Katrina, the Aftermath: Two Years Later

by Ryan on August 29, 2007

in Culture,Politics

Hurricane Katrina, the most expensive hurricane in American history, wreaked its havoc on the Gulf Coast about two years ago today.  I say “about” because two days before the hurricane everybody on the weather news was saying it was going to be a disaster, especially if it hit around Lake Pontchartrain and surged over the levees.  Many people left New Orleans and the Gulf Coast because Katrina was a predicted to be a Category 4 upon landfall.  Bill Sammon notes in his book, Strategery, that Rush Limbaugh said before it hit New Orleans that if it does hit directly and there’s a huge disaster, then [the MSM] find some way to blame this on Republicans or the Bush Administration.  Voila!

No one thought that the levees would break.  Around 1800 people died across five states because of Katrina.  Thousands more were permanently dislocated to Houston or other parts of the nation.  New Orleans is still struggling, though its population is increasing 4-7 thousand every month, while Mississippi is moving forward as well. 

New Orleans had huge and unique problems, being under sea-level is one big issue.  Inept local and state governments contributed to the problems, and an impatient public lashing out at the National Guard made the scene political, when it needed not have been.  People wanted answers and a scapegoat, ie- Michael Brown, then George W. Bush.  Some even say (I being one of them) that it was the whole Hurricane Katrina affair that propelled Bush to his current lame-duck status.  Since then, $114 billion has been given to the area (a disaster area the size of Great Britain and Ireland).  Some of it was misallocated or just gone missing, which is the Federal Government’s fault since it’s our money.  But progress is being made everyday. 

The victims who are still in New Orleans complain that America has forgotten them.  I can empathize a little.  What was 9/11 to someone in Seattle, San Francisco, or even New Orleans?  I lived in Rhode Island at the time.  It seems like 9/11 was kind of like a natural disaster to them:  horrible unexpected tragedy, suffering that requires donation, assistance and prayer, as well as insight into preventing something similar from happening to them in the future.  When I hear about Katrina damage and the broken levees my heart goes out to those people, but it’s thousands of miles away and two years later– how much sympathy and pain should I still be feeling?  To them it’s real.  Living just outside the New York area, terrorism is a very real threat, and each year I know of students in my school who lost relatives at the World Trade Center on 9/11.  One has to adjust, persevere and move on.

AP photo.  NOAA map.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris August 30, 2007 at 10:26 am

I agree that it is time to move on. With the energy that they bash Bush, they could spend that time rebuilding or helping areas of the Gulf Coast. Funny how the media never reports on other areas of the Gulf Coast improving or gambling returning to Biloxi, etc. Here are some things that occurred during Katrina that deflect a lot of the blame on Bush for me personally:

- 255 School buses were left and rendered useless by the floodwaters instead of being used to evacuate the citizens of New Orleans.

- The reponse of the Federal Government to Katrina was 1 day faster than that of Andrew and 2 days faster than Hugo.

- Lousiana’s long history of corruption, going back to the days of the Longs and Landrieus and today to those like William Jefferson (D-LA). As a result of this apparent corruption, the money doesn’t go where it’s supposed to go. Is it any surprise why Kathleen Blanco isn’t running for re-election? In terms of corruption, LA is the NJ of the South…just with better food.

While the Bush Administration doesn’t come out of Katrina unscathed (poor planning in anticipating the levy breach, inability to get his message out and instead let his opponents define him) they have been unfairly criticized and the Dems are hoping to use the Katrina response for 2008 election fodder. Hopefully, this will be a lesson to Republicans and future administrations to not be afraid to “Go Public” and use the media to their advantage.

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