Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hurricane Katrina Second Anniversary

Today marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That event justifies deviating from blogging about law career matters, and instead reflecting on what happened here in Mississippi on that day.

All day, I inevitably will engage in the same sort of compare-and-contrast thinking as millions of other people. Today it is sunny and warm; two years ago it was raining cats and dogs, and the wind gusts were picking up. Like today, people two years ago here in Jackson, MS (which is three hours inland and was still shut down by the storm) are going about their business--but their business today is business. Two years ago their business was buying water, canned food, batteries and ice. Tonight I will take a hot shower in a cool house; two years ago it was the other way around. (At least we had water; many did not.)

New Orleans received most of the national media coverage, and certainly most of the long-term flooding, but Mississippi was hit hard too and suffered enormously from the storm surge of ocean water. Even six months after the storm, the coast had the feel, to me, of Omaha Beach at Normandy after the D-Day invasion: wreckage everywhere, structures looking like they had been bombed flat, and heavy equipment sitting around. No bodies in sight--but there were the emergency rescue spray-painted symbols on house doors indicating that some had been found inside during the search for survivors. Two years after the storm, more progress has been made--streets are clear, beaches have been cleaned, some businesses are back open, and some residents who left are back--but much, much more progress is needed.

The Gulf Coast's population is about 25% down as of right now, I believe, and not likely to come back anytime soon. Katrina worked irreversible change on the coast, and we will be living with the aftermath for years to come.

For Hurricane Katrina photos and local news coverage, see the following links:

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