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voyager12

Katrina Anniversary

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Charlotte's Action Center for Justice is hosting a screening of Spike Lee's documentary on the Katrina aftermath, "When the Levees Broke" at Charlotte Energy Solutions followed by a discussion. Located on Baldwin Ave in Cherry. The first half is tonight and the second Wed evening. Starts at 7:00. Free with donations accepted. It should be an interesting take on the handling of the entire tragedy.

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I personally believe that much of the blame is the local government corruption and lack of planning. And on the shear misfortune that infrastructure is need to deliver aid.

However, I can't believe that Chertoff is still in charge of homeland security, not to mention all the rest of the cabinet. What happened to falling on your sword after a failure!?! It is a disgrace.

This country is definitely foolish in the eyes of the world after failing to do anything for an entire city.

The good thing, though, is that many of the city's poor are now in other cities, where there are more opportunities for them. New Orlean's had such a disproportionate number that it was hard to manage and help them.

Gosh, what a sad tragedy it all was.

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I personally agree, this was a horrible disaster that affected the lives of almost all Americans in some way. Some much much more than others. However, I can't wait for this anniversary stuff to be over with. I for one am sick and tired of hearing "it's been a year!!!" As if weeping over it will help anything. Maybe the purpose for the sudden publicity is to raise more funds, in which case I understand, but the media is going a bit far on using the same footage, the same conversations, the same everything that was used 11 months ago. Katrina/Rita/Wilma served one major purpose last year, to remind humans to run like hell. After Hugo and Andrew, people stopped paying much attention to the paths of hurricanes for close to a decade. Now, in the wake of last year's hurricane season, people are shivering in their boots and half of the newscasts are about a tropical storm with winds of 60mph. Yes, it has the potential to become a hurricane again, and for all I know, it may have regained that status by now. But even winds at 75 mph are enough to warrant putting your potted plants in your garage and put away that umbrella you have on the table on your deck

Yes, I know, it can be a big deal, and don't get me wrong, I don't take the tropics lightly, I lived in Jacksonville during Andrew and we got out lucky. We had a 12 foot thick oak in our backyard that uprooted and tore down half our fence. But our neighbors and friends to the south had much more damage than I could imagine having to deal with. I don't remember the media hype behind the one year anniversary even though at the time it was also the most expensive natural disaster ever. What I'm getting at is, I just can't wait for this media thing to blow over.

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(didn't mean for this too get quite so long..)

What simply amazes me about the whole situation and still does amaze me to this day is how this tragedy affected an area the size of Great Britain, and yet the media still centers around the New Orleans aspect of the storm.

I spent 8 weeks assisting with the Red Cross on the Gulf Coast. I spent much of the month of September 05 in Gulfport, MS, which was heavily destroyed due to the surge aspect of the storm. I have yet to hear on national television the autrocities these people faced after the storm. From the images you see the horror of it, yet in person it brings a whole new light.

For instance, 4 barges loaded with shipping containers full of hog halves and chickens were left in the Gulfport shipping yards, later projected into neighborhoods and acting as battering rams to the houses. These containers spilled open and created one of the most horrible ecological disasters I could ever imagine. While the first 10 blocks were flattened, the next 10 were piled 8 feet deep in this debris. What is even worse is that these were ot completely removed until 4 months later.

Power had not been restored to nearly all southern residents of Mississippi, and if you know anything about September in Mississippi, it is HOT. I came across several people who had died of this. Of course these heat related deaths would not be included in the final death toll, even though these slow deaths were a direct result of the slow responce to Hurricane Katrina.

My job was in Bulk Distribution. I would go door to door and distribute items that were needed to sustain those who were unable to leave. It amazed me that I was giving out radios that required batteries, yet I had none. I provided toothbrushes with no toothpaste. I was always loaded down with about 3 pallets of water, which everyone already had cases of, and could undoubtedly be used in New Orleans, yet we were not allowed to bring there. The logic was lost.

One of the worst memories I have is of a tiny area of Le France, MS near Pearlington. On my routes near Waveland people told me of this area, and how they had residents that hadn't been heard from. Littile did they know that no one had been in that area to check on them yet, and this is 10 days after the storm. I arrived to find people who had survived a 40 foot storm surge that went many, many, many miles inland. The trees were all brown, choked by the salt water, and with temparatures reaching 100 degrees,I felt as if we had been hit by a nuclear bomb. A bird could not be heard even though we were in a a national park. It was surreal. Amongst all of this I found residents camped out, with staff infections and reported symptoms of ecoli. The reason they refused to leave? They had been told by someone that they had to be at their residence to receive any assistance from FEMA. No matter how much I pleaded they would not leave. I finally returned 45 minutes later with a medical team down from Seattle, and held an I.V. drip for an hour for someone who was in the worst condition out of the group.

One residence I entered due to a woman seen in the window that was unresponsive. When I approached here, she was severly dehydrated and appeared to be starved. She looked at me and lifted her head and said "water". It was only later that i learned when her family and the EMS arrived that she hadn't spoke in 4 years.

The stories are endless. I returned in December and stayed through mid January in New Orleans. The scene was very similar there, just on a denser scale. If I could capture one feeling as a disaster worker I had during my time on the gulf, it would be dispair. Knowing you had the power to help so many people, but constantly having to jump rediculous amounts of hurdles to do it. If I could capture one feeling as a human being and going through many of the same hardships as those others around me, it would be confusion. The questions were always there: "What is taking so long?" "Why aren't we prepared?" "Why are these people treated like cattle?" "Why doesn't anyone care?" "How are these people going to make it?"

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I personally agree, this was a horrible disaster that affected the lives of almost all Americans in some way. Some much much more than others. However, I can't wait for this anniversary stuff to be over with. I for one am sick and tired of hearing "it's been a year!!!" As if weeping over it will help anything. Maybe the purpose for the sudden publicity is to raise more funds, in which case I understand, but the media is going a bit far on using the same footage, the same conversations, the same everything that was used 11 months ago. Katrina/Rita/Wilma served one major purpose last year, to remind humans to run like hell. After Hugo and Andrew, people stopped paying much attention to the paths of hurricanes for close to a decade. Now, in the wake of last year's hurricane season, people are shivering in their boots and half of the newscasts are about a tropical storm with winds of 60mph. Yes, it has the potential to become a hurricane again, and for all I know, it may have regained that status by now. But even winds at 75 mph are enough to warrant putting your potted plants in your garage and put away that umbrella you have on the table on your deck

Yes, I know, it can be a big deal, and don't get me wrong, I don't take the tropics lightly, I lived in Jacksonville during Andrew and we got out lucky. We had a 12 foot thick oak in our backyard that uprooted and tore down half our fence. But our neighbors and friends to the south had much more damage than I could imagine having to deal with. I don't remember the media hype behind the one year anniversary even though at the time it was also the most expensive natural disaster ever. What I'm getting at is, I just can't wait for this media thing to blow over.

I could not agree more. This anniversary should be used as a time to look at what happened, and try to ensure that it doesn't happen on that scale again. Pre-Katrina, Eduardo is nothing more than a quick update at ten til the hour on the Weather Channel. Maybe a little more press after it floods areas of SC,NC,VA, etc... but that wouldn't come for a few more days.

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I personally agree, this was a horrible disaster that affected the lives of almost all Americans in some way. Some much much more than others. However, I can't wait for this anniversary stuff to be over with. I for one am sick and tired of hearing "it's been a year!!!" As if weeping over it will help anything. Maybe the purpose for the sudden publicity is to raise more funds, in which case I understand, but the media is going a bit far on using the same footage, the same conversations, the same everything that was used 11 months ago. Katrina/Rita/Wilma served one major purpose last year, to remind humans to run like hell. After Hugo and Andrew, people stopped paying much attention to the paths of hurricanes for close to a decade. Now, in the wake of last year's hurricane season, people are shivering in their boots and half of the newscasts are about a tropical storm with winds of 60mph. Yes, it has the potential to become a hurricane again, and for all I know, it may have regained that status by now. But even winds at 75 mph are enough to warrant putting your potted plants in your garage and put away that umbrella you have on the table on your deck

Yes, I know, it can be a big deal, and don't get me wrong, I don't take the tropics lightly, I lived in Jacksonville during Andrew and we got out lucky. We had a 12 foot thick oak in our backyard that uprooted and tore down half our fence. But our neighbors and friends to the south had much more damage than I could imagine having to deal with. I don't remember the media hype behind the one year anniversary even though at the time it was also the most expensive natural disaster ever. What I'm getting at is, I just can't wait for this media thing to blow over.

To a lot of Americans, the news replaying this footage is very reassuring. It is reminding our country as a whole of our failures, and making sure that we don't forget. I agree that they are making me a little annoyed because these documentaries rarely focus on anything but the first 5 days in New Orleans, and I would prefer a report that covers that, but also the rest of the response, that shows how the coordination improved, how the lives are affected, and most importantly, show signs of a city headed toward recovery.

The reason people are shivering in their boots is because people don;t know if this is a new trend. WHo knows, it could be global warming or a hurricane season that only happens for 10 years every 500 years. All I do know is that I have seen all sorts of storm damage, and nothing could have prepared me for what I saw down there. As one person put it while i was down there.. "nothing can prepare you for this... lookin at the news reporting this is like lookin at the beach through a straw."

Of course, it does seem that it is Americas polic to shut its eyes at the past and stumble blindly into the future... now back to MTV!!

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Seabreese that was quite a story. Thanks for sharing it.

I think the media focuses on New Orleans because a lot of people died there due to government incompetance brought on by some of the worst cronyism of all times.

I don't have much to add to this except that for the future the people and the government need to realize that re-building cities and homes in these flood prone areas is inviting future disasters such as this. Unfortunately there is no leadership or the political will to tell the people "No" who want to go right back to living in the same places where this will happen again.

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Seabreese that was quite a story. Thanks for sharing it.

I think the media focuses on New Orleans because a lot of people died there due to government incompetance brought on by some of the worst cronyism of all times.

I don't have much to add to this except that for the future the people and the government need to realize that re-building cities and homes in these flood prone areas is inviting future disasters such as this. Unfortunately there is no leadership or the political will to tell the people "No" who want to go right back to living in the same places where this will happen again.

This raises a very sensitive issue. The truth is, the lowest lying areas of NO should not be allowed to be re-inhabited. They should be converted (back) to wetland areas like they originally were in order to provide a buffer to the "higher" areas of the city that will be rebuilt. The levees, no matter how large or new or innovative, cannot be expected to protect areas like that, and they cannot do the job alone. The problem is, people own that land. They lived in houses on that land. If the government tells these people that they cannot go back "home" to that land, they'll being crying racism and corruption and so on. Hell, people actually think the levees were blown up to run the poor out of the city. I'd hate to hear the conspiracy theories if people we told they can't move back. But ultimately, it

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I went down to Bayou La Batre in May of this year. It look as if 95% of the houses were flooded. The damage was not as bad as Miss. & NO, but the people were living in FEMA trailers. All the houses have to be gutted and rebuilt. FEMA wante there trailer back because they did not wnt to lose them in another hurricane. The problem is, the people had jobs there but no where to live.

Every where we went for lunch and signs beside the road was thanking everyone down there helping them.

The house we worked, on the owner had only been out 2 times on his shrimp boats because of high fuel cost and lower sale value of his shrimp.

The port was full of shrimp boats and I did not see any go out all week.

It take between $40,000 and $50,000 for fuel just the smaller boats.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b287/Wla.../P1010056-1.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b287/Wla...re/P1010053.jpg

Images replaced with links, too large for inline display

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This raises a very sensitive issue. The truth is, the lowest lying areas of NO should not be allowed to be re-inhabited. They should be converted (back) to wetland areas like they originally were in order to provide a buffer to the "higher" areas of the city that will be rebuilt. The levees, no matter how large or new or innovative, cannot be expected to protect areas like that, and they cannot do the job alone. The problem is, people own that land. They lived in houses on that land. If the government tells these people that they cannot go back "home" to that land, they'll being crying racism and corruption and so on. Hell, people actually think the levees were blown up to run the poor out of the city. I'd hate to hear the conspiracy theories if people we told they can't move back. But ultimately, it’s a matter of SAFETY and LOGIC, and people should not be allowed to "Go home" to under mean sea level. Water flows downhill... always has, always will!

The conspiracy theory of the Industrial Canal being blown up originates from 2 events. 1) A levee back during the 20's floods was blown to release pressure, and was done in a predominatly poor, white area. 2) There has been a lot of proposals to turn the lower 9th ward into an industrial area, which have failed due to many of the homes being designated 'historic.'

I remember meeting the social activist Mama D in her 7th ward home that she had converted to a free market of sorts for local residents, who was one of the first to speak of this conspiracy. She actually spoke to Congress about how she believed the levees were blown. As our first meeting was quite hostile (she screamed at me [as i represented the red cross] for stepping on her toes and told me to leave immediately) but this time she was more civil and explained the theory. She was very convincing and almost had me believing it. That is until the day I visited the lower 9th ward and stood on the levee. It was quite apparhent that the levees were destroyed from extreme pressure, and extremely poor engineering. Also, the barge that was sitting in the middle of the neighborhood closest to the levee probably had something to do with this.

If there was a conspiracy, I would think it more likely that they built the canal weakly by this neighborhood to begin with so that if a section were to collapse, it would happen there.

Here is a photoblog I started but didn't get my Mississippi pics up on... There are a lot of the levee and levee breach in the lower 9th ward, from the top of the levee looking in http://katrinaredcrosspics.blogspot.com/ Click on the pics to make them larger.

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Most of the country of the Netherlands is under sea level. Much of the country flooded in 1953 after a storm and tidal surge broke many dikes. But they rebuilt.

The whole human existance is filled with overcoming natural obstacles. The Nile Valley flooded all the time, just an example.

The answer isn't to congregate the entire globe's worth of people into places where nature can't kill us. The idea is to build up the profession of engineering, and the processes for funding the work to be done. But also, when something happens, as a society we have be there to rescue and rebuild.

It seems that US system was a failure on everything but the engineering profession.

EDIT: After watching Spike Lee's documentary, I'm may have to even think that our engineering profession was/is a failure, too.

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The house we worked, on the owner had only been out 2 times on his shrimp boats because of high fuel cost and lower sale value of his shrimp.

The port was full of shrimp boats and I did not see any go out all week.

It take between $40,000 and $50,000 for fuel just the smaller boats.

This seems a bit crude, but that shrimp boat story reminds me a lot of Forest Gump.

I was unfortunately unable to go down to the gulf when presented the opportunity last year. However, both my parents went to Bay St Louis and gave their video and pictures to me so I could edit and put them on DVD. The video from some of the scenes were just unreal. My mother spent part of her early life living in New Orleans proper and still has a lot of family that lived on the "high ground" that were spared of a lot of the issues their neighbors had to deal with. What used to be giant piers and docks with ships all along them are now just posts sticking out of the ground without a boat in site. They caught video of a car that had wrapped around a tree and because of the force exerted on it, split almost exactly in half and separated its halves by about a quarter mile. Luckily they spared me of the more gruesome pictures that they neglected to take but vividly described. It's very unsettling how little was done, but when considering the grand scheme, as said before, the affected area is the size of the UK. That's a lot of land to cover. In a years time, a lot has been done, but it's barely a fraction of what needs to be done.

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The reason that New Orleans gets the most attention is because that is where the most homes were destroyed...almost 80,000 homes destroyed in Orleans Parish alone. For comparison, there were over 14,000 homes destroyed in the coastal counties of Mississippi. There is a really good graphic on the front page of the Observer that illistrates this: http://www.charlotte.com/multimedia/charlo...age/tuesday.pdf

I saw the Spike Lee documentry on Katrina that aired on HBO earlier this week....all 4 1/2 hours of it. It was a good documentry that covered most all the issues that happened in the past year in the Gulf Coast. I recommend watching it if you have the chance.

The Army Corp of Engineers this past June issued a 6000 page report on the New Orleans levees in which they accept total responsibility for not building the Levees up to Cat 3 code. During Katrina the winds and storm surge in New Orleans only reached a borderline Cat 1/2 level....well below a Cat 3 level. So if you are looking for a government agency to put the blame on...then the Army Corp of Engineers it is. If the Corp of Engineers had done their job with the levees then we would not be talking about New Orleans at all today...all of our focus would be on the MS coast.

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I personally agree, this was a horrible disaster that affected the lives of almost all Americans in some way. Some much much more than others. However, I can't wait for this anniversary stuff to be over with. I for one am sick and tired of hearing "it's been a year!!!" As if weeping over it will help anything. Maybe the purpose for the sudden publicity is to raise more funds, in which case I understand, but the media is going a bit far on using the same footage, the same conversations, the same everything that was used 11 months ago. Katrina/Rita/Wilma served one major purpose last year, to remind humans to run like hell. After Hugo and Andrew, people stopped paying much attention to the paths of hurricanes for close to a decade. Now, in the wake of last year's hurricane season, people are shivering in their boots and half of the newscasts are about a tropical storm with winds of 60mph. Yes, it has the potential to become a hurricane again, and for all I know, it may have regained that status by now. But even winds at 75 mph are enough to warrant putting your potted plants in your garage and put away that umbrella you have on the table on your deck

Yes, I know, it can be a big deal, and don't get me wrong, I don't take the tropics lightly, I lived in Jacksonville during Andrew and we got out lucky. We had a 12 foot thick oak in our backyard that uprooted and tore down half our fence. But our neighbors and friends to the south had much more damage than I could imagine having to deal with. I don't remember the media hype behind the one year anniversary even though at the time it was also the most expensive natural disaster ever. What I'm getting at is, I just can't wait for this media thing to blow over.

I'm appalled at the coldness of the hearts of some of the posters of this board. Along the Gulf Coast we are hurting so bad today, because, it has been one year that over 1800 of our neighbors, friends, and relatives drowned in the streets we drive daily from a natural event. Since it so disgusts you that people in this area feel the need to mourn this loss, may I recommend that you read a few magazines until tomorrow.....

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I'm appalled at the coldness of the hearts of some of the posters of this board. Along the Gulf Coast we are hurting so bad today, because, it has been one year that over 1800 of our neighbors, friends, and relatives drowned in the streets we drive daily from a natural event. Since it so disgusts you that people in this area feel the need to mourn this loss, may I recommend that you read a few magazines until tomorrow.....

i hope you read this aussielake. Your idealistic views of the future that I read so many times on this website will never be possible with an ignorant attitude towards not embracing the past and preparing the future. We may never fix the problems we had then, but we can learn from them. An attitude that incorporates "I can't wait for these reminders to be over" is the same attitude as someone who says "cant we just forget." I never want to forget September 11th. I never want to forget the Indian Ocean Tsunami. I never want to forget Hurricane Katrina. To forget would be a folly. To forget would be unlearning from our mistakes. And trust me, every person that went through this will ensure that you don't forget. Ignorance is bliss, but trust me when I say this. All that witnessed the autracities of how this natural disaster was handled will make sure you do not forget. Every person in the United States is somewhat accountable for this, and that means you.

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I'm watching Spike Lee's documentary right now. So this is pretty much heart wrenching.

It is so complicated, as I just don't get how all of those people expect the government to be able to do so much for them. But at the same time, how could so little be done. The people in need are expecting too much, but the people in charge are doing too little.

It is just a big f'n mess. But I am convinced more than ever, that that city must get rebuilt, right in its place.

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I'm watching Spike Lee's documentary right now. So this is pretty much heart wrenching.

It is so complicated, as I just don't get how all of those people expect the government to be able to do so much for them. But at the same time, how could so little be done. The people in need are expecting too much, but the people in charge are doing too little.

It is just a big f'n mess. But I am convinced more than ever, that that city must get rebuilt, right in its place.

to lose that cities history would be to lose part of americas soul. Trust me, it will be rebuilt.

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ok, so i don't get the sudden onslaught of criticism to my earlier post after originally being sided with. Oh well, everybody has their opinions, and in no way am I belittling the situation nor trying to forget it. It just entertains me that this sudden resurgence of media coverage comes only because of the one year anniversary. Where have the news reports (outside of Oprah) been for the last eight months? You must've both skipped over my second post where I went back and explained how I would've helped and the depth of which I do appreciate what has happened and the efforts of the many to help rebuild.

How often is the Great Depression brought back up? Hiroshima? Chernobyl? The Holocaust? I believe those rank slightly higher on a global level than Hurricane Katrina. And NO, before anybody posts I am heartless again, that was not meant to say HK wasn't a tragedy that we should learn anything from. It is pointing out that the media is the only reason why we're even talking about this right now.

Of course we don't want to forget this or September 11th. What did we learn from Sept 11th? We tightened security on airlines; we're now to the point where terrorism accomplished its goal. We're living in fear, as far as the airline industry is concerned. We can get arrested for having nail polish onboard a plane. The event itself brought this country together. It unified us while at the same time it caused new terms like "Terror Level" to become mainstream. But if anybody is to question government, then ask that in a perfect society with a perfect government, would we need homeless shelters? Nothing can be perfect, there are many issues facing this country and every country in the world. We just happen to live in one of the countries that actually puts its foot in the door. There are more documentaries out there that describe our government's shortcomings in Katrina. Has a single thing been changed? Nope. That's why I'm tired of people dwelling on that aspect, not the event in general.

And not to bring up any hard feelings, but what lessons have we learned from Katrina? Leave when we see hurricanes coming, don't live below sea level if you are anywhere near any body of water (river and ocean in this case,) help your neighbor when they are in need, and don't trust the government to help you specifically when everybody else around you needs help too. Many people who lived above sea level on the gulf coast were still hit by the storm surge. Those are the people I feel are the most needing direct attention because, in no way could they have changed anything about their lives to avoid that. They didn't know that would happen. Who would have? New Orleans is a large city. Cities have money. Many people along the gulf coast live in towns, if even that, which have little or no money to rebuild with. Entire towns were decimated, what do they have to fall back on? Who is rebuilding them?

If we are to rebuild New Orleans, and I hope we do, please put some dirt on the ground and possibly put houses enough above sea level that they will not be completely wiped out the next time the levees break. Storm surges cannot be helped or avoided, cities all along the Atlantic are prone to storm surges, that is fact: Miami and all of South Florida, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Houston, the list goes on and on. What is being done in those cities to prevent this same catastrophic situation from occurring given the perfect storm, say Category 5 hits directly? Is there anything? It's like asking to stop a Tornado.

To alon who likes attacking other people's opinions and doesn't read a full opinion before passing judgment: I have family there too. Do not think that this event did not come with its prices to them as well. Also, do not think that I laugh off Katrina. I am not attacking the suffering and heartache that people had to endure and are still having to endure day in and day out. I'm assuming that as you wrote that post, you were sitting in front of a computer. Which means you, or the place you are staying, have power and the internet. What do those people have? Many people have not had power or a home since Hurricane Katrina hit. So when you say "our loss," think about what you have around you, and what they have. It's a friend, a family member, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a city, a state, a country, a world's loss when even one person dies. You may not have known them personally; whether you knew someone who lost their life personally or not should be irrelevant when 1800 people die. When my grandparents died, who put their hand on my shoulder? Everybody has loss in their life and in no way does anybody belittle the idea of loosing a loved one. Why do I argue the mere fact that the media mentions Katrina? Because, in no way is it in memory of those who were lost. A lot of the recent coverage is of people that don't feel the government has helped them enough. That is why I don't want to keep seeing it on the news. It's not the right material being covered. So get off my back about me being coldhearted. I

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I believe it is the desire to 'just move on' that is the reason that the US hasn't learned much from 9/11, Katrina, or most other tragic events in a long while. 9/11 was supposed to make us more prepared to handle a massive tragedy, but it clearly didn't, based on the response to Katrina.

It is for the same reason that both middle eastern wars suddenly were not that important to the 24-hr news networks when Karr was arrested. We have national ADD. We get so much incremental news, that we somehow forget the old news, and fail to make the grand conclusions from the cummulative collection of that information. Obviously, some do. But most people probably feel the same way as some posters here, who I interpret to be both sad about Katrina, but uninterested in hearing about it.

I think the current political machine relies on the country's lack of attention, to get the media and the country off of certain topics. The effect is that those leaders do not get their feet held to the fire, and the national discussion is not carried out in a successful way.

I mean, even look at organizations like moveon.org, which is now a major grass roots political force. Its whole name is from not wanting to dwell on the Clinton scandals.

Anniversaries are the only time we have to really look back and receive a synopsis of the overwhelming information. It is our only time to be able to get the big picture, as during the event we just get minute slices of life through images, reports, etc.

I know I personally did not have that much of a complete understanding of the tragedy. But from seeing the documentaries and look-backs, it really helps to get a handle on the whole event and the magnitude of suffering.

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Well-written post, dub. I couldn't agree with you more. Being the cynic I am, I believe its only a matter of a few years before we begin to see Katrina and September 11th day sales at retailers nationwide. Why sit back and reflect on a tragedy when there's money to be saved at the 9/11 sale at Belk.

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9/11 was a terrorist event and it is difficult to prepare something like that. In my mind it has nothing to do with the situation caused by Katrina. It was a very emotional event which is why everyone with a cause likes to somehow tie it to whatever they are supporting, (related or not)

Katrina was a natural disaster made much worse because of decades of very bad decisions made at all levels of government on building in areas that are easily destroyed by hurricanes. This ranges from continuing to build a city such as NO below the water line, to putting huge casinos and the related industry on barges in the Gulf because conservatives don't want gambling to occur on the actual land in Mississippi. It was just a matter of time until a powerful hurricane came through there an knocked it all down. It's not like there was ample warning as hurricane Camille should have been a wake up call 36 years ago. The disaster was also made worse by the continuing and ongoing polarization of our society based on economic lines.

The lesson from 9/11 is that we need to have a foreign policy that does not encourage terrorism. We don't have that today but that is because we are being run by a government that thinks a stick is a better tool than a a carrot.

The lesson from Katrina is that we are totally unprepared as a society to deal with our real problems. These problems range from unrestrained capitalism to governments elected for all of the wrong reasons. I note that 1 year later, every politician that failed the Gulf Coast is still in office and still kissing Black baby's heads in the poor parts of NO in carefully crafted photoops. Why are they still in office? Why doesn't the media hold them accountable? I don't know what the answer is for this. The problem with documentaries such as the one Spike Lee put out is they expose the problems, but they never offer any solutions to how we mighe come together as a society to help the poor individuals that are suffering and in making the difficult decisions needed to prevent such disasters in the future.

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The solution was obvious, I felt, from Spike Lee's documentary. Fix the levees and start caring about poor black people.

9/11 and Katrina are related as they are disasters for which the US had supposedly planned for, but could barely handle.

Everyone knew the NY fire department's communication system was bad, but no one put the money into fixing it. Everyone knew the levees were low-spec, but no one put the money into fixing it. There are many parallels, regardless of the obvious differences of one is from the hatred of people, and the other the [hatred of mother nature... or whatever].

You are exactly right, though, about the largest reason for not learning lessons. The leaders in charge of the failures are still in power. It is the same thing locally in Charlotte. The school board responsible for running the school system into the ground is still in power. They are incompetent, petty, and ignorant. But they remain in power.

Meanwhile, Chertoff, Nagen, Blanco, and Bush are all still in power. Of those, the most shocking are Nagen and Chertoff. Chertoff, because he is supposed to be dispensable as an extra-constitutional figure. Nagen, because he is lauded as a hero by the voters despite his direct involvement or lack of proactivity causing significant suffering.

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The solution was obvious, I felt, from Spike Lee's documentary. Fix the levees and start caring about poor black people.

I already know this is going to sound racist but I will say it anyway. There are poor white people in Alabama and Mississippi who have less than the unfortunate souls in New Orleans. In fact, many families along the gulf aren't even exactly sure where their yards are yet, much less where their houses once stood. This should have never been about race from the start. Too many real issues get blindsided by accusations of racism from all sides. I know what your point was dub, and I don't criticize it, I just believe Spike Lee's documentary should have been about caring for poor people period.

And while mentioning the levees. Why fix them? Fixing something is only patching its holes. They will only break again someday. Either replace them completely or rebuild the still flooded areas in a Venice style.

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New Orleans has to be rebuilt for one very important reason: commerce. The Mississippi River transports everything from American and Canadian-grown grain to iron ore, coal, cars, etc. We must have a port on the Mississippi, period.

New Orleans and the central Gulf Coast are some of the most important petrochemical centers in the United States. We need petroleum. The Gulf of Mexico provides much of what we use, both in natural gas and in oil, but also in the refining process.

Should the city be rebuilt in the same way? No, it shouldn't. But is should be rebuilt.

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The epic destruction wrought by Katrina was the result of failures on both the local, state, and federal levels. Ultimate responsibility for the protection of American citizens lies with the Feds. Consequently, this administration does bear final responsibility. To Bush's credit he has admitted as much. I don't think the President is racist as much as very insulated from the daily lives of the poor in this country. His father was the same way. He comes from a very privileged background and has no way to relate to poor people. So the Bush administration's reaction to the flood came across as discriminatory.I think the issue is more of class ignorance rather than racism. New Orleans should be fully rebuilt with safeguards to protect low lying sections of town. Not to do so limits the areas where the mostly black population that makes up such a large part of the city's population used to live. Leaving those neighborhoods a wasteland, while the higher land which is whiter and wealthier is preserved would be another injustice and these people have suffered enough.

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