Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hurricane Katrina 9 Years Later

As we marked the 9th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina yesterday I couldn't help but think how much life has changed since "the storm." For one thing, there's always that phrase "the storm" and everybody knows which storm you're talking about. We still relate stories to each other in terms of whether they happened in places before or after "the storm." Although the population of the area has nearly returned to pre-Katrina numbers that population has shifted farther north, away from the beach. Along the beach itself there are still huge tracts of vacant property where hotels, motels, stores, restaurants, apartments, and houses once stood. Most have not rebuilt because of new elevation requirements and significantly higher insurance rates. Some schools have closed because children no longer live in the areas serviced by them, while other schools are bursting at the seams because of new neighborhoods that sprang up after the storm. As if things weren't bad enough, as we were finally revving things up in Katrina recovery we got hit with the BP oil spill. It's been a trying time, but we're making it. Whenever I talk about Katrina I have to mention one little thing that is a sticking point of residents in this area. Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast and wiped out entire neighborhoods and towns and did billions of dollars of damage from wind, rain, and storm surge. Katrina did not strike New Orleans. New Orleans fell victim to an engineering failure 2 days after Katrina made landfall in Mississippi. New Orleans flooded when levees broke. Mississippi was struck directly by the storm. There is a difference, but for most people outside of the area only New Orleans comes to mind when they think of Katrina. That's all. I'll post about Katrina again next year for the 10th anniversary.






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