Katrina - One Year Later

I’m going to take a slight detour from my mission statement today. I feel that I need to, in some small way, pay homage to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It was a year ago today that Katrina made landfall - twice - as a Category 3 storm in southeast Louisiana, then at the Louisiana/Mississippi state line.

Katrina had gone through Miami five days prior, as a Category 1 hurricane, with 80 mph winds. It actually made landfall about 5-10 miles north of where I was living at the time. I grew up in the deserts of Southern California. Earthquakes, I knew. They hit; they’re gone; you move on. I had spent the days before Katrina watching it form and drift around the Caribbean, as I had the previous storms. For me, the watching and the waiting are the worst part. Once the storm hit, I realized full-on the severity of a hurricane. I came home the night of the 24th to no power, pounding rain, and howling wind. One of my windows broke during the storm. I was without power for four days. When my office reopened, I was ready to go back to work where they would feed us and there was air conditioning.

We were fortunate.

The New York Times ran some Katrina stories in its Sunday edition. The Times Magazine also featured a photo essay on the effects of the storm on children. Many areas of New Orleans have not been, and probably will not be, rebuilt. It’s almost as if the rest of America has forgotten it and moved on to newer, more interesting headlines.

After making it through Katrina, Rita, and Wilma last year, I feel a lot of empathy for the people of the Gulf Coast who were left homeless by Katrina. I was in Houston a couple of weeks after Katrina. I stayed at a hotel where I was one of the few there by choice. I saw the “evacuees” walking around the Astrodome, looking dazed. I feel I was very fortunate that my power was out for a few days and I was only slightly inconvenienced. I didn’t lose anything other than some food, and emerged unscathed. I still had a home. I still had my possessions.

As I write this, Tropical Storm Ernesto is starting its trip straight up I-95. The stress and anxiety has already began, with trips to the store to stock up on water, cereal bars, and batteries. At lunch this weekend, people were already talking about needing to fill up their cars with gas to beat the rush and crowds.

So, for whatever it matters, I offer a small prayer to those who lost friends or family members, or were left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Not everyone has forgotten.

Louis Armstrong When the Saints Go Marching In.mp3

Katrina Help Web site.

post script
If you happen to wander by this week and don't see any activity, it's not that I'm slacking again, but that my power and/or Internet service has been knocked out.


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