Topic started on 30-7-2011 @ 02:43 AM by louieprima
I hope I'm in the right forum. Perhaps this should be in "Rant" but here goes:
First of all, I am not seeking sympathy and care not for it. Just a voice of experience for good or ill.
I understand the desire for massive change. Our system sucks and needs it. Many see drastic and quick changes as the only hope for a renewal of the
American and/or Western system of representative democracy and freedoms. And perhaps it is the only way at this juncture. Many post on here and
sometimes seem to almost hope for a 2012 event, alien invasion, insurrection against the establishment, natural disaster, etc. Such an event would
potentially shake us out of our corrupt, elite controlled sleepstate. I understand this mindset, however I have a warning and a reassurance.
I grew up in the New Orleans Metro area. Throughout most of my youth, I heard about Hurricanes and about the oil industry's abuses of our
environment but never really saw any consequences first hand. The first hurricane I remember anyone evacuating for was in 1998 and it swerved away
into Mississippi. When people were freaking out about Hurricane Katrina I didn't make much of it. In fact, I figured I would ride it out at home.
Luckily, I evaced to Baton Rouge at the last minute after it was clear it was a huge storm and headed directly for us. I still figured it was nothing
and treated BR like a Hurricane party. I woke up the next day to learn my city was destroyed. The Gulf Coast was in ruins. My life and everyone's
life in the Gulf Coast would never be the same.
There is a clear, defining line in the lives of those in South Louisiana and Coastal Mississippi. Pre-Katrina and post Katrina. Western Louisiana
experienced the same thing with Rita. Disaster prep seems like a fun hobby until a disaster happens. First of all, the actual first hand and real
experience that the government is unprepared and unready to deal with real life events hits you really hard. Even if you hate government and consider
yourself Discordian or libertarian, the confusion and chaos is unsettling. There are so many agencies and none seem to know what the heck is going
on... and then they begin competing for territory and political capital. Of course the media is totally flubbing everything in order to make the event
fit a marketable narrative.
The event and immediate aftermath were awful. Awful. I managed to get in touch with my sister and parents in about a week. And I was one of the lucky
ones. Many didnt know what happened to their family members for months. Think about how you would feel if, for a long period of time, you could not
find out if your loved ones were alive or dead. Almost all lines were down. Cell phones using the 504 area code were practically useless. You just had
to hope for the best until you either saw them physically or managed to get a line through. Many made contact indirectly through other family members,
friends, or friends of friends. Not much sleep occurred during this period. If you had access to booze, you partook because there was not much else
you could do.
When we started moving back home, things got even more difficult. Imagine your basic necessities being unreliable. Grocery supplies were limited. Many
roads were impassable. Gas prices were high and many had no income. Getting your car fixed put you on a 6 month waiting list at a higher cost than
pre-K. Forget about waiting less than an hour at your neighborhood restaurant. If you found a crap apartment at almost twice what you were paying
pre-K you were lucky. There was no complaining because we were all in the same boat. Everyone understood that everyone else was working hard and that
things were just really messed up and we needed each other to get through it. We could have just left and gone to other cities, but we didn't. New
Orleans, Chalmette, Metairie, Slidell, and the Mississippi Gulf coast communities came back. We were not going to let this beat us. Sure, it sucked,
but we bit our lip and rebuilt.
I'm sure many will claim we used taxpayer dollars, blah, blah, blah. It's true, the city (NO) has a lot of dependent citizens that were prominently
shown in the national media. What isn't often shown is the blood, sweat, and tears of hard working Louisianians, white and black, middle class and
poor, to rebuild their communities. It was hard work and it sucked. SUCKED! And was usually done with insurance money, some state money, and personal
money. FEMA took many years of bureaucratic bungling before showing any initiative to rebuild in a sane way.
2006 was a really hard year. George Bush had moved on to the next issue by then. Mayor Nagin decided at that point that in order to maintain power, he
had to encourage racial hatred at the worst possible time for the community. The Saints success actually, in my opinion, helped keep us up that
Through 2007 things still largely sucked. Just think of everything in your life that is easy and convenient and erase it. That was NO in 2006-7. But
things continued to get better, believe it or not.
Schools were being reformed. Some glaring political problems were fixed in a way more responsible to the citizenry. Citizens, although not always in
agreement politically, took their leaders to task and managed to put corrupt leaders in jail, or at least, go them out of office.
By 2010, We were en route to completely turn things around. The Saints won the SuperBowl and them BOOM, our Gulf was covered in oil. But, you know
what? We've had to deal with disaster before, and just recently.
Disaster is hard. It sucks. It really will test the mettle of anyone. But as awful as Katrina was it strengthened our community. People learned to
take care of themselves and that helping their neighbor was helping themselves. It helped us to learn that disasters don't discern between races and
neither should we. We SHOULD hold our leaders responsible and we should hold OURSELVES responsible.
I would never wish a natural disaster on anyone because, believe me, I still have psychological damage from that damn storm. BUT, Our community has
never been stronger and more resilient than it is now.
I sometimes wonder if America needs the kick in the butt that the Gulf Coast got.
I don't know. We been through enough, but at this point another "event" is just that. Another event.
God bless, good night, good luck.