Saturday, August 29, 2015

Local Saturday - NOLA

You don't live 62 years without experiencing a disaster or two, and seeing a lot more on TV.  When you see disasters on TV, though, it just doesn't begin to communicate what is happening.  You may see it and hear it, but you don't smell it, you don't feel it.

I've never experienced a hurricane (although I know people who have).  This is what I'm told: There's a reason for those hurricane parties, folks.  You don't want to face one sober.

I've never been to New Orleans (although my brother in law, before he retired, traveled there on business frequently).  The locals, by the way, call it NOLA.

I remember Hurricane Katrina, but as a media bystander.  Its 10th anniversary is today.  I saw it from afar, on TV.  To me, it's history.  To others in this country, it changed their lives forever.

More than 1,400 people died.  Sad to say, this is an everyday occurrence in some countries when disasters strike.  For us fortunate enough to live in the United States, it is not.

This is some of what it looked like.

Levees broke, and people drowned in their houses.  Seeing how much the disaster was mishandled, leading to so much death and suffering, still gives me chills. 

In the aftermath of Katrina, the population of New Orleans, a major city, shrunk by nearly half.  Even now, some have not returned.  Of those, some have made new starts; some still miss their NOLA.

If NOLA had been deserted, would there have been a jazz funeral for it?

So, what do bloggers have to say?  Cheryl, at a Pleasant House, had not yet moved to New Orleans, and her post will make you think. Her post is a bit humorous, but there is a lot of serious thought underneath it.

This is how the people of New Orleans are remembering it.

Some things you never miss until they are gone.  New Orleans, ten years ago, came close to being gone.

Would we have missed her?


  1. After Katrina and then Rita, my yard was overrun by hummingbirds! Scores of hungry little birds turned up here, their regular migration routes having been disrupted.

    It was the hummingbirds that I dealt with, but several thousand people also came to Houston, bused here for shelter after governmental entities failed New Orleans. Houston and several other cities in the area accepted these refugees from the storm. Many of them still live here, contributing to the diversity of this very diverse area.

    Katrina was an American tragedy - mostly a manmade tragedy caused by bad policies, neglect, and refusal to collect and spend the money necessary to maintain and update infrastructure. There are other such tragedies in the making around the country today. We never seem to learn from our history.

  2. A major city just suddenly wiped off the map? Yeah, we would have missed her. That's why the rebuilding happened.

    I think it would be nice to have hurricane parties for earthquakes. Unfortunately, earthquakes can't be forecasted (further than a few seconds in the future).

  3. Ten years ago I was working for an insurance company in NYC, but in my department our caseload had a lot of Louisiana claims. We had close ties with a lot of law firms in NOLA and Baton Rouge. Every year during Mardi Gras they sent us King Cake. Katrina didn't happen to distant strangers, it happened to friends and colleagues. It was horrible.

  4. It seems just yesterday the terrible hurricane wiped out New Orleans. Time flies so fast when you're over 70. Like you, I've never experienced weather at it's most destructive. The closest I came is when I first arrived in England from Australia in 1988 when a cyclone knocked down trees and blew off roofs close to where I lived in Kentish Town, London. Water dripped on me overnight, but I was used to camping so I took no notice of that or the sound of the wind, which I remembered so well from living by the coast in South Australia. I'm glad the residents are making their town liveable again. Shows the strength of the human spirit.

  5. I can't believe ten years have passed. I went to NOLA for the first time in 2008 and I remember my friend who lives there, driving me through the lower 9th ward and it was like a ghost town. It was completely sobering. You could still see the markings on the boarded up houses indicating in red spray paint whether or not bodies had been found inside and how many. One thing I can say though is that New Orleans is a resilient city. There's just so much optimism in the air (maybe it's the food, the music?). I'm returning to New Orleans this spring to do some research for a novel I'm working on, I can't wait! It's one of the most "exotic" locations, I think, in the US. The culture, the music, the food, the history, it's so magical!


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