Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Stunned in the Big Easy

Stunned in the Big Easy

I’ve been riveted to the television as Katrina rolled through the gulf coast, including New Orleans. I have a special interest, being a resident of New Orleans who survived Camille’s blast in 1969.

The drama that unfolded Monday made everything else unimportant. Cindy Sheehan, Al Sharpton, Al Sharpton’s 110 mile an hour cruise to the airport … nothing spurred my interest in posting.

But today’s discussion of complete shutdown of New Orleans, evacuation, and the likelihood of having no electricity or water for two months brought home the consequences of Katrina.

What do you have – when it comes to business – in a town where no people live? What does this mean for the Times Picayune? A newspaper with no readers, and subscribers spread all over the map. The same is true for radio stations, gasoline stations, restaurants, and FOOTBALL Teams.

Where will the Saints go? Who will watch them play?

What happens to a city that is uninhabitable for months? Will the school kids come back in six months? Where will parents be working? Will New Orleans be reborn out of the stinking muck that will remain as the water recedes?

Too many questions and no easy answers. It would be simplistic to pronounce faith in the indominatable spirit of man. But there are realities to be faced. No basic services. No jobs. Few lives can be put on hold for two or three months, without suffering significant change.

It is a drama we will watch for months. And the answers won’t be clear for much longer than that.

And for once, I have nothing but praise for the news coverage. This is a moment for reporting, and an opportunity for journalism. The story is there to be told, if they would only take time to tell us the story – rather than mugging for the camera.