I always wanted to visit New Orleans. I wanted to see and feel the history there, but I guess now it will never be like it was and I've missed out. I've been riveted by the coverage of the destruction along the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts. It's terrible. I just made an online donation to the American Red Cross. It doesn't seem like much, but maybe it will help get clean drinking water and food or some other stuff to the people who need it. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost so much and who have a long road of rebuilding ahead of them. The destruction is vast and the clean-up seems insurmountable. Many people are not only without homes but also without jobs to go back to. It's just staggering to think about all the problems that have to be solved.
I've heard a few people say that this is a lot like the big Tsunami. Just think how deadly it would have been if Katrina had come without warning and people had not evacuated. But I can't help but be a little bothered by the people who did stay when they were told to leave. I can see how some might have been 'stuck' due to not having transportation or money to leave, but surely there was public transportation available at no cost? And David said something last night that I never even considered because I tend to be a Pollyanna. He said that a lot of the people who stayed behind did so because they knew that they would be able to loot and steal stuff while most people were gone. Okay, I know I'm treading on dangerous territory here. I am a little torn between sympathy and disgust. I feel bad for the people who have no food or water and have to steal it to survive, but I also feel some disgust that they didn't leave when they should have.
And while I'm at it let me step even further into dangerous territory. I have to wonder why we should rebuild New Orleans in the exact same place and in the exact same way. It seems like it was a bad set-up to begin with, building a coastal city below sea-level. I just don't think that it's a wise idea to rebuild that way. I know that moving an entire city sounds ridiculous, but let's think about the future. Who's to say that another storm won't come along and destroy it all again? It seems like a waste of resources to rebuild exactly the way it was. And look at our American history and see how people have constantly moved on to more fertile fields. There are the ghost towns of the Old West that died away because the gold mines or whatever dried up. And there are dead or dying towns all across our country that have lost their reasons to exist. People moved on. Americans have always had that pioneering spirit to move on from less than satisfactory places. I think it's a genetic predisposition because we all have descended from nomads. We all are immigrants from somewhere.
Maybe we should allow the Old New Orleans to go down as the Legend of the Great Sunken City, like the legend of Atlantis. I know it has been so many people's home, and their heritage is there and their roots run deep. I know I might sound heartless to even suggest this. But in order to survive people must adapt to new conditions. We have to learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them. And I look at the Israelis who have been forced from their homes in Palestine as a similar situation though their impetus was political and religious instead of environmental. We Americans have a history of being tough and resilient and clever and resourceful. Now is the time to put all of that to work again.
And lest anyone thinks I'm a cold-hearted, unfeeling bitch to think this way, please reread the first paragraph.