In Denial about Katrina

01 Sep 2005|Jennifer Grey

I haven’t been able to get my arms around the level of disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. I scoffed at news reports of a Category 5 hurricane and the urgency to evacuate. How many of these ‘supposed’ disasters do we hear about, only to find out it wasn’t as bad as anticipated? I thought the news programs were just trying to rile us up during the slow month of August. Normally I get a little adrenaline rush from an impending disaster and find myself watching more news than usual. Not this time. I was gonna rise above it and not get pulled in by the dire predictions. Even after the storm hit, I knowingly nodded as I heard the storm was downgraded to a Category 3.

Watching TV, I still didn’t quite ‘get’ the magnitude. I watched looters and got irritated. I figured it was like Loma Prieta and surely they were just showing us the small ‘pockets’ of town that were damaged. I’m not sure what it was, but the disaster just didn’t register for me. This morning, I picked up the Chronicle and read.

“Chaos gripped New Orleans on Wednesday….and officials said there was no choice but to abandon the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina, perhaps for months.”

I’m not sure why that hit me the way it did. Abandon the city? New Orleans? The town where I saw my good friend Anne get married; the place where I was fortunate to spend a blurry weekend with Chris fueled by Hurricanes and great music before he died suddenly two weeks later; the place where I feuded with my sister and didn’t speak for months after; the place where I’ve heard great music simply by wandering through a dark doorway? New Orleans. Abandoned? For months?

It’s finally hit me. I watched the news with a different understanding and read the paper with a new curiosity. These people need our help. I donated through MercyCorps. Please think about the people throughout the four states whose lives have been turned upside down. If you can help, please do so. Select a charity that works for you and do what you can. There are an infinite number of possibilities listed on the internet.

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