Gearing up for the anniversary

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm getting ready to write an entry about the 2 year anniversary of Katrina (tomorrow) and I thought maybe I'd post what I wrote at my other site last year for those who didn't read it then or know nothing of my other site.

August 29, 2006

525,600 minutes.

1 year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. One year ago tonight, hurricane Katrina sat poised in the Gulf of Mexico, with eyes on New Orleans. Evacuations were ordered, warnings were issued, and then we waited.

You and I, we watched our television, we watched our computer screens and we were overjoyed at the news that the hurricane had weakened before landfall. New Orleanians watched the same news with bated breath, not knowing the fate of their homes, their lives.

At 9:38 am on August 29th, 2005, a levee in the area of Lakeview, Louisiana, burst. Not overflowed, burst. The suburb filled with families, business, schools, memories, was devastated. Levees conitnued to burst all around what was one of the United States' most historically rich cities.

We saw the images, we heard the stories, we knew it happened, but short of being here, it's hard to have any idea of what really happened. I don't claim to know. I probably won't ever, and I may be the better for it. In New Orleans proper, that's not including the suburbs, over 200,000 homes were destroyed. Add in the suburbs, the other Gulf Coast areas, and just imagine.

So now, one year older, one year wiser, what can be said of the once booming metropolis? Devastation still surrounds us. When I got lost last week, I saw homes, schools, buildings in shreds. I saw FEMA trailer after FEMA trailer. I saw people, working in their homes, homes that will not be liveable for months, maybe even years, maybe never. I saw the heartache in the faces of my students, I saw the determination in the faces of the homeowners and I think I truly saw the heart of this city. The people that make it what it is.

On this, the one year mark since the most devastating natural disaster in United States history, we have a few choices. We can turn a blind eye to what has happened. It's easy, and it's what is often done. We don't have to pay attention to what we can't see, simply put, ignorance is bliss. We can pound our fists and scream in anger at all the people who made mistakes. That, too, is an easy response and one we've definitely demonstrated. Or we can do what doesn't come quite as easily for some.

We can fall on our knees, give ourselves to God and ask for His continued presence. We can give thanks for what has regrown and regenerated in the last year, and pray for those people and places still waiting. We can reach out, we can donate, and we can CARE. Maybe if we get enough people to care, we can be a part of the difference. Maybe in a year, I'll have pictures to show you of the rebirth of this amazing city. Maybe in a year I'll have stories of the new lives of New Orleanians. Maybe in a year, we can look BACK at what happened, rather than looking directly at it. Maybe.

So, on this the one year anniversary of the most severe natural disaster in United States history, I ask you a question. What will YOU do? How will YOU help?

My answer to those questions remains uncertain. I am trepidatious about what tomorrow will bring. I am unsure of my role here, but I am here and I will be part of the future. I will donate, I will pray, if nothing else, there are 95 girls in this city that know that someone cares about what happens in their life and will fight, on bended knee in prayer, to try and make it better.

And here are a few photos. These are just a few of many and they do not show everything there is to see, so you have to imagine these pictures times 200,000 homes. And remember, these were taken a full year after Katrina hit. A year. 12 months post-Katrina.

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