Eyehategod Frontman Reflects on Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later
Katrina happened over five years ago, but the memory of one of the worst natural disasters in American history is scarred on the brain of Eyehategod singer Mike Williams, and rightfully so. Williams, who has moved an hour away from the city since Katrina, witnessed the hells and the horrors -- that most only read about -- firsthand.
Williams likes living the area in which he resides now, since it still affords him closeness to the city. But he hasn't forgotten what he's seen. "I think about it every day. Everyone here does. Everyone has their own story, whether they evacuated or not. I didn't evacuate. I stayed through the storm. I have more post traumatic stress disorder from it. I saw some crazy stuff, and it was super sad," Williams told Noisecreep.
Williams didn't bounce from New Orleans despite storm warnings for a simple reason: He didn't have the means to get the hell out of Dodge. "I didn't have a car, mainly," he said. "I did leave like five days after the storm, since no one was coming to help us. I acquired a car and left."
One can ascertain from context clues that "acquiring" a car was something he did illegally. "It was so desperate that that's what people were doing," he said. "It was survival mode. I saw dead bodies, people getting beat up for no reason. I saw the looting. I was in the middle of it. I saw people going down the street driving a taxis or school buses, stealing everything. I saw a car with a poker machine chained to the back, dragging, since they were going to break into it. People were like zombies at one point."
Despite the PTSD, Williams doesn't stay away and still loves New Orleans and is there often. "Part of me wants to go back and part of me doesn't," he said. "I am on probation, so I have to stay here for now." He also feels that the vitality and culture of the city is still there. "The music is back. Some of the people are back," he said. "There is a ton of abandoned property. It's not as noticeable, but can you see the spray painted on the houses."
In addition to EHG, Williams also released a book, 'Cancer is a Social Activity,' which is a collection of dark poetry and short prose, which reads not unlike his EHG lyrical content.