Friday, August 29, 2008

Pondering history…

Last night I watched as history was made when Senator Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination and became the first black man nominated by a major political party to seek the presidency of the United States of America.

And I so wish my beloved father was alive to have seen it.

Today, this bitch is pausing to remember a historical event that is still unfolding and impacting so many people’s lives.

Three years ago today Hurricane Katrina came ashore…

…and she changed everything.

Hurricane Katrina didn’t just expose engineering problems, weak levees and the lack of emergency preparedness.

Katrina exposed our flaws and our callous disregard of our fellow citizens. She exposed the true price of crony politics and the sad definition of traditional values.

At least 1,836 people lost their lives.

I can't help but wonder how many of those lives lost are charged to human failure.

So today let us remember those lost and those still trying to dig out three years later.

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’". George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah"


The Bear Maiden said...

Katrina changed my life, my perspective on things... in much the same way 9/11 did. Thank you for remembering the date... I have some kind of a mental block on it. But I'll never forget where I was or how I felt days later watching that horror unfold...

Unknown said...

I still get a chill down my spine when I hear just the word Katrina.

As someone who lives on a fixed income, I managed to give money to a good cause that is still trying three years later, to rebuild the lives and the city that was taken because of the levees. This cause still needs funds:

It wasn't Katrina, it was the levees and BushCo's failure to act and react...Katrina was merely the conduit to show us the failures hidden in those walls and this administration.

Lu said...

Remembering those who lost their lives and feeling blessed to have witnessed history yesterday.

Excellent meeting you at BlogHer.

woodsba said...

Sadly the Katrina issue truly brought out the current administrations attitude toward those Americans of color and those who are poor as well as their cronyism...such as hiring someone based on friendship rather than experience and expertise to run FEMA.

The other day NPR was discussing the march on Washington in which Martin Luther King gave his historic and inspiring speech. I was stunned to hear that some of our leaders at the time were telling their secretaries to stay home and keep their doors locked that they might be raped. DC was on high alert for crime as well as rioting. Things may have changed, but how much? Few have discussed it but how much will race play an ugly part in this election? Americans are notorious for voting against their own self interest so how many will vote for one candidate over another because of race?

While I did not see it at the time, a Black American friend of mine told me that people hate me (Homosexual) from their heads while they hate her from their hearts. Recently a friend of mine passed away and naturally I miss her. But a memory of her which is not so good keeps coming back to me. We were discussing race when she told me that she was not a bigot since she had raised her children not to use the n word but instead to use nickel. While it didn't sink in when I told her it was the same thing, it did several months later when she realized that racism was from the heart and that not being a racist was more than a mind set.

I'm very proud of the fact that Obama is now the nominee of a major political party and pray that America has the courage to elect him president....not because he is a Black American, but because he is the best person for the job.

Anonymous said...

G. Bush and McCain ate McCain's birthday cake on that day that New Orleans drowned. Picture on internet.

libhom said...

What is freaking me out at this particular moment is the possibility that another hurricane may be heading towards New Orleans.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I was in the eye of Katrina, when it hit Miami FL as a weak category 1 storm. I actually watched it do its thing from my front porch, sipping beer. The winds were from the south west and then the south east (before and after the eye). My home faces north so the front porch was mostly dry.

I had no idea what that storm would go on to become.

And I am not sure anymore whose fault it was. People had to know they were living below sea level. After Andrew I would never think of being near the water during a storm.

Also, my State has an excellent response plan. Add to that the strict building codes in Miami-Dade County, and the excellent local evacuation plans - and it paints a picture.

what was the State of Louisiana's plan? What was the City of New Orleans plan? Was there one? If not, why not?

Katrina hit Miami many days before it hit the Gulf Coast. There WAS warning. There WAS time. And yet nothing, or very little, was done.

Granted - most of the plans in FL were a direct result of Andrew. but still - that was 1992. Every city in every state along the coast should have looked at Andrew (a category 5 storm) in 1992 and made their plans based on "what if Andrew hit us".

Nobody did this.

The failure was systemic. From the local government to the state government, and up. At all levels there was a complete lack of action.

FEMA can only act after a storm. And they failed to do that. But before the storm all those people should have been evacuated. There should have been a plan to do this. There should have been shelters. There should have been a police presence during the evacuation process to keep houses safe, so people would feel like it was OK to leave their homes.

In Miami there are mandatory evacuation zones. When an evacuation is called, the police CAN remove people even if they want to stay. Those who do stay are asked to sign papers indicating that they understand the risk, that they know nobody will be able to help them during and possibly after the storm, and that they accept all these risks. And if they call 911 during the storm? The emergency operators have to tell them help is not on the way - not till the winds stop anyway. And if the roads are still underwater or the bridges are out - it takes even longer to get help. As long as it is not safe for first responders, they are not sent in. Anyone who stays in a mandatory evacuation zone is told this.

NONE OF THIS was done in New Orleans. And why not? The risks are known. Why were so many allowed to stay? Were they warned? Did they know that it was possible for their houses to go underwater?

The worst of it all is that it was preventable. Nobody had to die. Property would still have been lost, and the city would look like it does today (large areas still devastated) but not as many would have died.

And now three years later, with Gustav bearing down on the same region - what is the plan? Does the State have its shit together? How about the city? What have the city emergency planners been doing for three years?

Lets hope it was something. Something other than just showing up to draw a paycheck every two weeks. You know, actually WORKING?? Making a plan?? Would that be too much to ask for?

One thing I learned living in Florida - do not rely on FEMA. You have to prepare on your own. You have to get enough stuff to get by for three or four days (at least) on your own. After that you can reasonably expect there to be relief supplies distribution centers set up. These centers can be set up by the American Red Cross, various churches, Habitat For Humanity, state and local governments, and of course FEMA.

But right after a storm there is nothing. There was nothing right after Andrew. The Florida National Guard was there after a day or two, but that was only because Florida planned that. Guardsmen were called up state wide and staged just outside the hurricane area.

Anonymous said...

So I guess you choose to ignore Jesse Jackson? It is convenient, despite it's historical discrepancy status. Way to be a quote "Democrat"...

Anonymous said...

Even after witnessing all of the devastation, I am still moved by the way things went down. I remembered staying up for days; and donating money to the Red Cross. I kept wishing that I could do more.

So, imagine my horror when I saw Keith Olbermann's show on the three-year anniversary do nothing when Michael Moore actually said that "Gustav is proof that there is a God!" This was his comment in reference to the GOP convention, and any disruption this cataclysmic event may cause the poor people of New Orleans almost 3 years to the day that Katrina hit.

Let us all pray for the safety and well being of our NOLA family during Gustav.

Anonymous said...

Sorry culinarychick but I missed your point who are you mad at Moore or Olbermann?!! And was he JUST referring the GOP convention or also New Orleans becasue I seriously doubt that please claify.

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