Who is tired of hearing about the people affected by Katrina? Raise your hand. If your hand is in the air put it down and give it to me so I can smack it. Then read on.
If you're wondering why the Katrina debacle is still a story 6 months and one day later, let me help you. There are so many issues and so many people who will be impacted by Katrina, directly and indirectly for the REST OF THEIR LIVES, that I would really love a Katrina channel. I'm not kidding. That would totally be the first thing I turned on everyday. Think about it. It would offer the latest news, with breaking news scrolling across the bottom of the screen. The last couple of days would be the first Mardi Gras after Katrina: Party 'til It Hurts No More. or 6 Months Later and Still no FEMA trailer. Today would be, New Video Released Shows Bush knew the Severity of the Storm Before Katrina Hit. Get it? And there would be features. Not just New Orleans, but the entire Gulf Coast. Cost-wise and particularly in our community, this is the most expensive natural disaster ever. Ever.
The channel could also have features. It would show the story of someone, who may or may not have returned. Some people may never return, some will only return for a visit, but refuse to live there again. In case you don't know what I was talking about with the FEMA trailers, let me help you. There are thousands of trailers sitting in NC because the agency has not yet determined how to give out trailers. One woman has had her trailer and just got electricity on Sunday. Sunday. As in 6 months since the storm hit on August 29th, Sunday. The sewer system is still nearly non-existent. More than 200 New Orleans police officers either deserted or quit. And that's only in New Orleans. Along the Gulf Coast, and further inland, there are people who did not attend school for weeks. There are entire towns flattened.
My family is from Mississippi. I also have family and friends in New Orleans. This is not something that can be fixed in a year or even five. This is something that will be an issue for most, at the very least, psychologically for the rest of their lives. Imagine this. True story. One of my closest friends, my favorite roommate in college, Kristen is from New Orleans. Her then 14-year-old brother left home that day with his mother, grandmother, other sister and niece. Their grandmother hadn't wanted to leave their house. They're used to flooding in New Orleans. It's below sea level. It floods all the time. Kristen's sister was hysterical after hearing the reports and insisted on leaving. So they all left, taking some pictures, important papers, and three days worth of clothing. They went to Alabama and have been there since. Kristen was on the phone with me watching CNN pointing out her high school, her sister's best friend's house, parts of Xavier University, recognizing streets and knowing her entire two story house had to be under water. Her brother took none of his favorite things. When Kristen asked why, he said, "Because I thought we were coming back."
Then I saw another news story about these kids who finally got to come together and play a football season, and a set of brothers who liked their new school, but just wanted to go back home. One of them just wanted to finish his senior year. That's when I started thinking about how all the kids are effected. I can't imagine what it would be like to leave not knowing there were people in your life, at your school, in your neighborhood, you would never see again. Can you imagine that? The neighborhood you lived in all your life is completely gone. Decimated.
But what if your parents decide they want to rebuild? Then they may need to find new jobs, or get insurance money when the company has said there was only flood damage and you don't have flood insurance. And not only that, everyone around you has been given money for wind damage. Then there's the issue of the other people in your neighborhood. You have to make decisions based on what your neighbors want to do, as well. You can't live in a neighborhood where you're the only home and there's only blight surrounding you.
When I have a minute, I just search Katrina on the AP wires. Every day I find a story. Every. Single. Day. The Katrina Channel. Check it Out.
*If you know someone who would like to make this idea a reality, I don't mind. Just ask them to offer me a job. I already have several ideas. I only need a contract with benefits and due compensation for the contacts I already have. Anyone know Spike Lee?
For the part I of this series, click here.