Sunday, August 29, 2010

Katrina 5 years later

There will probably be a lot of deep posts about today.  The anniversary of Katrina.  Blaming the government and Fema.
This wont be one of them.  I feel it is your right to live free in this country, I believe it is your duty to care first for your family and then for your neighbors.  I do not feel anyone has the RIGHT to demand a hand out.

If you want to use your handout on a home you never owned, that the state probably paid for anyway then you can use your  Fema checks to buy big screen TV's and fancy shoes.

Katrina was an act of Nature.  It was a deadly storm of epic proportions that had never been seen in our area.
Entire cities were gone. roads, government buildings, schools, and nearly every single residence.  Gone. That quick.

I can't speak for FL or AL on this, since they weren't on the news either, but I can say. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a strong, resilient proud people, who will give the shirt off their back to help a neighbor.

Yeah we all got screwed by the insurance and Fema.  Yeah my company even though the servers never went down took a hit that crippled it and even 5 years later our business and finances have not recovered.  Did we get a check? Nope, mother natures wasn't cutting the "I'm sorry I tore your shit up" checks.   We went back to work, all the years of building our business, our financial safety net were gone.  But we were alive, we did better than most, we are grateful for what we have, and gained respect for what we had.

So Katrina, I thank you, I thank you for showing me the true character of the people I live around, I thank you for sparing us compared to many others, I thank you for making my family and my marriage stronger.

With all that said,  Please do not ever subject me to that kind of tragedy again.  I still dream about it, the horror, the pain, the loss.  I think once in a lifetime is more than enough.

If it's not real enough-  go look at the pics.

Our Casinos
My friends and family- immediately after the storm
Historic Places and museums 
There was no where to look that wasn't destroyed. I took my kids on a drive through 5 cities. Here's what we saw

A lot of people died.  It was a tragic moment in history we can all learn from

So look at your house, your nieghbors house, the gas station and the grocery store today and smile. Smile you have power, smile that you have loved ones, smile that you have a place to sleep tonight.  Then thank the thousands of people who stepped up to help my state, asking nothing in return, and have been here 5 years rebuilding .    Thank you.  Thank you for every piece of rubble, Thank you for every board you nailed, Thank you for every meal you served. Thank you.


My own elderly father had just paid off his house finally 2 weeks prior to Katrina, he got 10k to start his life, from a slab.  70 years of life, gone.  But he was alive.

My stroke riddled mother had a shelter roof fall on her head and was taken a state away and we couldn't find her for days. When we did she was in brain surgery and had another stroke.

Our house, well we were so lucky. We lost our chimney, thanks to a trampoline flying over our 2 story house, it took down a wall with it.  And a tree came through the family room window.

We had went to TN that weekend to visit our son in the hospital, we had a feeling and made our 17 year old daughter join us against her wishes, and my father join us also with his 2 little dogs.

I hear people say, how can you live on the Gulf of Mexico. I couldn't deal with hurricanes.  Here's a clue.  There are natural disasters EVERYWHERE.
You see with an earthquake or tornado you have little to no warning, it just happens, you have seconds to react.  With a hurricane you have atleast around a weeks notice if you chose to stay and not secure your property, that's YOUR chocie.  You don't get the right to stab or rape people in a stadium because you are stressed.
If you  chose to set for 5 days on the interstate with your family and find the tools to make signs that say WHERE IS FEMA WE WANT FOOD."  Well let's just say this fat chick can walk a long long way in 5 days. Even carrying my child.  I promise I can walk to food even with my health issues.

2 of my nephews only in their teens stayed with their girlfriends and their families, in their upscale homes.  My nephews as young as the were,   took the families into the attics as the water filled the first and second floors of these 1/2 million dollar homes,  then into the attics, and had the forethought to grab an axe on the way up.
Did they sit on the roof holding up signs?  No, they jumped in raging water full of debris made it to floating objects or boats and chopped other neighbors out of their attics.

The aftermath sucked.  No money, no phones, no cell -phones, no internet, no gas, no electricity no food.  So we gathered as a community and would pool our money and send 1 or 2 vehicles 2 states away in the hopes to find gas to run vehicles and generators.  If we had each handled our own household, some people wouldn't have made it.

Taking care of the elderly and the young took priority , we kept the kids cool by running water on the generator and having them all play in the bathtubs.  The elderly, had canned food, they shared, in addition we shared clean water and did frequent checks and manual labor.

My neighbors had already tarped my roof by the time I went through TN, AL, and FL to get back to the Gulf Coast.  Why?  because rednecks own chainsaws. Interstates and Highways get cleaned and cleared on the state/fed gvt timeline. However I knew every redneck would chainsaw middles out of trees so they could check on their friends and family.

The point is, so little media focused on MS, AL, FL gulf coast who got obliterated buy Katrina.  Why?  We were just too busy helping each other out, that we didn't have time to scream on the news how entitled we were to a hand out.

Just in case you doubt my authority on this situation.  My company had our servers located in downtown New Orleans, just blocks from the Superdome.  The cameras ran out the window 24/7 through the entire thing, we saw people headed to work, and no water on the streets after Katrina. Our building even got invaded by the national guard because they saw power.  Little did they know we had a federal writ allowing us 14 days of generator fuel due to the importance of the other companies in the building.  But surprise we didn't need it, the building had power the entire time. Better surprise, since they breached the building they now had to guard it.

So I guess my point here is,  what is your moral fiber?  When the shit hits the fan, "WHO ARE YOU".  are you the entitled whiner who never paid attention to the news, warnings, and are used to being handed your 'entitlements"  or are you the" roll up your sleeves and be grateful you're alive no matter how shitty it is at that moment person?"

My daughters senior year of high school lost over a month of class due to her high school being one of the few that withstood the storm because it was 7 miles north of the interstate, and it was turned into a shelter. ( everything south of the interstate was gone. just gone) Did we go down and volunteer?  Yeah.  did we have many families that had less than us staying in our house or yard, strangers or not?  yeah.  Why? because if the situation was reversed, we would need and want that.  Are we super human , wonderful people, exceptional thinkers?  NO.

To the people who have never been here but sat by their TV sets crying for us.  To the people that stopped their lives and headed here with things they had collected to help us. To the people that came to rebuild to help strangers to be there.  To the people that have heard this story too many times.   You are the heroes.   Driving to check on someone and seeing random things like a family from MN pulled over in a rented Uhaul with a home made sign saying, " MN loves you,  we have supplies."  A clean shirt never felt so wonderful, and a hug from a stranger never conveyed so much.   There were families or groups from VA, MN, IL, and South Florida that I saw personally doing this. I am sure there were so many more I didn't see. Thank you.


I was contacted by someone who wrote their own first hand version of Katrina from the New Orleans Point of View.  I want you to please go and read her story.


Miley said...

I'm not exactly sure where you live but I have a clue :) If you read my post, I touch a tiny bit on some of the same issues. I know people who went back to a slab and they made do.
And then you have others who couldn't be bothered to "make do".

I'm also working on a post about living on minimum wage and "making do" by being resourceful and bettering yourself but I decided to wait a while before posting it because of the anger that will be stirred up inside me about idiots like the ones you are describing!

What you did, what we did after Ike, what my family did during Katrina & Gustav, it's what I would EXPECT from someone. Take care of others as you would hope they'd take care of you if the situation was reversed. It's WHAT YOU DO.

Unknown said...

You and I have talked about this and I agree 1million plus %. While we didnt go through Katrina in the part of Florida I lived in, we did go through 3 back to back hurricanes in less than 2 mos time. There were those of us that got out after the storm in the middle of the night and started pulling limbs and checking on neighbors.. you know COMING TOGETHER and not waiting for someone to come by and do it for us. Banned together while others sat and waited and cried for bailout.
You either get off your ass and make due or you sit back and wait for the already stressed government to bail your ass out. Five years later, wonder how many are still sitting. MORAL FIBER people. Peachy said it...... and said it best.

Anonymous said...

Powerful writing.....very vivid. Thanks for sharing. I was one of those watching on TV with tears in my eyes.