Not because we took a vacation but because we were thinking of and praying for our friends in NOLA. My wife, as you know, continues to telecommute as a media consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of LA and she was busy all last week and through the storm coordinating media coverage, calling, texting, and just checking up on folks. We are thankful that NOLA seems to have been largely spared, but lives have been lost, homes destroyed, business as well, and the region will again struggle to get back on its feet. Many are saying they will never come back, that twice in three years is too much.
The good news is, of course, that the city of NOLA received a glancing blow. The reality is, of course, that had a strong storm hit it no levees would have held. They just can’t, nature can be too strong for it. What is most important in preparing for hurricanes on the coast then is not protecting property, but people. So the best news was that the evacuations worked. Most estimates say that 95% of the residents of coastal LA evacuated. This is the best news of all. Sure, they probably would have been fine, as my friend in Covington who today reports simply that “it is warm here.” An understatement I am sure. But most needed to leave and this time they were able to. My most enduring image from Katrina is that of all the school buses flooded in a parking lot. School buses that could have been used for evacuation, but Nagin refused to order it. This time he is being criticized for “scaring” people. Take it as a compliment Nagin. They should be scared.
The clean up has already begun, after all, the bars and casinos need to open as fast as possible. People are being told to wait before returning, and are not happy about it. But it is not safe and until power lines and boats are cleared from roads, sitting tight is just what should be done. For all of us not in the region please give to the charity of your choice that serves in disaster relief. If you are looking for a suggestion I can promise you that the Episcopal Diocese of LA will make sure your donation is used well and for the benefit all those in most need.
Finally a few sites worth visiting if you are looking for news on Gustav and NOLA.
NOLA.COM – This is the website for the Times-Picayune.
Chris Rose – Writer for the TP who is always relevant, humorous, and prescient.
NOLA Blog – The blog from NOLA.COM writers.