The Gulf Coast
I hope it's not overkill for yet another blogger to post something about the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the havoc it wreaked on the Gulf Coast, but after four days of nearly obsessively reading and watching the news, I couldn't help myself. We have all seen the images and read the articles but I don't think any of us can really comprehend what these people are going through...and frankly, what they are going to have to go through once they are (hopefully) able to return to what remains of their homes. I'm trying to wrap my mind around it, but I realized, I can't. Why? Because honestly, this is an issue of class. And I have the inestimable fortune of being middle to upper middle class. Natural disaster, unless it takes a direct hit and maims or kills me and my family, is rather avoidable for us. We could leave, we have resources to rebuild, we have places to roost across the States or Canada.
Look at the photos on the news sites. These are not people who had much in the way of resources to begin with, and I think they are coping insanely, almostly incomprehensively well with a beyond miserable situation. You read all these reports of looting and lawlessness and violence, and while it is deplorable, especially when directed at rescue operations or medical personnel, it is kind of understandable. What else is left? There IS nothing left to lose. Why not take care of yourself?
That being said, I hope for the sake of the remaining New Orleanians, these circumstances are improved vastly and quickly. As a proud (half) Texan, mad props to the state for opening their doors and hearts to the evacuees...Texans, especially along the Gulf Coast, understand that a couple more miles west and life could have been very different. My mother grew up west of Houston and remembers all the hurricanes that did hit.
One thing though that I hope gets some more attention is that there are other communities along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts that need help just as much. The people who live there are in the same situation as those in New Orleans, they just don't live in the Big Easy, they live in nearly forgotten hamlets. Please add them to your thoughts and prayers and donations, should you be able to do that as well.
There is a Tragically Hip song that has unfortunately been running through my head the last few days, "New Orleans is Sinking". Radio stations in Canada have opted to pull it from playlists, for which they should be applauded. Maybe it should be a reminder though, that once the city (and others) start the rebuilding process, hurricanes like this aren't necessarily a one-time deal. Make the levees stronger. Have emergency relief more quickly accessible. Remember that there are tens of thousands of people who don't have resources and probably never will. And remember that disaster seems far away but it's happening to fellow human beings.
by at September 02, 2005 6:59 PM