Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav: I Want to be Wrong

As I sit here, Hurricane Gustav is making it's way to the northern Gulf coast. No one can say for sure where it will make landfall, but New Orleans looks as if it's going to take a direct hit.

Sixteen years ago, I moved away from New Orleans after spending four incredible years there as a student at Tulane. Though I left New Orleans, New Orleans never left me, and I've tried to get "home" as often as possible.

Three years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated extensive parts of the northern Gulf coast--including New Orleans.

And it wasn't just the land and buildings that were destroyed.

Katrina wiped out the homes of tens (hundreds?) of thousands of families, but even those who were able to salvage their belongings were deeply affected by the stresses of the storm.

And having to relive the nightmare all over again so are they expected to cope?

A note from my friend yesterday reported his family's safe evacuation to Florida ahead of the storm. He was going to head north to his office to ride out the storm with the hopes of keeping his business running and being close enough to get home to begin to work on the damage as soon as possible, but he is joining his family instead. His daughter who is six was just too afraid for her Daddy. She remembers moving away from her home last time. She has felt the stress it has placed on her parents--parents who have already separated once since Katrina.

Gustav looks as though it's going to hurt her home again, and I hope I'm wrong.

There is reason to believe that, even with a direct hit, Gustav will kill far fewer people with the emergency plans that have been put into place--plans that didn't exist three years ago.

But I'm a cynic.

Are the plans in place because Louisiana has a governor who can lead the state or is it because this storm happens to be occurring during a large political convention?

Three years ago, President Bush thought his FEMA director was doing a terrific job even when anyone watching CNN knew differently.

Gustav looks like it may have a significant impact on the Gulf Coast, but people are being properly evacuated this time. Is it because politicians don't want to look like ineffective leaders in this election year?

Again, I hope I'm wrong.

8 Deserve Mamma's Love:

flutter said...

I do, too.

AnnetteK said...

Sigh. I hope you're wrong too. Thanks for putting this into words.

sam {temptingmama} said...

I hope you're wrong. I too have had the same thoughts though.

Meg said...

I think the election year has something to do with it but I also think that people are rightfully afraid this time. As we both know, people are complacent about the power of hurricanes and what damage they can do if they aren't affected by them for years. My brother just told me that they won't evacuate South Pasadena for anything less than a strong Cat 2. What an idiot. He has a wife and a child. People just think that they can handle anything.


Anonymous said...

Living on the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are just a part of life for us. The waiting, the decision of staying or going, the boarding up..we do this every year.

Katrina took everyone by surprise because for the most part things had been relatively quiet since Hurricane Andrew back in the early 90's. It was a hell of a reminder not to take anything for granted, and its made us all look at these storms with a more cautious eye.

We got very lucky Gustav was not the monster it could have been, the Coast is just not ready for another Katrina yet.

Anonymous said...

If it was related to the election year, perhaps something good came out of it and a precedent was set and a plan tested for how to do it (evacuations)next time.

Ndinombethe said...

I've been thinking the same thing. They really have it too rough there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for continuing to care and post for your followers to read. We here in NOLA really, really appreciate the MammaLoves out there :)