Yesterday we thought New Orleans was spared the worst of the disaster. Today we learn that two levees protecting the below-sea level city have collapsed and Lake Pontchartrain is in full flood. Parts of New Orleans are twenty feet under water, remaining residents have just been ordered to evacuate by the governor, and the loss of life in Biloxi and Gulfport is expected to be even worse than in New Orleans. It’s overwhelming, but this writer from The Left Coaster, who is familiar with this sort of disaster from a much-smaller levee break in California, has some worthy thoughts:
The humanitarian disaster of New Orleans is something Americans are accustomed to hearing about only from Bangladesh or some other land far from our experience. What countless thousands of residents of New Orleans face now is the inability to go home for months, and the prospect of finding very little when they return. After the media grows bored and moves on other things, the people of New Orleans will have a long and difficult road to follow. Until now, the city had to do everything within its power to maintain an unsustainable status quo. Out of disaster, the opportunity arises to rebuild a new city more in tune with its environment. You are in our thoughts and prayers, New Orleans. May you have the strength to overcome and create a bright future for your city.