Tuesday, August 29, 2006
August 29, 2005. One year ago today was Hurricane Katrina. One year ago, we were waiting it out in a hotel room in Houston, watching the news and feeling fairly certain that we’d be able to head home in the morning. The storm came and went, and all seemed relatively well. But then the water began to creep through New Orleans. By the following morning, our worst nightmares had just begun. The horrific images on the news only told a small part of the story. The tremendous failures from the local, state and federal government left people dying in their homes and in the streets; those who survived were lacking in any food, water or medical care. Most of the city was submerged. Though we soon realized our part of town had escaped the flood, we were unable to return for six weeks, not even to check what and if we had anything left.
Meanwhile, over on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, things were far worse. The New Orleans flood and the city’s racial, socio-economic and political tensions made the news, but Katrina wrought some of the most unspeakable damage on the coast. Gorgeous historic homes all along the beach were wiped away in an instant. In Biloxi, the devastation went back at least five blocks back from the beach. Further west (closer to the eye of Katrina), the damage went back for miles. The town of Pass Christian was completely gone, not a single structure left standing. To the east in Ocean Springs, where my dad lived, the news trucks never came…but the storm certainly did.
One year later, she’s still there. Katrina is present every day on the Gulf Coast, in New Orleans and throughout South Louisiana. The people who survived her all have stories to tell. We are no different, but those who know us have heard it too many times and so have we.
It’s been quite a year, but this is our New Year’s Day. The world is made new again.