Category Archives: Katrina

Devastation here and there

I just watched an update on residents returning to aveland to find nothing, just nothing left. (search their videos for “Waveland 30 days”. It is really sad. As soon as I closed the video, I got a blog referral in my inbox from someone who had linked to a photo I put on my site in January… of Aceh – also obliterated, with nothing left but a very strongly built mosque. That was a really odd juxtaposition of looking at both of those things at the same time.

Don’t Forget:

Can’t take the Katrina dog stories

Why is it that with thousands of people dead and immeasurable suffering, it’s the dog stories that I can’t stomach, I won’t watch, I can’t read. Damn you CNN for putting it front and center on the home page.

I have seen images of floating bloated human bodies. But they become “bodies” – somehow there’s a disconnect. We know there are still people undiscovered in their homes hoping and waiting – no food, no water, run out of their meds. But it’s hearing about people euthanizing their dogs and that the larger dogs are fighting the gas (I have big dogs), seeing the dogs on the rooftops being left behind (not by choice, not by anybody’s real choice), hearing them suddenly being referred to as stray dogs and something to fear, knowing that eventually the answer to “wild roaming packs of dogs” will be to shoot them. This I can’t bear. Why? Why is that more powerful?

Don’t Forget:

Evacuate with what?

According to this page of the US Census Bureau stats for New Orleans:

 In 2003, New Orleans city had 181,000 occupied housing units – 92,000 (51 percent) owner occupied and 89,000 (49 percent) renter occupied. Seven percent of the households did not have telephone service and 21 percent of the households did not have access to a car, truck, or van for private use. Twenty-six percent had two vehicles and another 6 percent had three or more.

21% of 181,000 is about 38,000.

38,000 households represents a lot of people who have no access to a vehicle.

Think about that when reading this statement from the FEMA director in response to the predicted death toll.

“Unfortunately, that’s going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings,” Brown told CNN.

“I don’t make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans,” he said.

“And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.”

I wondered too, at first. Why did so many people stay? But then the more you saw on the news, the more you realized that many people just didn’t really have any way to leave. And nowhere to go. And nobody came to get them.