(originally published September 5th, 2005)

I guess it’s my turn to talk a little bit about the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Over the past week there’s been lots of talk about the destruction of this thing, and the devastation it’s left. There’s been talk about the slow response from the federal government, the looting, the possible racism, etc. In essence, there’s been lots of blame going around, and I really can’t decipher what’s right or wrong or accurate. I do know two things, though.

The first thing I know is that this has been a terrible story that’s taken on an interesting life of its own. Many are equating it to what occurred on September 11, 2001, in NYC, and I think that’s unfair because one was manmade and deliberate, the other of natural causes, and one can’t take motivation out of the equation. The overall coverage hasn’t been quite fair either, not because New Orleans isn’t important, but there are many other areas that have been devastated by this hurricane, in other states. Last night, a friend shared pictures of the destruction of the house of a friend of his in Biloxi, Mississippi, totally destroyed, as shown below:


The second is that the local powers that be have known for many, many years that the levees weren’t all that stable, and that with one big hit the city could be flooded, yet have done nothing about it. I did hear that they blamed the current government for turning down extra funding to shore the levees up, but that only holds water if you believe previous local administrations did everything they could to fix things. Indeed, I read a Clive Cussler book that talked about this very thing in a fictional accounting, so you can imagine my surprise, not being a resident, to discover just how real the scenario could have been (Chinese and explosives notwithstanding).

At this juncture, it’s time for blame to end, and for solutions to occur. Will New Orleans ever be the same? Is NYC the same? Is either Hiroshime or Nagasaki the same? Is Germany the same? Not a chance. But can it be repaired, strengthened, and regrow? Only time and effort will tell; I’m betting the American spirit will overcome great difficulties and make it so. Good luck, New Orleans.