Who can forget the horrible imagine of New Orleans seven years ago today? I know I never will. I spent the entire night up flipping between news channels as Katrina advanced upon the city. Anderson Cooper, bless him, stood inside the storm longer than the other anchors as I recall, nearly being blown over at times to keep everyone informed. And at the end of it we all breathed a sigh of relief. The eye of Katrina had not hit the city as everyone had feared and it was not the Category 4 or 5 that some had feared it would be....and then...
The city's levee systems failed and we all watched in a sickened sort of horror as the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas were engulfed in water. And no one came. For days the people left in the city were abandoned, dying of dehydration and drowning, and everybody talked...but no...one...came.
The problems began before the storm hit. There were many people in the city who stayed because they did not have the money or the transportation to get out. There was an offer to bring in trains to get people out and the mayor of the city said no. Without consulting the people, without asking anyone, Nagen said no. That is what makes me so angry about those who have said in the last seven years that the people were stupid for not leaving. How do you leave when you have no way to go? That was the first way that the people were failed but god knows it was not the last. I could focus this entire post on the crap that took place in the days that followed, the way that Bush flew over the city and saw the people on the bridge begging for help and waited two more days to send in supplies, the way that FEMA fucked everyone, the way that people were shot dead for trying to take food and water for themselves and their families...
Watch that. It's a youtube video, a documentary, made by people who stayed behind with people who stayed behind. There are other documentaries like this and that is what I advise you to watch. Not what the media puts out but things done by those who were there, those who have nothing to cover up. I am only twenty-five but in my life this is the biggest atrocity I have seen in America. Not just the storm, not just the flooding, but the complete lack of give-a-damn that was shown toward the people of New Orleans. They say 1,500 people died. I don't believe that. I think the number was much higher. There are still people who never found the remains of their loved ones. How could they get a death toll on something like that?
Seven years later the city is still not whole again. Seven months before Katrina we were one of the first nations to respond to the Tsunami that hit Asia but this is the way we treated our own people right here in the United States of America? The truth was so distorted in so many ways in the media. You had reporters like Anderson Cooper and the man on Fox News (I believe it was Fox) trying to tell the world what was happening and no one would let them speak. No one would give them answers either. The truth is, no one in office gave a damn. Most of the people, American citizens, that died did not die because of the storm. They died because of the heat and the lack of water. But yet we can do drops to foreign nations immediately. I can't forgive that. And I wasn't even there.
So why do I care so much? Well besides the fact that I cannot stand injustice and human suffering, New Orleans is the hometown of my soul. I belong there. I have felt that way for most of my life. I should be there. Not in Ohio. But life dealt me hands I did not anticipate. I haven't given up my dream. I will get there. Yes, I know that during Katrina New Orleans wasn't the only place that suffered. But no where else was like New Orleans. My heart still goes out to EVERYONE...but it wasn't like New Orleans.
As I sat last night watching Isaac's progress on CNN I had the most terrible feeling of deja vu. Even though we knew it wouldn't be as big or bad as Katrina, knowing that seven years before I had been sitting around doing the same thing, watching the same channel, as Katrina came in was almost overwhelming. Today I awoke to the news that the Parishes outside of the city had been flooded and I was happy to see that people were responding quickly to get folks to safety but I was pissed off by the way that the reporters kept talking about the people underestimating the storm...only one Louisiana city was told to evacuate. The rest were told to hunker down. Again, it seems like the people will be blamed for any damage that is done, any suffering they endure. And in that way history will repeat itself.
Pray for the people who were lost seven years ago. Pray for the people suffering tonight, displaced from their homes again by the force of Mother Nature, and never forget what happened in the Gulf during those terrible days of Katrina. But be grateful that Isaac was not as bad.