Friday, September 02, 2005
Watching the news becomes more and more difficult as the extent of Hurricane Katrina's damage becomes clear. It's been a week now, and it looks like the response is finally where it should have been on day one. There will be plenty of time for finger pointing afterwards, but suffice it to say, Congress dropped the ball big time on this. All of the 9/11 readiness drills, all of the alerts, the government telling us we're ready to react in the face of a cataclysmic event... well, now we can see how ready we were. Most chilling of all is this article from December 2001 edition of the Houston Chronicle, which proves a lot of people knew about this and were told to prepare not months, but YEARS in advance. If you don't have time to read to whole article, consider this quote
"...earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.Economically, the toll would be shattering.Southern Louisiana produces one-third of the country's seafood, one-fifth of its oil and one-quarter of its natural gas. The city's tourism, lifeblood of the French Quarter, would cease to exist. The Big Easy might never recover.And, given New Orleans' precarious perch, some academics wonder if it should be rebuilt at all."
The New Orleans we knew will never exist again. It will be rebuilt, gentrified, maybe better than before, but the soul will not be the same. And the media has all but ignored the smaller cities and towns like Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which have been wiped from the map. This has affected millions of people. If you can give money, please give money. My wife and I are developing a website (savebigeasy.com) where we will sell prints from our 2003 trip to New Orleans, with all proceeds going to charity. It should be up and running by Monday night. You don't have to help through us, but before you log off to go enjoy your meal, or your sofa, or do your laundry, or pay your bills, remember how lucky you are to have those things