On this day in 2005, hurricane Katrina made landfall as a Category 3 storm, breaking levees, flooding neighborhoods, and killing 1,833 people. Let that sink into your head a bit. Do you remember where you were ten years ago? I do.
I was in California, watching all of this on T.V. as it happened. I was at home from my job, so it was a Monday or Tuesday. I watched and prayed for the entire city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in general. I knew hurricanes were an annual thing which peaked at about this time, but what I learned was that the city of New Orleans was willfully unprepared for the tragedy it was facing as time wore on. There were rumors of violence in the Superdome, which were later disproved. People chanted and screamed for help. When help did finally arrive, it was almost always overwhelmed. Families were shoving and throwing their children on buses to nearby Houston and other places. I was literally numb with pain for all of those people, and due to the largely black makeup of New Orleans’ lower classes, I always wonder: if this were an earthquake in Beverly Hills, a mostly white and rich area, would the response be more effective because it was a mostly white and rich area?
We almost lost our respect for authority in those times. One rapper even said, “George Bush don’t care about black people,” which is literally untrue and the lowest point in the administration. I don’t think the problems with the Katrina disaster could have been solved through George W. alone, just like Hurricane Sandy’s problems could not be solved through Obama alone. In a disaster, it is usually a
Ten years later, I have decided to write about Katrina because I am seeing the uneven recovery that New Orleans is experiencing. Much of the Lower 9th Ward, a lower-class neighborhood, lies in ruins, while the French Quarter is better than ever. It makes me wonder if we still treat the poor like trash, when this should not be. New Orleans is rebuilding, but can it survive another Katrina? Will the government make these things sure? It shudders me to think that maybe this might not happen in time. I care a lot about the poor and disadvantaged, because they are getting frustrated again, and might turn to feared and hated ideologies in order to meet their needs. This happened in Russia; it can happen here.