Posted by: emjb | August 28, 2005

Farewell, New Orleans

I had a funny post to put up today, and more baby stuff. But I find my thoughts are with those in Louisiana. CNN kept showing this line of people outside the Superdome, the ones who couldn’t make it out. Mamas and babies, pregnant women, the elderly, the sick, the homeless. Almost all of them black, poor, desperate, and scared.

Even if there’s enough room to put them all, will there be enough room above the flood line? Will the stadium withstand the winds and water? No one knows. No one can help them now.

When I was in college, a student group went out to rural Louisiana to help with the damage from Andrew. I saw row after row of trailers turned over, ripped open like pinatas, clothes and belongings spilling out everywhere. Homes sliced in half. We were far inland, but Andrew spawned enough tornadoes that it made little difference. Debris was everywhere. One lady told us that she lived from the proceeds of her sugar cane fields…but the flooding would cut her money in half. As it was, she lived in a two-room shack, a skinny little woman who couldn’t afford the dental care she obviously needed. And now she had even less.

Most of us don’t know real poverty and desperation. We’re about to see more of it than we’re used to. New Orleans may never recover from this; the French Quarter, all that history, may be damaged beyond rescue before any water can get pumped out. And the loss of life I can’t even think about is worse than any of that.

And all we can do is wait.

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