Karen Ocamb

Lest We Forget - Katrina 5 Years Later

Filed By Karen Ocamb | August 28, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: biloxi, Frontiers magazine, Hurricane Katrina, louisiana, new orleans, rachel maddow

Where were you when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast five years ago?

superdomewomanbaby25xi-300x193.jpgLike many of you, I was stuck to the television watching the city of New Orleans torn apart before my eyes - first the rain, then the flooding, then the fight to rescue the stranded residents. I grew angrier by the minute learning President Bush was on vacation and had to watch a prepared DVD to be brought up to speed, after which he did a flyover. When he finally did visit the devastated region, he commended incompetent Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown with the now infamous words, "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie."

Heck of a job? We watched dead bodies float in the floods, people stranded without food or water on rooftops waving signs "Help Us!" Dehydrated babies dying in their mother's arms. Was this OUR America? We drop necessities from helicopters in war torn areas around the world - but we couldn't do the same in New Orleans? We couldn't bring truck loads of supplies to the Superdome? From here it looked like abject racism.

Like so many of you, we at Frontiers tried to help - chipping in to send volunteers from St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hollywood to Biloxi, Mississippi, to help a sister church there. And we teamed up with some good Samaritans from Long Beach to fly in a lesbian couple to re-join some of their gay friends rescued earlier. This was particularly poignant since one was in a wheelchair and the other had to pose as her healthcare provider in the small church that first took them in, lest they suffer even more indignity than losing everything in the storm. Did they ever go home? I don't know.

As usual, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has produced some remarkable stories about Katrina in New Orleans, five years later - especially how it continues to impact the poor. But as someone who sees my job as a journalist as a public service - I want to bring you Rachel's interview with Garland Robinette, the voice of radio station WWAL that provided a community service by giving information and connecting families.


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Everything about that time was horrifying. Bush did many despicable things, but allowing people to die in New Orleans without even leaving his vacation was one of the worst.

That was a pretty terrible time. It was not long after the whole Schiavo thing too, so it really showed what kind of Christian we were dealing with.

The country's moved on, and our infrastructure seems worse rather than better. We haven't learned from history, as far as I can tell.

Garland Robinette was really good in Spike Lee's documentary, "When the Levees Broke."

Katrina showed what a house of cards everything is. One little puff and it all falls apart.