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.