I imagine that I will update this post as I have other thoughts. Not a lot of organization in this one, just random thoughts that strike me as I sit transfixed by CNN (as I have the whole week). The pictures certainly are amazing and appaling all at once. It’s surreal.
* New links: Denny Burk, Louisiana native, has an interesting take on New Orleans. Also read Russ Moore, native of Biloxi, who has written a great article about Katrina.
* Think about the extent of the damge. When we were in Gulf Shores, AL, five months after Hurricane Ivan, there were still buildings in ruins, roofs out, etc. from there to Pensacola. (See the photo blog for pics – look in archives from January or February). There was a labor shortage. There was so much work left to be done. And Ivan, bad as it was, pales in comparison to the damage wrought by Katrina. They did not have flooding like this. How much longer will it take for New Orleans? I think you can honestly question if New Orleans will ever recover.
* Who built New Orleans below sea level between levees and the like anyway? Why put it there? Again, you really have to wonder about the long term viability of the city.
* Chaos and anarchy apparently reigns in New Orleans – the rule of law has degenerated completely. Reports of armed bands of young men marauding around town, massive looting, rape, murder, all kinds of other horrors trickle in. Doctors trying to evacuate patients from Charity Hospital had to stop because they were shot at. What kind of people do something like that? The depravity of man is on full display.
From the lead paragraph of an AP story: “New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out, cops turned in their badges and the governor declared war on looters who have made the city a menacing landscape of disorder and fear.” Authorities are sending in the troops to literally do battle in the streets of New Orleans.
* It is 100 degrees and muggy, no food or water, the stench of human waste is all around, corpses too. Babies and elderly people are dying in the midst of the throng. Desperate tourists wonder if they’ll be killed by locals, disease, or dehydration.
* I understand that the people at FEMA are overwhelmed, given the widespread nature and extent of this disaster. But you do have to wonder if they were underprepared. And why did it take so long for everyone to figure out that it would be necessary to call in the National Guard and the Army?
* Here at Southern Seminary, a collection is underway to be largely devoted to students and staff of New Orleans Baptist Seminary. They are considering holding the fall semester at their Atlanta extension. You have to wonder if they will ever reopen their New Orleans campus. You don’t think of schools like that (or Tulane) immediately, but the campuses, facilities, libraries, etc. are just destroyed.
* The politicization of Katrina is beginning now. For some people, everything in the world must be filtered through the political grid. Liberals will criticize Bush for the poor response, but not the preparedness of the democratic governor or mayor. Conservatives will put too much blind faith in Bush and will refuse to criticize the lackluster response. All while the world wonders what’s up.
* The inefficiency of government to meet the demands of this response ought not be overly surprising. Government is nothing if not inefficient. It takes forever for the government to even build a road. It ought not surprise us that they are not efficient in responding to a catastrophe of this measure.
It is not by chance and happenstance that real relief is being delivered to the region by private groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other faith based groups.
* How long until the first lawsuit is filed?
* Race is the elephant in the room. The race card will certainly get played (I’m sure it has been already.) I saw that Jesse Jackson stopped by…
* Starting to think long-term – what are cities like Houston and San Antonio going to do with all the refugees? When will these people be allowed to leave and try to build new life somewhere? I will make many people screaming mad at me for saying this…. and please don’t hear callousness…. but I wonder if many people will leave or if they will expect the government to continue providing for their every need indefinitely? Many of these people have become accustomed to dependence on the government in the form of welfare and whatnot before the hurricane. Will they be motivated to stand up and start over on their own? Surely some will…. but I suspect many won’t.