Here on the 3rd anniversary of Katrina, I’m cleaning house to prepare for some friends coming up from Louisiana to stay in case Gustav becomes some massive hurricane and makes landfall in Central Louisiana. I can’t help but reflect on all that has transpired since Katrina came. The mismanagement and corruption of the current administration was exposed for all to see and for once, the American people got angry. Watching the footage of the squalor in the Superdome and seeing a large part of a city I love flooded, I could do nothing but cry tears of anger. How could the wealthiest country on the face of the Earth allow for human beings to be treated such way? Where was the dignity? The respect? Why was no one in power taking responsibility? When Bush said, “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie,” I wanted to throw things the TV. How dare he? People dying by the hundreds, homes destroyed, lives devastated, and all he can do is praise someone’s ineptness for the sake of political making nice.
I gave money and material donations to help people staying in a local Red Cross shelter, but I felt completely paralyzed. The scale of the devastation was far more than I could bear. I didn’t see the city until nearly 6 months after the storm, and I’ll never forget my first glimpses of the wreckage. I felt like I was driving through the wreckage of a Third World country after a war, and the eerie quiet and desolation chilled me. How could a place once so alive feel so…dead? Everywhere we went, there were contractors, volunteers, and others in town for reasons related to the storm. Restaurant workers were especially kind and attentive. Bartenders smiled and laughed despite the fact they’d lost their houses and everything they owned. Cab drivers thanked us for being there. I knew the city had changed, but in many ways, it was ever the same.
I hope and pray that a similar tragedy does not occur, and that everybody who may be in danger gets out safely and quickly. I pray the levees hold up this time. But I know that no matter what happens, the people of New Orleans will uphold the spirit of the city and they will overcome whatever obstacles they will face.