Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lest we forget - updated

Mimi writes today:
I remember the more than 1800 people who died and all those who loved them. I remember the 275,000 who lost their homes. I remember those who survived, but suffered through horrendous conditions in the days after Katrina. I remember those who have not returned to their home towns, and who want to, but can't find affordable housing. I remember those in Louisiana and Mississippi still struggling to recover and rebuild their homes and their lives.

Katrina - August 29, 2005
Please see her post with the story, photo, and poem of Our Lady of the Driveway.

I remember leaving New Orleans four days ahead of schedule at roughly this time last year, beginning my vacation early to avoid Hurricane Gustav and wondering if we would have a terrible replay.

I remember driving to work each morning last summer past shells of buildings, gutted structures, empty lots, boarded up homes and business places.

I remember walking past empty businesses cheek-by-jowl with open downtown offices as I went to and fro between the office and the car park.

I remember co-workers telling me how one of the buildings we worked in had six feet of water on the ground floor and it took a couple of years to restore and other co-workers recounting matter-of-factly how their family fled and what they still do to survive.

I remember the first day I arrived and drove from the airport to downtown, approaching the Superdome and the Central Business District while visualizing photos I had seen of the same area under water.

I remember thinking on many mornings, as I drove past the Superdome, that after Katrina the spot where I waited at the light was way under water.

I remember wondering what it must be like for those whose lives were yanked from one reality to a drastically different other reality.

And as I ponder how humans have built cities in uninhabitable spaces from the beginning or history, how those who simply say "don't built below sea level" can be so unempathetic toward others. As a species we would not cover the globe if we only built where it was safe and convenient. And last time I checked I did not choose where I was born.

That this engineering disaster occurred brings shame to our nation. That the response was so FUBAR should haunt us all.

Господи, помилуй
Señor, ten piedad
Seigneur, aies pitié
Κυριε, ελεησον
Senhor, tem piedade
Lord, have mercy

The flood photos are from online sources. The others are my own from summer 2008, three years after Katrina.

Bill in Portland Maine has collected a serious list of quotations from the Katrina period that remind us how shamefully the Bush regime and its enablers behaved and spoke at the time.

--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. What a beautiful tribute to those who suffered so much.

You know, I couldn't bear to do a post like yours. I'd be overwhelmed. But I'm so very pleased that you did in honor of those who suffered so much.

Lord, have mercy.

Paul said...

Thank you for inspiring it, Mimi.

Outsiders with some distance can sometimes be of use. Though I lived there for 6.5 months and worked with the locals one block from Canal Street, I could only experience it as a stranger and three years after the disaster. That allows me to share without being overwhelmed. I simply cannot imagine the experience from the inside though my heart aches for those who lived it.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

It was breathtaking also from afar.

A couple of days after the storm reached the shore (it had been approaching for several days) I found a blog reporting from a high-rise down town, which was awesome to follow.

How they went down the stairs and out in the streets - and what they saw and experienced... Utter devastation.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I remember William , whose fate I still do not know.

Kyrie Eleison.


Paul said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing that, Doxy. I vaguely remember reading it the first time. Powerful to revisit today.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Gets one to thinking. I'm reminded of the folks in the shelters here. The shelters were only temporary, and the people were moved to who knows where after about three weeks. When I visited the shelters, what I did most was listen to the stories. People wanted to tell their stories.

Doxy, your listening was a worthy thing to do.