Flood Water Everywhere, Sixth Excerpt From Eliza Player’s Memoir
One afternoon, Johnny and I wandered far from the apartment, casing the damage in surrounding areas. We waded up to Memorial Auditorium and through the surrounding cemeteries. Water still lapped the sides of Memorial Auditorium and I remember waiting out a bad trip in this same parking lot, one night.
I had gotten into some acid, during the Jazz Fest; unbeknownst to me at the time someone put it in my drink at The Abbey. I had tickets to see Widespread Panic, but my head had been full of acid for at least two days. The world had become too distorted, and somehow I ended up in this parking lot.
I sat in the parking lot all night, holding tight to the green bottle of Jameson. In the other hand, I had a couple of orange methadone. My head swam with acid, and my body taunted me with dope sickness. I clung to both the methadone and the liquor, too scared to go into the Auditorium. I clung to my substance abuse, and my only sense of reality, as I wandered around this small parking lot, afraid to leave the perimeter. I peered over the fence into the cemetery beyond, and my mind was flooded with all the mangy things that could be lying beneath the dirt just beyond the chain links in my hands.
Now, I stood in this same parking lot, with water up to my waist. The doors of the Auditorium, closed tight, and held in place by the brunt of the water. The square, plain building just seemed to rise out of the water, and in the distance I remembered all the dead bodies. The cemetery, too, lay covered in water…just past the chain link fence.
We had no idea what time it was when we left, and the sun started going down when we were practically up on Tulane behind the I-10. The sun went down faster than I had ever remembered and Johnny and I had just approached the I-10 near Claiborne when it was pitch black. That place in dangerous in the daytime, without the floodwaters!
We carefully made our way back to the apartment. It took us almost an hour, pushing through the water. Johnny carried a weak flashlight, and I could not see my hand in front of my face. My flip-flop kept falling off, and my foot would crash down on the pavement way under the water. My hand flailing around in the water, searching for the flip-flops, until I finally lost them both, and waded barefoot throughout the water. He fearfully rushed, and I could not keep up. We heard firecrackers of gunshots. The moon was my only light source as I struggled to see Johnny prodding along ahead of me. The ripples on the water lit up, dancing on the surface. Below, the water gathered dark and thick like an oil slick. I kept thinking that anything could be in here…anything could be lurking anywhere…
We did not even venture out in the late afternoon after that.