Goodbye, New Orleans?

First we had the South Asia Tsunami. We all grieved as we saw the images of the destruction, heard the stories of the terror, and watched the numbers of the dead mount higher and higher.

Yet through it all, we were distanced from it. It didn’t happen here. It was on the other side of the globe. Sure, friends, acquaintances, and even celebrities were affected, and their stories moved us greatly. But in the end, we still had solid ground to stand on.

Enter Katrina.

I first heard of Katrina when someone made a “Katrina and the Waves” joke a few days ago. I had no idea what they were talking about, since I was in a bit of a news blackout of my own at the time. I was very busy at work, and by the time I got home, I didn’t want to read anything in the news. I just wanted to sleep.

But then I found myself in a chatroom, and the discussion was heavily concentrated on Hurricane Katrina and how it was bearing down on New Orleans. Suddenly, I found myself paying attention.

The talk in the chatroom was already grim. “New Orleans will be no more,” was the prevailing mood. And as much as everyone wanted it to NOT be true, somehow, we all knew it could become a reality.

I spent hours last night viewing photos and video of the devestation. It’s horrible. I can’t imagine what it must be like. And of course, as bad as it looks on TV or in photographs, it’s probably twice, or even three times as bad in reality.

I wish I had a lot of money. I would send the victims whatever I could. So many people are homeless. So many have lost loved ones. Families have been torn apart. Lives have been ruined. A city is in shambles.

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit New Orleans. I wish I had now. It truly may never be the same again. And that’s very sad to know.