You will very rarely see a sentimental post from yours truly, but this past monday has seen a horrible tragedy occur on the U.S. gulf coast. As has been predicted for many many years, The Big Easy, New Orleans, was hit square in the face by a Category 4 hurricane named Katrina. The city has been lucky for decades and it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. At this moment approximately 80% of the city is submerged under water. Officials are reporting a “total structural failure” of the the city’s buildings. Basically, its doomsday. For a city which is below sea level AND in a hurricane zone, well… it was bound to happen.
New Orleans, although ripe with ghosts, crime, gangs, and poverty, is also one of the cultural centers of this country. It has a dynamic history and a thriving culture. A culture heavily influenced by black, French, and Spanish people. An interesting concoction to say the least. One only needs to look at Mardi Gras, which is held every year in the spring, to prove this. Food and music are the town’s trademarks. After this catastrophe, “Norlins” will never be the same. You can’t simply rebuild 250 year old houses.
My gut reaction was to laugh, when I heard a New Orleans official proclaim, “This is our tsunami.” Referring to the “Indian Ocean Tsunami” of 2004. (which incidentally brought the word “blog” into prime-time) That disaster ended up killing 310,000 unsuspecting people. Katrina’s body count won’t come close to that as people had more time to prepare and evacuate. But maybe that official has a point. With all that history gone forever, a major city erased in 24 hours, and an already poor region left entirely homeless… this very well might equate to a disaster of that magnitude. Historians will certainly place it in the worst of the worst of U.S. history.
Help the Katrina relief effort. Donate to the American Red Cross.
For now, New Orleans, the new Venice.