Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later

It's been 10 year since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans as a Category 3 hurricane. It's been 10 years since 175 mile per hour winds and storm surge of up to 15 feet ripped apart cities in Alabama and Mississippi and caused the levees to break in New Orleans. It's been 10 years since water rushed through the lower 9th ward in New Orleans flooding streets, flooding homes with 20 feet of water, covering others with 24 feet of water and sendingNew Orleans residents who did not evacuate ahead of the storm into their crawl space attics. It's been 10 years since those same people who escaped the water the best way they knew how, escaped into their final resting place, be it their attics, their rooftops, the SuperDome, or the Convention Center. It's been 10 years since 2,000 people were killed by the costliest storm in U.S. history. It's been 10 years since millions of life long New Orleans residents were displaced. It's been 10 years since the news media referred to these Katrina survivor's as refugees even though they were U.S. citizens. It's been 10 years since the city's black folk were called looters and rioters, and the white citizens portrayed as hungry and in need.




It's been 10 years since the Danziger Bridge shooting.



It's been 10 years since the brutal killing of Henry Glover by NOPD.



It's been 10 years since President George W. Bush flew over the devastated city of New Orleans as opposed to putting his boots on the ground a la President Lyndon B. Johnson during Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

It's been 10 years since President George W. Bush congratulated FEMA director Michael Brown for doing "a heckuva job" in coordinating the response to Katrina.

It's been 10 years since Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about Black people."

It's been 10 years since there was a fight over formaldehyde filled FEMA trailers. It's been 10 years since Katrina survivors had to fight with insurance companies and FEMA over money they needed for their recovery. It's been 10 years since people in 49 other of these divided states watched with sadness and empathy, anger and apathy at the treatment of American citizens who happened to be poor yet pride; at their bottom but not broken.

It's been 10 years.



It's been 10 years and the lower 9th ward of New Orleans is still an abandoned waste land. It's been 10 years and while the damage in Mississippi and Alabama has been cleaned up and rebuilt the same can't be said for all of New Orleans. It's been 10 years and folks flock to the Big Easy every year for Mardi Gras, The Jazz Fest, and The Essence Fest, but rarely do they stay long enough to leave the French Quarter and see the ghosts of Katrina. It's been 10 years and the water marks on houses still remain where the dirty flood settled around them. It's been 10 years and the orange National Guard markings still remain on many a front door where homeowners either abandoned their property or died inside. It's been 10 years and wholeness and normalcy have not returned to a community that deserved better than to be treated like the refugees of Haiti.

It's been 10 years and now New Orleans is just a pitstop for Presidents past, present, and future to visit and make empty promises while touting a resilience that just isn't there in all of New Orleans. It's been 10 years since the government first began writing checks and infusing money into the infrastructure of New Orleans. It's been 10 years and the levees are now twice as high and doubly reinforced with concrete and steel. It's been 10 years and some roads are repaired and some bridges resurfaced.

It's been 10 years, and it may take another 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years before all of New Orleans looks the way it used to, to a girl of 18, vibrant and full of music, food, life, love, signifying, and soul.

It's been 10 years since I watched my second home swallowed up.

It's been 10 years and I can still remember it like it was yesterday.
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