Sunday, August 30, 2009

Katrina + 4: it seems like just yesterday, but it seems like forever ago

It has been 4 years since Katrina. I could write for hours on the impact it has had. Clearly it was a catastrophic storm. It leveled houses, killed thousands, and totally reshaped lives, organizations, and governmental agencies.

And while it was horrible, it also forged millions of new friendships and made positive changes for many as well. Personally, without Katrina, I have an almost impossible time imagining BonaResponds.

I toyed with the idea of trying to reflect on how Katrina changed things into a pre-Katrina/Post Katrina world. But I better get to work on other things. But I do want to provide some links to what others have been saying about the anniversary and provide a link to show how I was reporting things on RandomTopics2 back immediately after the storm as BonaResponds was just getting started.

On the 4th year anniversary:

A heartwarming story from NOLA:
Gentilly woman's Katrina anniversary picture-taking tour offers satisfaction, motivation -
"'Progress,' Royal said of the street's transformation. 'You can't say it's not progress.'

Proof of the progress can be found in the pictures she has taken of Gentilly landmarks on Aug. 29 each of the last three years."

And from the editorial in Biloxi's SunHerald:
"Four years ago today the Coast faced the daunting task of dealing with the consequences of a deadly and devastating hurricane.

How daunting a task?

Estimates vary, but the number of housing units significantly damaged or destroyed by Katrina totaled at least 75,000....we’ve come a remarkably long way in our recovery and rebuilding efforts. From tens of thousands in need of permanent shelter to just a few hundred in only four years.

That’s not perfect.

But it is miraculous."

From more the coverage in Biloxi's Sun Hearld:
"Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway on the Town Green told a group at 8 a.m. that four years ago at that place and time, they would have been in water way over their heads. Pass Christian dedicated a new fire station to a longtime volunteer firefighter who died in his home during Katrina and the Bay-Waveland area held a memorial service at the beach."
From the NY Daily News:
"Four years later, New Orleans has taken impressive steps toward recovery. Following a drastic reduction in population, the number of households in the city now stands at 77% of its pre-hurricane total.

While blight remains a problem - 31% of New Orleans' residential housing stock remains unoccupied - the city issued 1,420 permits for new construction in May this year, nearly double the number issued in the same month last year.

That's some of the good news. The bad news is that the city's system of protective levees and canals remains inadequate.

My friend David Campbell the founder of HODR. Writing in his "look-back" to commemorate the 4th anniversary, thanks the volunteers without whom this recovery would not have been possible perfectly concludes:
"To everyone affected by Katrina we are always thinking of you and wishing you the best, today especially. And to everyone who came to help, thank you. Wherever you are now, know that your day, week, month or more volunteering made a difference in someone’s life."

Four years. It seems like it was just yesterday, but it seems like it was forever too.

PS a little note to any Gulf Coast resident who maybe reading this. Your recovery has been amazing. Keep up the good work!

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