Today is the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And the question is, what have we learned? (The media will be asking this question over and over again.)
The most honest answer: not much.
- Oh, we’ve been reminded again that the divide between the poor and the not so poor gets larger under most circumstances.
- We’ve been reminded that it takes longer to rebuild than we think.
- We’ve been reminded that the racial divide gets deeper when tragedies like this strike.
But what have we learned?
The city of New Orleans has reinforced it’s levy system so that it can now withstand a Level 3 hurricane coming ashore.
That’s not going to do much good if a Level 4 or Level 5 hurricane comes ashore.
Because of climate change, we can rest assured that hurricanes will become larger and more powerful and more frequent.
People have been waxing nostalgic about New Orleans and how strong it is and how many people stayed and rebuilt (although a lot of people left for places Houston and never came back).
The human spirit is strong.
There are some nice stories that came out of New Orleans during the rebuilding process.
But what have we learned?
- Have we learned not to build in places that are prone to flooding?
- Have we learned to take care of the people who are most vulnerable in a disaster?
- Have we learned to accept climate change as a real thing which is going to affect us all?
I don’t even have to answer that question for all of you to know what the answer is.
I like this post, and the rest of your stuff in general, so kudos to you. I like this post becasue I’m a huge sucker for New Orleans because it really is an incredible city filled with the most selfless and resilient people you could ever hope to meet; people who are truly appreciative of those who have gone out of their way to aid them in their time of need. I was there at the 5 year anniversary with my AmeriCorps team rebuilding houses in partnership with Project Homecoming.
I still get a phone call every year around the holidays from Alvin, the man whose home I worked on, and directed so many other volunteers which changed weekly in working on it too. That’s always something that’s really stood out to me, especially now 5 years after the fact. He’ll still take the time to reach out and say thanks, I appreciate everything you did.
Despite all the resilience the people of New Orleans have shown in struggling through it all this far, we’re all a little light in the lessons learned department having lost or left behind many possible chances for learning. We as humans haven’t figured out the fact that when you eff with nature it eff’s back, only harder quite yet, but we’ll learn eventually. You can’t outsmart nature, you can be ahead of the curve, but even that doesn’t last forever either, nor does it give you any undue advantages over natural species of predators.
One thing that I must say has improved though, is the response time of the federal government in the face of natural disasters, or crises. It would appear that Obama is much quicker off the gun than his predecessor was, especially in that one glaring instance, unless of course Mr. West had it right the first time in which case there’s no love lost.