Every blogger in the known blogiverse has posted at least something about Hurricane Katrina and the associated damage. My personal connection to the disaster is minor and trivial. My sister has plane reservations for an upcoming vacation to New Orleans. I doubt that will happen.
I also have a former coworker who moved to Mobile, Alabama, to get married and raise a family. He now has three children and works in Pascagoula (a town whose name always make me think of the Jimmy Buffett song). I do not even known if the phone number I have is current, since an out-of-service message could mean anything right now. And like all privacy-seeking people nowadays, his number is unlisted, so I cannot verify it.
My wife and I went on one of our first vacations as a married couple to Mardi Gras in 1988. We lucked into a hotel reservation in the French Quarter one block off of Bourbon Street that normally requires reservations a year in advance. We also, on a whim, ate “Breakfast at Brennans” which remains to this day one of the best meals we have ever had. We were living a charmed life and have a lot of good memories that can’t be taken away by any storm.
We were living in West Palm Beach when Andrew hit Miami. The friends we were visiting friends in Tampa asked us, “Are you prepared for the hurricane?” and we asked “What hurricane?” indicating we weren’t. My wife and I drove the four hours back to WPB to secure our townhouse which had four large sliding glass doors and pick up enough provisions for a few days. I took us eight hours to drive both cars back to Tampa. Fortunately, the damage to WPB was minor, but plenty of people in south Miami lived without basic services for days or weeks.
The big discussion currently, aside from shooting looters on sight or after a trial, is whether and how to rebuild New Orleans. People always have and always will live in very unsafe places. On the sides of volcanoes. Over seismic fault lines. Below sea level. The force and power of nature mocks our best efforts to adapt an inherently unsafe world to our needs.
A recent Straight Dope column discussed the magnitude of various disasters and pointed out something I have noticed myself. Disasters in the US do a lot of property damage, but, from a global perspective, are relatively light in casualties. Let us hope the same holds true here. For relief efforts I recommend Catholic Charities which can always relied on to be wherever people need help.
Update(9/2/05): For live in New Orleans blogging see interdictor's LiveJournal site. He is in the downtown New Orleans area giving some horrifying first hand accounts. Another blogger in Baton Rouge is also updating the situation from the other end of evacuation.
Technorati tag:Katrina, hurricane, New Orleans