Hurricane Katrina: 7 years later

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Isaac will be making landfall 7 years to the date of the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

I was three months into owning my first home when Katrina struck and rendered it unlivable for the next four months. Several things still stand out very strongly to me since then:

Devastation emphasizes the importance of community. 

After the hurricane struck, it was evident more than ever how much we all needed each other. I had evacuated and stayed with friends in Jackson, then stayed with more friends in Starkville until the roads could be cleared enough that I could even make it back down to Gulfport.

Once I was there, I had to stay with friends and family for months before my house was livable again. And it was only made livable through the combined efforts and help of a great number of friends and family. I even hosted a finishing-touches Hurricane Repair Party, where all my friends helped make final repairs before we partied for the rest of the night! A church group from out of town also came with chain saws and shovels and rakes and helped get my yard back in order by clearing many of the downed trees.

It was amazing to see the many ways that people pitched in to help each other recover from this effort. As much as we like to think we can make it alone in this world, it’s important that we have that community of family and friends that we can draw on when times are tough.

We don’t need very many things.

I lived for months carrying around everything I needed in no more than two bags. Clothes, a laptop, and a few other things. I was able to do everything I needed with these limited supplies. Looking back at that time, it amazes how many things I have collected since then and how much space they all take up. Despite my anti-TV sentiments, I’m just as prone to advertisements as anyone, and I simply keep buying things.

Thinking back on the time after the hurricane, in addition to current circumstances in my life, has me reflecting on how many unnecessary things we have in our lives. I’ve started making a more concentrated effort to reduce the sheer amount of stuff I have in my life.

People will use anything as a reason to invoke religious arguments.

One of the more shocking themes after Hurricane Katrina was a slew of people claiming that Hurricane Katrina was God taking out his wrath on the sinful city of New Orleans. And the thing is, when seen in line with other Old Testament acts such as the flood story, that analysis probably made sense to some people.

However, I thought this argument was extremely offensive, both toward New Orleans and religion in general, for reasons I’m not gong to delve into today.

This year, Isaac headed toward the Republican National Convention and interrupted it’s opening day. Once again, I saw suggestions that this was God demonstrating his opinion toward the Republican party. These claims seemed to be intended to be more humorous than those made about New Orleans and Katrina. However, all they do is propagate that style of thinking. Is it really necessary to insert an argument about God into every thing that happens?

Mississippi gets no respect.

Warranted or not, Mississippi gets very little respect around the country and in the news media. Hurricane Katrina actually struck Mississippi and caused a huge amount of destruction in the state, yet New Orleans is almost always described as the area damaged by the Hurricane.

This year, reporters on the Weather Channel actually went so far as to refer to Mississippi as the “land mass” between Mobile and New Orleans. Another reporter suggested that Isaac might hit the Louisiana/Alabama border. For those of you with equally bad geography skills, Mississippi lies between those two states.

In honor of these gaffes, we have three new shirts available in our Zazzle store:

  • The University of Southern Land Mass
  • Ole Mass
  • This Is Our Land Mass

Check them out and consider ordering one in order to support Philosophy Matters:

Finally, fellow Philosophy Matters author, L, will be experiencing her first hurricane. She posted about how she is preparing for it here:

How have you or would you prepare for a hurricane?

Here’s hoping everyone in the path of Isaac remains safe!

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