[meteorite-list] New Orleans meteorite caused Katrina!
From: Darren Garrison <cynapse_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 13:25:42 -0400
I really hope this guy was kidding-- it would sadden me to think a superstitous
nitwit flake owned a nice meteorite like that.
The rock that ruined New Orleans
It's taken three years since The Thing, but we've finally found an explanation
why so much has gone wrong around here the past few years. And it's probably not
what you suspect.
Just over five years ago, a meteorite crashed through the ceiling of a home in
Broadmoor, and since then everything has gone down the toilet.
Yep, that's it. That's the cause of Katrina, the flood, FEMA, Ray Nagin and
everything else that's happened since then, down to and presumably including
Martin Gramatica's missed field goals.
All this, of course, depends on whether you believe the theory of one Robert
McDade, New Orleans scientist, mineral collector and certified eccentric.
McDade, a retired petroleum engineer, is the proprietor of the Southern Fossil
and Mineral Exchange on Magazine Street. "My little rock shop," he calls it. And
he is convinced that the Broadmoor meteorite is the source of our communal
Some background: Five years ago -- Sept. 23, 2003, to be exact -- a 40-pound
meteorite crashed through the roof of the house owned by Roy and Kay Fausset, on
Joseph Street, between Claiborne and Fontainebleau. It was a rare occurrence,
enough to merit not only a story in The Times-Picayune, but People magazine as
The meteorite was not particularly notable for its size, structure or
composition. In fact, as meteorites go, it was pretty low-grade.
"It was not magnetic," McDade says. "This one basically looks like a piece of
concrete. It looks like a piece of street corner curb that got busted up and is
lying in the street."
To the naked eye it would be hard to tell that this was a messenger from the
"In general, it can be very hard to tell" what is a meteorite and what is not,
McDade says. "But there are tell-tale signs."
One sign would be the combination of the minerals olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase
and troilite -- all of which were contained in the Broadmoor meteorite.
And there's another clue.
"When one falls through your roof, that's a pretty good indicator," McDade
Such a phenomenon is called a "witnessed fall," which makes the heavenly debris
not only an extremely rare object, but also a particularly valuable one, at
least in the eyes of meteorite collectors, a group McDade calls "a fanatical
It took McDade six months to negotiate a deal with the Faussets to acquire the
meteorite; to specialized collectors, these things are like baseballs hit by
Babe Ruth or locks of hair from Marilyn Monroe.
"I don't know that I want to tell you exactly what I paid," McDade says. "But
let's just say that witnessed falls can fetch a good price."
The Faussets have been generally media shy about the whole episode and did not
want to comment for this story. But Roy Fausset did say, in a 2003 interview:
"I'm in shock. I will certainly go to church this Sunday, because the Lord was
certainly sending me a message."
And that brings us to the point, the connection to Katrina, to the deluge, to
the horror of it all, and why that dang meteorite screwed the pooch for all of
"Historically, meteorites, especially observed meteorites -- witnessed falls --
have been considered bad omens or good omens," McDade says. "People take this
stuff seriously. Through the ages, there has been much significance when a
meteorite falls. It makes a very dramatic entrance. It breaks the sound barrier.
It leaves a vapor trail.
"People have always asked: What's this all about? What was the message? What was
it trying to tell me? In the Middle Ages, that was always the question. For
instance, in times of war, it meant you have been given the blessing for
As for the question of whether a particular meteorite spells great fortune or
doom, McDade says, "Often, it takes a couple of years to find out."
That's the gig with New Orleans. Just 10 days before the fifth anniversary of
the meteorite strike, Louisiana was severely impacted by its fifth named storm
in five years.
"Very rare," McDade says, ticking off the names Cindy, Katrina, Rita, Gustav and
Coincidence? That's for you to decide. McDade has little doubt.
"Five years after the fall, five hurricanes have happened. That's a bad sign, I
would say. Five years later, if you consider the circumstances, you would have
to say this was a bad omen. It heralded not great things coming our way --
hurricanes, politics, the disappearance of the wetlands."
Not convinced? Well, consider that the house it hit took 8 feet of water and was
destroyed by Katrina. By any measure, that's bad karma.
"The message was: New Orleans, get your act together," McDade says.
But, with the sequence of "5"s played out, McDade suggests the stretch of the
meteorite's message of dread may be over. He suggests we're in the clear. And he
also says, in the Big Picture, maybe we got lucky.
"It could have been worse," he says. "I'll tell you what would be bad luck: If
New Orleans got hit by an asteroid. That would be bad luck indeed. If that
happened, we would be wiped out. We should be thankful it was just a meteorite."
So, who says there's no good news? Just be careful with this information. And
remember: Next time you pray to the heavens for a sign, keep in mind that you
might get more than you're asking for.
Received on Sun 19 Oct 2008 01:25:42 PM PDT