Just got off the phone with Michael "Mixx Messiah" Gerard, who is a deejay, friend, consultant in my book, and – until Saturday afternoon – resident of New Orleans. He and ten members of his family (and the dog) now live in two motel rooms in Houston. He describes his condition as "numb".

Although they left before the official order to evacuate went out, Michael and his family still encountered a huge amount of traffic. I mention that only because virtually insurmountable traffic is another factor (in addition to lack of money, lack of car, lack of driver’s license, and lack of anywhere to realistically go) that jackasses overlook when they say that the problems were people’s own fault for staying in New Orleans.

Another thing he mentioned, that I never would have thought of, was just how socially awkward and like weird it is to be a refugee. It’s not even an issue of pride. Just like, how are you supposed to behave, as a refugee? What is proper refugee etiquette? He’s never had to think about it before.

On another subject, he pointed out that, in addition to the chemicals, oil, gasoline, human waste, human bodies and other crud that rescuers have to contend with, the waters of New Orleans offer something else that you won’t find in most of the rest of the U.S. …alligators. Great.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many of our traditions (Muslim, Jewish, Hip-hop) greet or say goodbye to people by wishing them "peace". I’ve been thinking about what "peace" means– real peace of mind, heart, body and soul – and how serious it is to wish that for someone.

Peace, Michael.
Peace, everyone.

There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air;
If you listen carefully now you will hear.
This could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last:
Many more will have to suffer,
Many more will have to die.

Don’t ask me why.
Things are not the way they used to be.
I won’t tell no lie.
One and all got to face reality, now.

Though I try to find the answer to all the questions they ask.
Though I know it’s impossible to go livin’ through the past.

Don’t tell no lie.
There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air.
Can’t keep them down.
If you listen carefully now you will hear.
Such a natural mystic blowing through the air.

Bob Marley, "Natural Mystic"