and company are safely ensconced in a rainy Bloomington.

ITEM: Having nothing at all to do with the topic du jour, high school co-conspirator and Gulf War One Navy vet Wes Burton called me tonight to let me know that other high school co-conspirator Therron Thomas has gotten word that he’s being deployed to Iraq. Therron’s a 20-year full-timer in the National Guard, devoting most of his time to work as a training sergeant, so while he might prefer that things were otherwise, I’m certain he’ll be as well prepared for his tour as anyone possibly can be. Wes and I will be working together on some care packages for the Sergeant and his men.

ITEM: Returning to the knee-deep topic at hand, I hadn’t been able to mention that that Times-Picayune blog has some really quite wonderful writing, if occasionally, um, overboard. I was savoring one particular piece, about a boat tour of a flooded neighborhood, when an interesting recycling of Thomas Pynchon actually caused me to burst out laughing, probably not an intended reaction.

And then a screaming came across the water. To his right, Parks saw a woman gesticulating wildly from a second floor balcony at her home. Parks, a captain of sport fishing boats and offshore supply vessels who works out of Gulfport, Miss., navigated closer.

ITEM: I have a persistent case of half-remembered songs about New Orleans rising in concert with the waters, lapping at the sandbags of my mind. Under it all runs a funereal, no lyrics, brass-band version of St. James Infirmary. Up front, Tom Waits (I Wish I Was in New Orleans) and Randy Newman (Lousiana 1927) are duking it out for time at the piano, elaborately filigreed chords overlapping and changing the dominant lyric at the moment of harmonic convergence, while in the background Arlo Guthrie (The City of New Orleans) warbles about a train ride. Professor Longhair and/or The Dixie Cups (Big Chief, Iko Iko) sort of amusedly fight to keep sliptime with the martial drums from Jimmy Driftwood’s The Battle of New Orleans (caution: embedded quicktime) behind the whole toxic soup of sonic residue. I’m sure the stew will grow more dense over the next couple weeks.

ITEM: Will someone please draft a note to the TV people that the omnious martial symphony crap is the wrongest music possible for a Gulf Coast hurricane and flood? See above.

ITEM: Finally for the night, I wanted to mention that I won’t be able to follow the course of the flood as closely as I have been due to some time commitments tomorrow that will likely carry through until Sunday, probably far enough in the future that much of the uncertainty surrounding events in the Crescent City will be resolved.