[Kamikaze] Old Wounds


Brad Franklin

It's five years post Hurricane Katrina, and I'm still angry. Old images of the disaster dominated my TV screen and the Internet this past weekend: old images of Mother Nature at her most fierce; old images of destruction left in Katrina's wake; old images of bodies floating in flood water; old images of thousands of people starving, hot, sick, despondent. I'm just as angry as I am now as I watch those images in my living room.

Five years may seem like an eternity to some, but for those who survived that horrible summer of 2005, time has yet to heal the wounds of homes and loved ones lost, and family members displaced.

Imagine starting your life over again in a new city with just the clothes on your back. It's unfathomable for a lot of us to think, but we should all be angry. It's unfathomable because in a country that has so much, at a time when our fellow man needed us most, I feel the country failed us.

The pictures I saw, the stories I heard sounded like stories after a nuclear attack: anarchy, looting, violence, rape, murder. It was a real-life version of "Lord of the Flies," where only the strong survived. We watched police corruption rise to an all-time high, watched the gentrification of neighborhoods, watched the destruction of a school system. We watched the transformation of cities right before our very eyes. And we stayed glued night after harrowing night, just as a lot of us did this past weekend, watching footage of Aug. 29, 2005, and the days afterward.

You should be angry because never again should human life be treated so callously.

It's not a matter of "if"; it's only a matter of when the unpredictable whims of Mother Nature will touch us again. Five years after Katrina, we must still remember.

And in that, let us remember that ground zero for Hurricane Katrina was the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With all the attention that New Orleans gets, know that those on our Coast were and are experiencing twofold those images that the media shows of our Louisiana brethren. The pain and suffering that washed over New Orleans when the levees broke had already visited Gulfport, Biloxi, Long Beach, Bay St. Louis, Pascagoula, Moss Point and all points in between. Entire cities were flattened, and businesses completely wiped off the map. Let's not forget them, either.

There was no Spike Lee documentary, no Harry Connick Jr. or Branford Marsalis getting air-time about our Coast, no Saints Super Bowl victory to lean on. And that should make you angry all over again, like it has made me.

No one wants to see a disaster like Hurricane Katrina and what happened in its wake happen again in his or her lifetime. We better start making sure we put the people in place to ensure that it doesn't.

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff!


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