Monday, August 28, 2006

Louisiana, One Year Later

Around 6am tomorrow morning will be the anniversary of the land fall of Hurricane Katrina. About an hour later, if the latest studies are correct, will be when the levees started to fail a year ago. The television news (and various other stations) are having a field day. We can expect the same on the 11th of next month. I doubt that we will hear too much about Rita, when her 1 year mark comes around.

Recently, I came across the following passage:

"In the state of Louisiana, venality is a given. The state's culture, mind-set, religious attitudes, and economics are no different from those of a Caribbean nation. The person who believes he [or she] can rise to a position of wealth and power in the state of Louisiana and not do business with the devil probably knows nothing about the devil and even less about Louisiana."

This passage appears in a book called Crusader's Cross by New Iberia native, James Lee Burke (p. 140). There is a very great deal of truth in this remark. It misses an important point though. That is that people in Louisiana care for one another, especially when trouble comes.

One of the stories that I have heard time and time again about the hurricanes of last year, is about the people who went to New Orleans immediately after Katrina, with their own boats and rescued people. I know one fellow who lost count after 75 in a single day. All these stories have the same end. After a while, they were not allowed to go into the water. Soldiers told them, overnight, it had suddenly become too dangerous. This was not true. Paranoia took over with the Federal government. The result was that people suffered for longer. It probably cost a few people thier lives.

These same people, a month later, towed their boats to the coastal Parishes for Rita. The tales of these people will never make the television. They are the everyday people of Louisiana. I know them. Theirs are accounts that will never be famous, but are as much an essential part of Louisiana as 'venality'. I am proud to live and work with these people. When watching the Katrina specials, please try and keep this, less well known side, in mind.

The CP


Blogger ToastedSuzy said...

I hope you'll tell some of those stories. I'm much more inclined to listen to you (or almost any actual person) than to Stone Phillips or Barbara Walters anyway.


10:32 AM  
Blogger Clampett said...

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3:55 PM  

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