Lake Charles Was Destroyed by Hurricane Laura. America Has Already Moved On. (The New Republic. Sept. 2020.)

photo by JOE RAEDLE

When Hurricane Laura hit last week, all I could think about was Katrina. The world considers August 29 the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. For New Orleans residents like myself, that date marks the mere beginning of a disaster that unfolded over the course of a week and then reverberated for years and years. It’s a trauma we relive with each new storm. And despite climate scientists’ many warnings to prepare for more storms ahead, the fundamental pattern of human suffering and inequity seems to repeat itself.

Hurricane Katrina passed over New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Over the next day or so, the area filled with water from the many breaches in the federally built levee system that was supposed to protect the city. My neighbors then either died or were rescued from their roofs, as the Superdome and the Convention Center filled with the city’s most vulnerable residents. Then drinking water ran out, and somehow no one could get water to my suffering neighbors for almost a week.

My partner and I, evacuated to Florida, learned about our beloved city’s destruction through the racist prism of national television. Nancy Grace was the first talking head I watched shift focus from the information we really needed onto “looting”—as if the theft of TVs and diapers represented the worst things happening during that week of death and destruction. TO READ THE REST OF THIS STORY AT The New Republic CLICK HERE.

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