Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans

The whole New Orleans tragedy and contraversy even has Jeromites talking. Last night we joined friends for dinner. The host, who happens to have quite a bit of money (all of which she earned in business) commented that it was the people who were stranded - their fault, for not getting help. "Those people are so used to being taken care of, they could have at least walked and searched for help," she said. It stimulated conversation around blame and how 'those people' were just doing what they were told and of course if they had money and resources from the beginning, could have left like the others. It made me think about how Republicans view the poor, as if it is their choice because in many eyes, they could be as successful as, lets say, this woman, if they only worked hard enough. Is this true? I don't think so. Many circumstances affect others ability to make it in this world, beyond personal drive. Ironically, later that evening, we were taking a friend home and on the way back up the hill, saw a Jerome local hitchhiking late at night. He is a homeless man. Was in a terrible car accident not long ago, no insurance, now, no teeth and physically not the same. Therefore, he lives on the streets. Very courteous, kind and intelligent man, but yes he is poor and if there were a crisis here, he would have no means of leaving.

People in Jerome typically choose to live simple, even if they have means and education. Not everybody chooses to have a driven lifestyle so they can have things. Does this mean they should be left behind when the going gets tough?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I just posted a note about Maynard's winery, and ran into this part of the site. Being from New Orleans I think I have a good opionion towards this question. In a perfect world yes everyone should be taken care of and moved out of mother natures destructive path. I had a unique situation which I think god smiled upon the decision my family and I made. I went to my father's house one day before the storm to meet my brother and our friend to plan with my father what our options were. We usually stay, but this time felt different. Knowing my sisters and mother were in a safe place at this time was comforting. We were set on staying until our elderly neighrboors were planing on staying as well. My father grew up with the 50something widowed woman across the street and around the corner were her 80 something year old parents. They depended on us if things got bad, so we decided to leave at that point. Thankfully we made it out of harms way only 8 hours later just to travel 60 miles to Baton Rouge. I am glad we got out and the elderly made it though like troopers. However, they have both passed within the past 3 months due to different reasons. Its good knowing they passed comfortably once things got back to somewhat normal, but the stress I think accelerated alot of people's death. Even our 8 year old bulldog FOXY seems to be losing more steps now, even though she was the strongest of us all it seems.We were fortunate to have lots of good people to rely on, yet many people in poverty don't. I think the answer not only lies in politics, but with community. In New Orleans we are known for friendliness supposdly, but so many people are raised to this old time racism that it may never die. Would I pick a stranger up while leaving for a storm? The answer unfortunately is no, because in times of panic people do stupid unrational acts. I have worked with all shapes, colors, people of all ethnic backgrounds, and all have been a good and bad image of their heritage. Sorry I am rambling I am trying to make sense of this, but it takes time to get the whole picture. My answer is that humankind as awhole failed here. We cant point a finger at one, two, or 6 billion people. I would of lived in regret if we had left my neighboors behind or stayed with them, because they would of died that week of the storm due to no power, water, and whatnot. Someone in every community has the power to save a life if even only one. The greatest story I've heard is of a young black man hotwiring a bus and driving a good amount of people in his community to safety. I think he has a movie deal now. The word to be spoken is that shit hit the fan, and some of us where there to stand and take care of our brothers and sisters. Those who are in poverty do have ways out, but they are not easy ones. Communities need to get together and have a plan of action in case of a threat. I am 22 and since I was a child my father had a plan passed on from his father and so on in the case of a hurricane. I felt sorry for those stuck there and I know some. The government failed to see that emergency supplies should be ready in this case, but people fail to realize when you live so many feet under sea level you better not rely on the government more than you already do. They provide the basics, if you want everything handed to you pay 100% tax on your income and dollar spent, communision maybe. I love the people of this city and nation, but it seems the big picture is never looked at. Big brother won't always be there for you. The people in the SuperDome and others were victim of circumstance, yet also victims of ignorance. Transformed all our worlds have become. One thing everyone must look at is that instead of 10,000 people dead, its right over 1,000. For being the storm of our ages I think most of the people that were dealt this card of disaster did a damn good job. God bless all help that came. Things looked bad, but a lot of those people live like that everyday down here. So lets look at everyday life before we blame it all on a storm. The storm is not about a hurricane, it is about people losing faith in each other, losing brotherhood, and losing morality. Sorry if this is too much, I just get rattled by both sides of the fence on this issue.
Thanks if you read this.
Mitch W.