Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans No More

I am, as many of you I am sure are as well, deeply saddened by the level destruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We were so incredibly lucky. There were so many who were not as fortunate. New Orleans has a place in my heart even after a brief visit, and I was looking forward to returning. The city that I visited does not exist anymore, and never will again in the same way.

The horrific situations that exist currently in the city are unspeakable. You have most likely seen the stories on the news. So many people didn't leave the city, hurricanes are somewhat common here and the level of destruction is unprecedented. No one knew it could be this bad. The nature of the relief effort appears grossly inadequate at this time, but with so little communication from within the city itself, I think that we won't find out exactly how bad it is until sometime in the future.

This site makes a comparison between the portrayals of people of different races collecting food in New Orleans from defunct stores.

For anyone who didn't get a chance to hear it, here is the audio of a very frank interview with the mayor of New Orleans.

Our neighbors across the street have been driving to Mississippi every few days to bring supplies to family members stranded there. Diapers, water, granola bars, toilet paper... anything. They have also begun to supply food for neighbors who are not fortunate enough to have family members nearby to bring supplies. Late last night our neighbors came by and gave us their phone number, explaining that we should call them immediately at any time day or night if we see that any of the gas stations in town have gas. They have collected empty drums that used to hold peppers (all the other containers in town have been sold out) to fill with gas so that they can make the return journey back here to Florida, only to collect more supplies and return a few days later. They have been spending their paychecks on supplies, rushing to Target and Wal-Mart in the neighboring towns to compete with charitable church groups for the last few generators, fans, and boxes of diapers.

At the main intersection in town, the local firefighters are approaching cars stopped at lights and silently collecting donations in empty firefighting boots.

My heart goes out to all of the victims. If you are reading this please keep them in your prayers, thoughts, or good wishes, and of course please send donations if you are able.


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