(I plan to keep this post at the top today, and will be adding links as time allows.)
A year ago, Katrina came ashore, wiping out entire communities along the Gulf Coast. The storm destroyed lives, dreams, and homes, and exposed hitherto unseen societal and governmental failures on an unfathomable scale.
The media has given a lot of attention to the hundreds of thousands who haven’t yet returned — who may never come back. We’ve read about their challenges, anger, and bewilderment at events and forces that have directed their feet onto journeys never anticipated or wanted.
What we don’t read a lot about is the other hundreds of thousands of people who, in the face of daily turmoil, depression, and chaos, are giving every possible ounce of human effort to pick up the shattered pieces and move forward.
To all my many friends in New Orleans: I’ve been searching all week for something profound to say for this post — some magical combination of words that would express the feelings, memories, and emotions about Katrina, but the refrain that keeps playing in my head is… I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that the levees failed, though they should have been easily able to withstand the forces they faced. I’m sorry that the leaders upon whom you relied failed you at every level. From the President to the Mayor, they let you down, and continue to do so.
I’m sorry that every day is a hardship — that the things the rest of the country take for granted, like power, water, garbage pick-up, and drivable streets, are memories and goals. I’m terribly sorry that the failures of the city somehow skewed the perceptions of what happened to the levees, and that Nagin keeps making everyone look like a fool.
And I’m sorry that this anniversary doesn’t mark the end of the suffering, but is merely a marker on a very long road.
Along with all those I’m sorry’s, though, I’m incredibly proud.
The people who are living and working in New Orleans are trying to re-make their lives in spite of it all. Gutting their homes, helping their neighbors… fighting for a future in that unique, beautiful, and tragic slice of America.
Late last night, one of those friends sent me a graphic to display today as a sign of solidarity. Her email said, in part:
“The last couple of weeks approaching the anniversary have been difficult for those of us still living in the shadow of the failure of the levees. Tomorrow will be extremely difficult – Recovery is at a snail’s pace and thousands are still displaced. Despite this, I have hope New Orleans will rise again.”
In spite of it all, she has hope… and as a result, so do I.
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Pay a visit to the New Orleans Bloggers today.
If you still think Katrina destroyed New Orleans, read this post at Wizbang.
By all means, let’s declare a War on Hurricanes!
Think Progress tightens the spotlight.
Every time I read this article, the second paragraph makes me gag:
“It’s amazing, isn’t?” he told a gathering under a sweltering sun. “It’s amazing what the world looked like then and what it looks like now.”
Bush was in Biloxi when he made these statements, but they apply to New Orleans also… in a much different way. Amazing.
Tara Young writes one about love, and it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite posts.
Bush seems to have said all the right things to New Orleanians today. We’ll see…