It is hard to believe that it is 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the gulf coast. It seems that it was not that long ago that we watched this enormous and frightening storm and the storm surge that followed. We watched people waiting on roof tops for a helicopter or a boat to carry them to safety. They must have been so scared. I would have been. Out there on your roof under the big sky worrying that your whole house could lose its moorings and float away, and no rescue in sight for many hours. I’m not even sure I could grab a ladder to climb up to a helicopter.
We watched the people stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center with no food. They were abandoned there while the various levels of government fought turf wars over who should take responsibility for providing for these people. It was like one of those disaster movies where we sit on the edge of our seats saying “get those people”, “you’re going to be too late.” Except this was not a movie; it was real. We saw all the school buses that could have evacuated all those people sitting in careful rows tire deep in water in a parking lot somewhere.
I never in my life saw a good sized American city wiped out in that way. I had never really wanted to visit New Orleans because I am a “party pooper”, I guess. When my sister said that she had made reservations on the gulf coast (in Gulfport, MS) and that she wanted to go to New Orleans for her birthday I was skeptical. I thought New Orleans would still be a shadow of its former self. And Katrina left her marks. On the Beach Road between Gulfport and New Orleans the battered live oaks (still so beautiful) were a testament to the ferocity of the storm. Almost every restaurant we went to near Gulfport had been rebuilt after Katrina and they had the pictures to prove it.
But I was wrong. New Orleans was a wonderful city once again and the gulf coast was alluring too although in a much less populated way. I would visit there again in a heartbeat (when someone makes teleporting real) (planes are too uncomfortable these days).
So today, I listened to our President’s excellent speech ten years after this shocking storm. Because it is the 10th Anniversary of the storm and because New Orleans and the whole gulf coast could benefit from having visitors, I will “treat” you once again to some pictures from the rebuilt gulf highway and the city of New Orleans.
I saw New Orleans as a tourist sees New Orleans. If you want to see how the people who live in New Orleans see the changes since Katrina here is a link to a great video in the NYT this morning (8/28/2015).
By Nancy Brisson