Monday, August 31, 2015

HURRICANE KATRINA TEN YEARS ON

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Ten years ago, I lived in the house on the hill in Illinois. I worked in a university library. I was married. I was taking two classes toward a master's degree in English. My adult children were my pride and joy, with equal measures of both. My mission was to rescue dogs.

If you could have seen my life, it looked as if it could be the perfect tableau in a snow globe.

Gradually, the snow globe started to shake. It shook harder. Then someone turned it upside down and shook it so hard that the scene inside didn't return to what it had been.

The house on the hill turned into a tiny house in Florida. I didn't have a job. I didn't have a husband. I didn't have the master's degree I wanted so badly. Thank God I still had children and dogs.

As difficult as that time was for me, ten years ago was much worse for the people who had to live with Hurricane Katrina, which formed over the Bahamas on August 23rd, 2005. On August 24th, it became Tropical Storm Katrina. The storm became a hurricane on August 25th.

Hurricane Katrina became a category five hurricane before weakening to category three on August 29th. I was at work in the library when reports about the severity of the storm reached us.

Wikipedia states: Katrina caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge. The most significant number of deaths occurred in New OrleansLouisiana, which flooded as its levee system failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. However, the worst property damage occurred in coastal areas, such as Mississippi beachfront towns; over 90 percent of these were flooded. Boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland; water reached 6–12 miles (10–19 km) from the beach.

The rest of the country watched helplessly as the people who couldn't escape the flood waters begged for help. Their snow globes weren't merely out of order. Everything inside was smashed. The glass on the globes was shattered, too.

Some areas never recovered from Hurricane Katrina, and I suspect they never will.

My blog has served its purpose as my therapy. My snow globe is not perfect, but I recovered. I won't end my blog, but expect changes in the future.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug






For an analysis of the politicizing of Hurricane Katrina, consider reading http://goo.gl/v6Yfz0.


42 comments:

  1. Hi Janie - life is a roller coaster ... and the people of New Orleans have had a very rough time - many so desperate, and still desperate. I'm just glad your life is turning around - well done for hanging on in there ... here's to the future ... Hilary

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  2. I was just 13 when that happened. I was 12 during the Boxing Day tsunami and 9 when 9/11 happened. I don't think I was able to really appreciate the severity of those things like I would if they'd happened later on.

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  3. I don't like the ominous tone of the ending there. I'm glad you're not ending, but these changes sound spooky.
    I remember Katrina and meeting so many people who had to relocate because of it to where I was living at the time, Houston. You'd think that Katrina would have taught us all to evacuate, but three years later, Hurricane Ike approached Houston and because I had a tyrannical boss at that time who demanded we be at work the next day, I stayed. Don't stay during a hurricane, it's madness. You'd think that would be obvious, but also, no job is worth risking it.

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    1. That boss was an asshole. Nothing ominous about the change in the blog.

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  4. So glad to hear you made it through your tough time. When our house was destroyed in the Nashville flood in 2010, I put a saying on my Facebook page: "Into every life, a little rain must fall." Ours was literal rain! But it was designed to be a reminder that we all go through tough times in our lives...the key is to just find a way to get through it to the other side.

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    1. Yup! We have to keep moving forward, even if we take a few steps back at times.

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  5. I think the country watched in rage, mostly helpless, and the help that arrived was local, for far too long.
    I' looking forward to Janie Junebug's reinvented blog.

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    1. Thank you, Joanne. The blog won't change a lot. I remember how desperately I wished I could fill a truck with water, food, and diapers and head south.

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  6. My life was pretty much the same. We had just moved to this small town. Kind of shook me up, though. I remember watching a lot of Anderson Cooper in his black T-shirt.

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  7. Thanks for the reminder of how fragile our existence can be, Janie. But I find it so amazing that we are so resilient and can survive even the most tragic of events. For me, it's my faith, for my daughter it has been AA. Great post, and I can't wait to see what you are going to be doing with your blog.

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    1. Prayer and my faith have made such a difference in my life, along with my dogs and keeping my sense of humor.

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  8. the damage caused by Katrina was mostly avoidable, and served to highlight our governmental shortcomings. Storms happen, but we could have done such a better job of protecting our people with better levies and preparation.

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    1. What if it happens again? Would the destruction be as devastating? Is the situation any better?

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  9. Hi, dear Janie! Katrina was another of those epic "where were you and what were you doing" events. That day I was at the dentist's office getting my teeth drilled and thinking nobody could be having a worse day. As the 10th anniversary flashback reports remind us, the days, weeks and months that followed Katrina were some of the darkest and most troubling in our nation's history.

    There is only one constant in life and that is change. No matter what changes you wish to make to your blog, your friends will be here in support.

    I wish you a safe and happy week ahead, dear friend Janie!

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    1. I am better able to embrace change now. I wish you a safe and happy week, dear friend Shady.

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  10. My thoughts and prayers are still with them. Such a sad and devastating time. You are right. .as awful as our lives seem at the time, there are others suffering worse. It's humbling to remember that.

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  11. Hurricane Katrina was horrible. I wasn't impacted where I am in FL, but I was so heartbroken at the devastation. I am sorry for the bad time you experienced ten years ago and the things you lost. xoxo

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    1. I miss very few things that I lost. I'm glad the storm didn't hit you here in our great state of Florida.

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  12. SO many of us have had to live through terrible catastrophes. We are a tough lot even when we aren't sure that we can survive.

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  13. What we feel is perfect one day can go all to hell and bathwater the next second. I remember one lady saying she, and others, were walking in waist deep water when she saw a man ahead of her being taken down by a crocodile. I will never forget that. They not only had the floods and loss of home and belongings but had to deal with crocs and poisonous snakes. What also baffles me is that, after World War 2, Germany was devastated by all the bombings but in less than 10 years, with help, many building were restored and things were returning to "normal". The city of New Orleans and other smaller places are still in a bad way and I just don't understand how a rich country like the U.S. can still have something look so devastated and that was 1 city not every city. I feel bad for the people who, I think, were let down by their own country to be frank

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    1. I, too, have never understood why the people of New Orleans were forced to suffer the way they did. I don't understand why parts of the city still haven't been rebuilt. I wonder if any improvements have been made to the levies.

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  14. Katrina is a cautionary tale on many levels. It brought out the best and worst of people, government and society.

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    1. So many people went there to help. Sean Penn made his way to New Orleans, borrowed a boat, and went out to rescue people wherever he found them.

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  15. A lot can happen in ten years! It's hard to believe it has been ten years since Katrina.

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    1. I know! Time flies when you're having fun. Time even flies when you're not having fun.

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  16. Looking forward to the changes in your blog!

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  17. Yes I remember all of that. I remember standing in front of the TV in shock and feeling horrible for the people. A few months after that, I was standing in line at the store, and this couple was in front of me and apparently they had been Katrina victims and they took up the offer to move away and was relocated to California. It was culture shock for them and their family and at that time, they were homesick and didn't know if they wanted to stay. I did see them again, several times, and each time, they looked better and better.

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    1. I'm glad they seemed to feel better over time.

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  18. A very well-written post, Janie Junebug! Great that you were able to land on your feet and get on with living! xo Nellie

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  19. I am stunned it's been 10 years. Your snow-globe analogy was brilliant. Life can change in just a moment. A few weeks ago one of my childhood friends and her husband were at our home and we were enjoying a wonderful pizza dinner together. A week later he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Major snow-globe explosion.

    xoxo
    -andi

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  20. The Coliseum fiasco angered me. How could be people be so mistreated?
    Looking forward to changes here, Janie.

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    1. Thank you, Dixie. People were treated very much like the people during the fifties and sixties who marched and protested in an attempt to gain their civil rights.

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