Sunday, August 29, 2010

Flooded with Painful Memories

It was five years ago today that Hurricane Katrina clobbered southern Louisiana, causing initial storm damage as it passed through, but also provoking the breakdown of New Orleans’ levee system, which led to 80 percent of that beautiful city being flooded and thousands of people losing their homes or their lives. As bad as the natural destruction was, it was compounded by the incompetence of America’s then Republican administration to respond to the needs of Katrina victims. Half a decade later, New Orleans is still suffering the effects of that disaster.

I’ve been to the Crescent City once since Katrina hit, and it’s looking much better than it did in the hurricane’s wake. “New Orleans is coming back,” declared President Obama during an anniversary visit to the city today. He’s right, of course, but it must also be said that Louisiana’s most historic city is a changed place, a place at once stronger and less diverse than it was before the storm. It will be decades before New Orleans overcomes its sadness and cynicism born in those tragic days of 2005. I hope I’ll be around to celebrate its rise from the floodwaters for many years to come.


Anonymous said...

With all respect to our New Orleans friends and neighbors, Katrina clobbered Mississippi, too.

kathy d. said...

Yes, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

I agree that New Orleans is not as diverse. A lot of people could not come back--no housing, no income, now prices too high. It's not the same city as it was, unfortunately.

Winifred said...

What the rest of the world couldn't comprehend was why the richest country in the world didn't respond to the needs of its own citizens. Was it just the incompetence of that government? It made it easier to understand why that government wasn't also responding to the needs of the less developed countries at the G8 summits.

It was very sad to see. Good that those states are recovering even if it has taken a long time. After disasters of any kind things are never the same, but people are stronger and hopefully wiser!

kathy d. said...

I think it's more than that the government didn't care or was incompetent. The government can wage wars and send missiles from U.S. soil and land with precision the second and location they are aiming at thousands of miles and many oceans away.

The will wasn't there. No organized response was made. Helicopters could have picked people off roofs. Rescue boats could have gotten people. Food aid, tents, cots, water, bathrooms could have been gotten to people. The government does it in wars. It can do it in peace.

School buses could have been commandeered, commercial boats, Coast Guard vehicles, every food bank and pantry, military tents and cots. Medical teams from hospitals could have been drafted and sent it.

And if officials couldn't do it, then get administrators who could do it from any organization.

It could have been done. The will wasn't there do do what was needed.

I ask if this catastrophe had happened in Long Island, NY, on East-, West-, Bridgehampton, etc., wouldn't the government have taken care of this--and fast? Or if it happened in ano other wealthy enclave?