Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina and the Poor

A year ago today, as we braced ourselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, I posted what follows. In the days that followed, I posted several times on the subject. You may want to revisit those posts in the archives here. No other subject matter has brought as intense a response as this one.

Remember New Orleans today and this week.

Mayor Ray Nagin reported on Sunday evening that approximately 1 million residents of metropolitan New Orleans had evacuated in preparation for landfall of hurricane Katrina.

Experts predict that Katrina will blast across the coastline of Louisiana as a category 5 storm of enormous proportions and then, by early Monday morning, bury the city of New Orleans with a predicted 28-foot storm surge.

This storm has been anticipated for decades. I know when we lived in New Orleans, everyone talked about "the big storm" that was sure to come eventually.

Katrina could be that storm. I pray that it is not.

New Orleans is a curious, wonderful, exotic city with unique strengths and major weaknesses. The geography is not favorable when it comes to managing hurricanes. Situated below sea level and surrounded by water, including a very large and very shallow lake to the north, the city sits in a topographical saucer that could fill up quickly, overwhelming everything and everyone.

Amazingly, a full 1 million citizens evacuated the city in fairly short order.

Still, over 200,000 stayed behind. . .primarily because they had no choice. The poorest of the community, as usual, found no option but to stay put.

The Superdome has been converted quickly into the world's largest homeless shelter.

Well-to-do travelers, trapped in the city, have gone up. That is, they have secured hotel rooms in the high-rise developments downtown and in other parts of the city. The symbolism is telling.

As I watched the reports by CNN, I saw thousands of the city's poor and weak and young and ill lined up waiting to get into the Superdome for what could be an extended stay.

Nothing new here.

The poor always suffer most.

My faith tells me that God sees.

Pray for the welfare of this important city and its people, especially those who had no choice but to stay "at home."


MarkS said...

Thanks for the sobering reminder of the prevalant injustices in our world. We've to do better.

Amy said...

Thanks for your comment to my blog, Larry. I always enjoy yours, well "enjoy" may not be the right word!

You offer a rare voice that calls me to wake up to the problem of poverty that I am insulated from. The part of Jesus' teachings I tend to skip over.

Blessings to your ministry,

K. Rex Butts said...

Very well put ...and how interesting it is that what I have heard talked alot about is those heautiful and historical homes that will be lost.

Kathy said...

Bless you for bringing the perspective of the poor to our attention yet again. We need to be reminded over and over and over again.

Prayer chains all over the globe have been praying that God would place His calming hand on this storm, and that He would give special protection to the poor, including those huddled in the Super Dome, [btw-the roof has sprung major leaks].

He has answered! The storm is now downgraded to a less ferocious Cat.3, but still very dangerous. It veered to the east, making landfall closer to Mobile, Alabama, rather than slamming into New Orleans. We continue to cry out to Him for the weak and needy.

AP put out a list of resources where we can help the 1000s that will need it post-Katrina.


Bless you, Larry and your ministry. May our eyes, hearts and hands be opened to those that Jesus had special love; the poor, needy, ill, and weak.

David U said...

Thanks Larry for sharing your perspectives and wisdom concering this terrible event. You always enlighten me. You always challenge me!


Lisa Goolsby said...

Jeff and I have spent a lot of time in the last few days talking about the storm and our memories of those first few hours, then days, then weeks! Last night we watched a Brian Williams special and for the whole hour I sat with my mouth open, my head shaking, and tears in my eyes. I miss my Louisiana friends and I mourn for them this week as they face the one year mark. Thanks for reminding people of the devestation.

Larry James said...

Thanks, Lisa. Glad you are back in Texas.

bpb said...

we have to remember that the flooding is what was ultimately the ruin of New Orleans . . . again, the city drowned while our administration frolicked . . .

Larry for Prez! said...


The only posts better than your "If I were mayor..." are the ones about New Orleans.

How about you post a "If I were president..." blog? You started one here, it seems:


JD said...

As someone who grew up just upriver from New Orleans, I love the city also. It is unfortunate that the citizens were victims of an impotent self-centered flamboyant media-hungry mayor and a sour faced shrugging Governess. It is doubly unfortunate that Nagin was re-elected. I do not know all the inner workings of government, but I really believe that these two abused the moment they were most needed in order to point fingers and politicize a disaster. Meanwhile, they were shrugging their shoulders and saying that no one would help them. Mississippians were digging themselves out of the same rubble from the same storm and welcoming volunteers. Louisiana residents were watching their elected officials string red-tape all over the disaster scene, keeping significant progress from developing. Why? I cannot begin to ennumerate the self-serving reasons. Governmental leadership soiled itself on every level, Federal, State, and Local ... worsening the Katrina tragedy in New Orleans rather than making it better.

Anonymous said...

rc, you leave out our esteemed President and the feds. Very disingenous indeed.