If I don't write about it, I might implode.
|I've been crying a bucket of tears, today, as I watched some of the events held to remember Katrina on a couple of our local television stations. The loss and pain is almost as raw as it was on August 29, 2005. No, I didn't lose my life, but losing my home and the ways of life that kept me and my family much, much, much more self-sufficient is hurtful and hard to deal with, nonetheless. To work hard and remain a law-abiding American citizen for decades, and then have your life turned upside down, overnight, mostly because of the failure of a government agency is extremely hurtful. The Army Corps of Engineers was entrusted with the responsibility to build adequate levees. The agency not only botched that job, but also refused to admit their part in the devastating flooding until July of this year. And even then, they still have not really been held accountable for the fatal mistakes they made in their building plans. It is indeed hurtful, angering, and heartbreaking to be a loyal tax payer, only to end up feeling like your government doesn't give a damn about you.
It's also heartbreaking to hear some of the negative comments some Americans are still saying about Katrina victims (those who did lose their lives) and Katrina survivors. In seeking to rebuild, we are not asking for handouts, but a hand up. We pray that America remains mostly compassionate about our plight and keeps all of Katrina's victims and survivors in their thoughts and prayers. Despite images of looting and chaos, most New Orleanians are law abiding people who just happen to be among the working poor. Which is also why some stayed in the city after a mandatory evacuation was called for--they lacked a way out, mostly due to financial reasons. They simply could not leave and there was no citywide hurricane plan to help them escape the storm.
If we New Orleanians are to be blamed for anything, it's for voting to put incompetent politicians into office. Yes, we failed ourselves on a certain level, but our local, state, and federal governments failed us, also. But, it has been a year... It's time for the healing to deepen and for us to truly get down to business with rebuilding. We're not as dire as some of the media would have the rest of America and the world believe, but we are also a long, long way from getting the rest of the city to even resemble what the French Quarter and the neighborhoods near the Mississippi River look like.
To anyone who still believes that we got what we deserved for living in such a vulnerable area, all I ask is that you take time to put yourself in our shoes. Do you have the financial means to simply uproot your family and move? Do you have the financial means to simply move and begin a new life? How would you feel if your birthplace was suddenly devastated by circumstances that were mostly beyond your control? Don't you love your hometown? And think about it--natural disasters can happen anywhere and have happened elsewhere. Please stop putting all the blame on us and help us move forward.
It's currently 7:02 p.m., here in New Orleans... About this time, last year, my family and I were working on cleaning up and disinfecting our house, excited that we would be spending the night in our own beds despite the "legitimate" flooding the house had received. I say "legitimate" flooding because the first flooding was from the storm surge while the devastating flooding was from the levee breaches. The "legitimate" flooding only rose to the top of our toes. The devastating flooding rose to my waist and caused a strange rash on the back of my thighs that were cured with antibiotics and topical cremes.
I'm grateful to be alive, and to at least be back home with a roof over my head despite the hardships my family and I still face.
Thank you to all the Americans and everyone from all over the world who continue to think of us and support us.