The Mind of WebbWoman

Hello! Look for future posts about my "observations" Lord knows I am always making observations, movie reviews, whenever I see a movie I want to talk about, or I may just vent my frustrations...who knows?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

After Katrina (A personal rant)

I’m really tired of the national news media and all their whining criticizing. If all you knew about the world was what they say you’d think New Orleans was the only place hit by Katrina and then Rita. Since the eye of Katrina passed over my house I thought I’d put in my two cents worth about the aftermath from hurricane Katrina and what the news media call the government’s “slow response.”

First, New Orleans didn’t get the full force of Katrina. The storm went to the east of New Orleans, taking a path up the Pearl River, centering on Hancock County, in Mississippi. For those who never heard of Mississippi, it’s that state to the east of Louisiana. Waveland, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi were most heavily hit by the storm. The storm surge went about a mile inland and almost everything south of I-10 (about 5 miles inland) was flooded and/or destroyed. All the coastal cities were heavily hit, but Waveland bore the brunt of the storm. People there lost EVERYTHING.

I live in Pearl River County, directly north of Hancock County. We didn’t have flooding as bad as on the coast and Southern Louisiana, but we had LOTS of wind and tornado damage. Trees and power poles were snapped off like match sticks. Other trees were uprooted. We had to use chain saws to clear a way, first out our own drive ways, then just to get down the road. Power lines were down everywhere, lying across the roads and tangled up in fallen trees. We were totally cut off from the rest of the world. No power, no phones, all the cell phone towers were knocked down so we couldn’t even call out by cell for a week. Even the mail didn’t run for almost two weeks, and it took nearly a whole tank of gas just to get to a station to buy gas, then they may be sold out by the time you got there. It’s not fun having to do without electricity and running water, but I feel greatly blessed in that at the very worst, I was merely inconvenienced. As I said, some people lost everything. I had to laugh at myself though, because I started sleeping with my Mag-Lite like it was a Teddy bear.

Some things I saw following hurricane Katrina:

The storm hit Sunday night and went on all day Monday. On Tuesday morning, the National Guard was out clearing the interstate so help could get in to us. Yes, that was TUESDAY! The only way they could have responded faster would be to stand out there during the storm, catching the trees and stuff as it fell. The reason they weren’t in New Orleans quicker was because the governor and mayor thought they had it under control. Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, requested assistance two days before Katrina so FEMA and MEMA had people in the state when it came ashore. Another reason they weren’t in New Orleans faster was the I-10 twin span across Lake Pontchartrain was destroyed. Now to be honest, I don’t know how I-10 was from Baton Rouge, but there was no way to get supplies in from north of the lake.

Wednesday those same National Guardsmen were setting up POD’s in our community distributing water, ice and MRE’s. I thank God for those guys! We don’t have community water where I live yet, so when you have no electricity, you don’t have water. It takes electricity to run a well.

Daily, helicopters and small airplanes were flying over surveying the damage. One funny story: Someone I know was out cleaning his yard and one of these helicopters flew over. He raised his hand to wave at them, and they landed in his yard. They got out and asked if he needed any help, and he said, “Naw, I was just sayin’ hi.” I couldn’t help but notice the difference between the people just across the state line. In New Orleans they’re actually firing on those coming to help and here we wave like they’re old friends.

Churches sent truck loads of food, water and gasoline. Gas was our biggest need. You needed gas to drive to the nearest POD for water and ice, and if you were blessed to have a generator, you needed gas to run it. My parents have a generator so my sister and I both moved back in till the lights came back on. About a week and a half after the storm we were able to fix the well and hook it up to the generator, thus giving us running water. WOO HOO!!! Our main goal became getting gas to run the generator so we could have water and keep Mom’s insulin cool in the fridge.

Work crews from EVERYWHERE came down to help clean up. I saw bucket trucks from electric companies in Ohio, Kansas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Canada…I lost count. They didn’t have to, but they came down here and worked hard in the heat and humidity to get our lights back on. The day my lights came back on it got up to 100 degrees. The gentlemen who came and hooked us up were from New Hampshire. They said they thought Mississippi was pretty, but they hated the heat. I wish I had thought to tell them to come back in March. That’s the best time of the year to visit. It’s not so hot, and everything is in bloom.

At some point in the second week, (the days started to run together after awhile) Marines showed up at the house, wanting to know if there was anything we needed and if we were ok. And a few days after that, a truck from the Red Cross stopped by and gave us water and two boxes of MRE’s. That never happened before. I remember after hurricane Camille in 1969 we were pretty much left to take care of ourselves, and each other as a community.

I got really tired of hearing about New Orleans though. We lost power Sunday night during the storm and the only contact with the outside world was a battery operated radio that could only pick up WWL in New Orleans. From the time they learned that the storm would pass east of New Orleans and that they wouldn’t get the worst of it they stopped reporting on the storm, as to where and when it would come into land, wind speed, etc. All we could hear was them all excited that we were getting it and not them. Yeah, I know they are below sea level and in a bowl, blah blah blah… but their job was to report on the storm, not gloat that we were getting it instead of them.

Then after the storm all we heard was how New Orleans was flooded, that certain low-lifes were breaking in to hospitals, holding the staff at gunpoint and raping nurses. The National Guard had to escort nurses back and forth to work. Fire fighters were trapped in a building by snipers. Some fools even fired on rescue choppers as they arrived to help. I gotta say that those pilots were more charitable than I would have been. I would have told them to save their ammo for hunting their own food, because I wasn’t coming back.

Still, all the news reporters talk about is New Orleans when Katrina is mentioned. When hurricane Rita blew into the state line between Texas and Louisiana they still went on and on about New Orleans like it is the only place on the coast.

I’m also sick of the news media politicizing everything. They are so intolerant of anyone slightly conservative that they will do anything they can to vilify them, even if it means telling half truths and lies. Sure, President Bush was on vacation in Texas when Katrina hit, but he was aware of the storm approaching, he was in contact with our Governor Barbour, and I’m sure he spoke with Governor Blanco in Louisiana as well. He signed the paperwork declaring the coastal states federal disaster areas BEFORE the storm. He was down here, personally surveying the damage as soon as he could get here. And he had troops here immediately.

And New Orleans flooded because it is a city below sea level, surrounded by levies. The federal government has given money to improve the levy system there time and time again, but the money was often spent elsewhere. There was no vast plot to do away with the poor, elderly and sick. I have no idea why the city officials didn’t have them evacuated; the mayor had all the RTA busses and school busses at his disposal. Possibly he didn’t know where to take them. Truth is, I don’t know. And as far as the druggies and others causing all the violence there goes, I believe if they are able to cause all that trouble they were able to get themselves out of town. I may sound heartless but I’m not very troubled about their plight.

Another thing, I’m tired of the news media reporting on the underbelly of society and letting the true story go untold. I know the old saying, “If it bleeds it leads.” But why can’t they forget about ratings and report the truth for once? If those panty-waist reporters would step out of their air conditioned offices long enough to see the real world they would see people coming together to make the best of the situation. They go on about how we’re “neglected” etc. but I have yet to see a truck full of supplies from CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX. I suppose ‘twas ever thus: Some stand around griping and others do something about it.

I’m sorry about writing such a long, rambling, and sometimes redundant letter, but I’ve had four weeks to listen to the media tripe and had no outlet with which to give my point of view. I just started typing and couldn’t stop. But I don’t want to close out without saying a very big THANK YOU to everyone who came here and worked so hard to help us out. Everyone from the National Guardsmen, Red Cross and all other volunteers did (and are still doing) a great job and I want them all to know that they are greatly appreciated. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!

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