If I don't write about it, I might implode.
|I wish such a term, or condition, would have never materialized. I remember wanting to cry when I first heard those words on the evening news, but I experienced it months before I first heard the words. After about a week of living in the shelter, it became obvious that the people who'd promised that they were there for the long run for us had quickly grown tired of us.
The change in attitude toward evacuees left most of us feeling like we'd been used to draw attention and funding to the church that sponsored the shelter. I, myself, was sought out to do four interviews with reporters with camera crews, and one interview with a reporter from Donaldsonville's local newspaper. And when Diane Sawyer from Good Morning America came with her crew, one of her assistants grabbed me while another assistant grabbed my sister. I gave a one on one interview that I hope is never shown, and my sister was asked to confront our Governor Blanco when she and several other government goofs came to the shelter. We were treated pretty decent while the cameras were around, but not so decent as the days passed. It took my family and I almost two weeks to find available housing, just in time to avoid being bused off to Baton Rouge or some place else by the people who'd sworn they were there for us.
Don't get me wrong--I appreciate everything that everyone did and is still doing to help us get back on our feet. We're lucky that people cared because I do believe we New Orleanians share some of the blame for what happened. We share some of the blame because we fell asleep at the helm and failed to stay on top of how the Army Corps of Engineers were building and taking care of our so-called levees. It's one thing when a storm surge over tops a levee, and a whole other ballpark when the storm surge busts through poorly built levees. So, yes, we voters and politicians in New Orleans and Louisiana share a bit of the blame.
Still, we don't control Mother Nature. August 29, 2005 was just a day destined for disaster. If people say they're there for us, then please be there for us. It's been almost a year, but surviving Katrina isn't something we can just get over. We try to cope as we work to rebuild homes and lives. We're still too fragile to play mind games. Please continue to be there for us. We only want a little compassion and understanding. Despite the millions of dollars wasted through fraud, there are decent people among the survivors... Decent people who did the right thing with the funds they received. Please don't generalize us, and please continue to be there for us. We need you and appreciate you.