Friday, June 20, 2008

This Needed to be Said

Only 'cause my house wasn't lost, it would have been totally inappropriate for me to say it:

No doubt exists whether this flood has been catastrophic, has changed lives, has altered our view of the world. I was there with you all. I sandbagged, worried, evacuated my own newsroom by hand in the pitch black when electricity was cut. I cried as I read stories from our newspaper and others. I prayed for those affected. I'm still waiting for the water to recede, and I hope just as much that the damage is minimal.

Meanwhile, for those of you who weren't there, I'd like to tell you a little about Katrina:

When Katrina ravaged my Mississippi as well as Louisiana, I watched on the DI television, and I was helpless. My mother relayed to me via the telephone which coworker had lost a husband and baby, who had drowned in their attics as they tried to break through the roof to escape rising waters.

I watched the death toll rise, the government not send aid for days.

People were angry; they were forgotten. They died. And even after they died, they were still forgotten. One news story recounts a woman who tried to flag down police as she stood next to the corpse of her husband. Their advice to her was how to effectively move the smelly body as far away from the road as possible. . . .

We passed several blocks of houses that had made it through the storm, upright, and in various forms of disrepair. Some had X's spray-painted on the door. A family friend explained, the first slash of the X was painted as a tally of how many bodies needed to be removed, the second slash as a mark that someone had picked them up.

More houses had only the first slash painted on, bodies still rotting inside. . . .
Read the rest in the DI.
I have friends in New Orleans, and I agree. This is bad. The losses are catastrophic. I know several people who are homeless, many streets are still flooded, and I've no idea how we're going to start holding court next week. But, thank God, it is no Katrina.

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