Storm Aftermath: Music and Hope

Some years ago we took a family vacation to California, and I found myself riding on a streetcar in San Francisco. While the rest of the family clung to the sides as the car rolled up and down the hills, I stood on the back platform and talked with the conductor.

“Where ya from?” he asked. “Houston,” I said. “You got them hurricanes down there?” he asked. “Yeah,” I said. “We got them earthquakes here,” he said. “At least you can see those hurricanes comin’. We don’t get any warning with earthquakes.”

Okay. He wins the natural disaster sweepstakes, I suppose. Whether or not you can see these things coming, and whether or not one lives in a place that gets hurricanes or earthquakes or droughts or blizzards, it’s always tough to see bad things happen to good people.

Yeah, we’ve gotten our fair share of hurricanes where I live. I know what it’s like to have the power out for days, even weeks, and what it’s like to eat the quickly rotting food out of a dead-for-days freezer. My whole family knows what it’s like too, and it ain’t fun.

So I can feel for the folks in New Jersey, New York and other points north who are still trying to survive, and come to terms with their trashed houses and neighborhoods. The best advice I can give ’em? Hang in there. You’re still alive, act like it. And remember the next guy is suffering too, so have a little compassion.

From New Orleans to New Jersey and New York: the great Allen Toussaint with a song he wrote, long before he finally recorded it for a Katrina benefit.

The folks up north are getting their own telethon: “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” airs tonight (Nov. 2) at 8 p.m. (EDT) on NBC-Universal stations. The special will air simultaneously on NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy, The Weather Channel and USA Network.

It will also air on HBO, according to some reports, and other networks may join in before air time. The telethon will be simulcast on Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Radio on SiriusXM and tape delayed for the West Coast. Matt Lauer will host.

“Coming Together” will include performances by Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Sting. Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams are also scheduled to appear.

Hurricane Sandy: How You Can Help (NBC web site)

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