NOLA Thoughts

I was just reading a story about New Orleans on the tenth anniversary of Katrina that was one guys perspective of what happened then and since then.

I was glancing a some pictures my step-daughter posted from her visit 10 years ago.

I have watched the interviews and reports on CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets.

Lives were lost.

Lives were uprooted.

Lives were changed.

The term NOLA wasn’t common until recently according to a couple of accounts I have read or heard.

We like to wrap things up into convenient packages with #Hashtags and create a movement, volunteer for a cause or even donate $$ in 3 and 5 dollar increments and believe we are doing something.

Yes, we are doing something.  Don’t discount it, but also be cautious about believing the true impact of what you are doing.

Also be cautious of what the government can do.

The government isn’t some impersonal machine that takes care of us, although some believe it is.

It is made up of people.  People like me, like you, like your parents.

People who want to do good and others who want that good for themselves.

People in government are like little gods.  Depending on the level of power that they have and if they are elected, appointed, or just a hired hand, they may be influenced to look out for themselves first, or for others first.

One of the big complaints about the rebuilding of NOLA is how it created a different New Orleans than before Katrina.  Neighborhoods were not rebuilt.  They were replaced.  Public Housing for low income residents disappeared as the waters receded and were replaced with unaffordable dwellings. At least unaffordable by the folks who used to live on that land.

Besides the horror from the screw-ups by government officials that left people stranded and dying during the storm, there have been years of government involvement that has caused what is there now.

All of this could have been prevented.

There was money and plans to build protection against storms like Katrina.  But those programs were either reduced, or never acted on and that was the first problem with trusting the government.

Then during the actual storm, again the government failed on multiple levels.  In the years following, again it is the government that has either helped or hindered, depending on your perspective.

What I find amazing is that those who have been most hurt by those in charge in government, still look to the government to fix things.

It’s almost like trusting an abusive spouse to stop the beatings and magically give them a wonderful life.

I don’t know the answers.   As I get older and see the state of reliance even middle class people have on government it is scary.

I work in a profession that allows me to get rewarded financially proportionately by the work I do. While it is not physically demanding, it is demanding in other ways.  Twice in the past ten years I took positions where I was paid according to what I was able to initially negotiate and that was my income without any opportunity to increase it due to my own efforts.

Those that depend on the government are even less in control of their futures.  Talk about feeling trapped.

Back to the topic of NOLA.

My step-daughter found some pictures from when she was 17 and spent a week with other volunteers helping with clean-up efforts.  This event and others will have an impact on each of us and it is up to each of us to determine how that impact will transform us.