Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One Year Post-Katrina

It was one year ago today that Hurricane Katrina decimated my birth city (New Orleans), all but erased part of our favored vacation destination (Gulfport, MS), and wreaked havoc in the area I currently live.

Hurricane Katrina probably seems like 'old news' to the rest of the country, but it's still a near constant topic of conversation in our area. There are some areas that are rebounding and rebuilding. Too many other areas, the City of New Orleans especially, are bogged down by bureaucracy and indecision. I think in the immediate days following Katrina there was a real opportunity to rebuild and this time, to 'do it right.' Right some wrongs, fix what's broken...I'm just not seeing it, though.

There's no describing the allure of New Orleans. Its culture, its history, its charm, its attitude. Unfortunately it take more than a lotta heart to be a viable city. It also takes a brain. Despite its precarious geographic location, I never really thought a storm would be the demise of the city. Too bad Louisiana politics is threatening to be the proverbial final nail in the coffin.

The place in which we live has rebounded. We're booming actually since we have a lot of displaced New Orleanians who have decided to relocate to our area, many of them permanently.

A year ago, my family of 5 (plus two dogs) were staying at Uncle Harold's house in Lafayette, along with my father-in-law and two brothers-in-law. I remember watching the storm coverage on TV, day and night. After Katrina passed, the news showed coverage of New Orleans. A lot of high rise buildings with windows blown out, power lines and utility poles down, flooding in the predicatable areas. I remember seeing a shot of the Lakeview area of New Orleans and thinking, yeah there's water, but it doesn't look that bad. We survived the storm. Sense of relief.

Hours later, the levees broke. Those couple of feet of water in Lakeview suddenly became 8+ feet of water. Other areas, such as the upper and lower 9th Ward was similarly flooded. That's when the sigh of relief became a collective gasp of disbelief.

I've blogged about Katrina in late August/early September 2005. If you're interested, you can click on the archives at left. However, there's a columnist from The Times Picayune, Chris Rose, who really captures the feel for what went on and what's still going on. I encourage you to check out some of his columns. You can do so by clicking on his name.


Farm Girl said...

Having been to New Orleans twice and LOVING it I was so devastated by what I saw on TV. I cried tears for a place that was not even my home. May only good things happen from here on out.

Sue said...

I used to go to New Orleans for a seminar sponsored by Tulane. Met a lot of wonderful people, ate way too much good food and definitely drank too much.

I always argue with the people who say it shouldn't be rebuilt. I hope you all can come back stronger and better than before!

Elle*Bee said...

It really is a unique city. Despite the fact that it's essentially a 'bowl' built between the Miss. River and Lake Pontchartrain, it's still a major seaport which contributes to the rest of the nation's economy. The fact that it has survived the rule of three countries (Spain, France and the US), and has lasted these 300+ years says something about its resiliency. For those reasons and others, I believe it should be rebuilt.

There seems to be two major schools of thought: 1) let's think about what we want N.O. to be, and 2) quick, let's put it back the way it was as soon as possible. Both sides have valid points, but there's a lot about N.O. that needed fixing before Katrina and I'm wondering whether it will ever happen. One can hope...

Welcome to my blog, Sue

Lala's world said...

I have never been to New Orleans or your State but the devastation was mind boggling and hard to comprehend. It has been on the news a lot up here in Canada being that it is the anniversary and I have to say that I am SHOCKED that so much is still to be cleaned up, rebuilt and sanitized...just don't really understand what went so terribly wrong? and the empty trailers just sitting there and people still homeless.....breaks my heart!