Thursday, March 16, 2006
Searching for closure in the lower Ninth Ward
The story assignment was simple -- a reality check on the effort to recover the bodies still buried in debris more than half a year after Hurricane Katrina.

I have lived in New Orleans nearly three months now. And working on this story, it struck me. Does the rest of the country realize only half the debris left by Katrina has been removed from Louisiana? Do they realize hundreds of bodies are still unaccounted for?

I drive by blocks and blocks and blocks of splintered homes every day, with people dressed in hazmat suits walking in and out of the houses they are gutting. But the real emotional button for much of New Orleans is the legion of people still listed as missing.

The Family Assistance Center puts the number at 1,495 people and dropping. No one really believes that many bodies will be found. That would more than double Katrina's death toll.

The state medical examiner estimates there are probably 400 people who died who haven't been discovered. Sad reality, most of them probably never will be. Authorities here suspect many washed into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, or some bayou.

That doesn't mean crews aren't looking. Every day, cadaver dog teams get up, and in tedious fashion, they walk from house to house, neighborhood to neighborhood. The monotony is broken every now and then when a dog makes a positive "hit" -- meaning it senses human remains or body fluid deep beneath debris.

It is grisly work. It is time-consuming. And it is important. Debris from areas like the lower Ninth Ward can't be removed until all suspect areas have been thoroughly checked.

It is going to take months to finish. People in charge tell me the effort to find bodies could still be going on even as we memorialize the first anniversary of Katrina next August.

Firefighters, dog teams, medical personnel, and others privately debate just how many more bodies will be found. Their answers may shock you. The low end -- in the teens. The highest number I have heard is about 60. That means a lot of families with missing loved ones will never get closure.
Posted By Sean Callebs, CNN Correspondent: 2:30 PM ET
The total impact from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may not be known for years to come. As a native New Orleanian, I understand how hard it is to take it all home, no school, no stores.... Many landmarks, other places and things, that prior to the storms, existed. I may have passed it or seen it a thousand times, and now it is no longer there. The total death toll may never be known. As you stated, the waters rushed in and washed back out to seas, rivers, and bayous. I will continue to pray for those families.
Posted By Anonymous Dana Martin, Jacksonville, FL : 2:56 PM ET
Sadder still than the recovery of unburied dead, is that emotion will force the restoration of an area that safety and logic would leave unrebuilt.
There will be more storms, the land beneath New Orleans will continue to sink, and, inevitably, there will be another storm...
Posted By Anonymous Sobac Retok, Columbia, SC : 3:14 PM ET
The rest of the country doesn't realize how little has been done in the 9th ward in the six months since the storm passed through. I went down for Spring Break to assist with the gutting process and the work is difficult, but it was disappointing and disheartening to see roofs in the streets and gain a general sense that no one had done anything in the area. I'm sure the media is getting "Katrina Fatigue" because the story might not sell as much any more, but the storm is far from over.
Posted By Anonymous Logan Council, Atlanta, GA : 3:15 PM ET
FEMA apparently knows where many people are, but isn't sharing that information with families. The Katrina survivors I'm in touch with continue to look for friends and loved ones, only to find that they've been living in some other city and receiving FEMA benefits for months.
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Austin, TX : 3:20 PM ET
It seems as if every time I just start to really get a feel for what is happening (or not happening) in Louisiana I get another slap of reality.

For those of you who are covering the news and are trying to keep up public awareness I applaud you. In my wildest dreams I would have never dreamt that there are still searches going on for bodies. It is so disrespectful to those Americans.

9-11 and the Tsunami were jumped on and cleared up like there was a plague to be contained. And our own people are left in this condition? How sad a tribute to America, and mostly how sad a tribute to George Bush and the other politicians who lied when they said there would be an even greater New Orleans. (Covered their butt for a few days anyway)

God Bless all those affected by Katrina and Rita as well, they have suffered enough.

Thank you for being there with them and God speed to you all.
Posted By Anonymous Anna Lambert, Horn Lake, MS : 3:21 PM ET
For what ever reason people don't leave there homes when tragedy arrives. Even in the midwest tornado area we or at least i stare out my window when the sirens sound. There's a false security, i'll be ok, but there's times when it's not. River levees always have seepage even when the water level is normal and wetlands shouldn't be built on, at least residential homes anymore.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Winfield Quincy, IL : 3:22 PM ET
That's amazing. 9/11 had a death toll of around 3,000. Now, if Katrina's death toll is double, look where we're at. Two different disasters, two different responses, but in the long run what difference did it make. We have still lost over 6,000 of our families, friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans. No Sean, we haven't forgotten and yes, we still want to be kept up to date on what's going on. Keeping them honest should become our national saying. Anderson gets credit for that.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Fairfield Iowa : 3:36 PM ET
I can't believe that this is still going on. The u.s is the strongest country and they are still pulling out bodies. The rest of the world does see the torment that is still haunting New Orleans. I just am speachless that your gouv't hasn't stepped in to help, I know that they did originally but is there relief still coming? God I hope that is the last straw for Bush. So worried about getting the oil in Iraq that he is ignoring the state that his country is in.
Posted By Anonymous Joanne, Montreal , Canada : 3:37 PM ET
As stated above, we may never know the "true" number of those who lost their lives. I too, am a native New Orleanian and have lived in Jacksonville, FL for 15 years. But New Orleans is still home. Some of my inlaws lived in the "lower ninth" and all over the city. Everyday I look for a list of the missing and/or deceased but can not find one. I'll miss the old New Orleans, but pray a New better New Orleans emerges.
Posted By Anonymous Rose, Jacksonville, FL : 3:42 PM ET
Fortunately, most families did not lose anyone. For those who did, their trauma is magnified. The United States' population does not realize what we are going through and are arrogant enough to say to us, "Why rebuild there, you're below sea level? You knew what you were getting into." That is what I hear on radio stations across the country. This city is a big part of U.S. history. It served the soldiers well during the revolution. The rest was just a natural progression of civilization. What made New Orleans such a charming city was the generations-deep culture that existed in the majority of the people here. Visitors loved the charm the workers exhibited when driving them in from the airport, serving their meals and drinks or escorting them to their hotel rooms. That has been completely washed away. Families have been separated and transplanted. Grandparents are away from their grandchildren; parents are away from their children; spouses are living apart. Lessons are being lost. Time marches on. In addition, everything most of us owned is ruined. Only the fortunate 100,000 or so living on high ground along the river have their lives in tact. The other 350,000 are punch-drunk. We are starting from scratch. Insurance, if you had it, isn't enough. We have been devastated. We listen to those who lost everything to a wild fire or tornado cry about how they don't know where to begin. Well, we have tens of thousands and probably over 100,000 households who have gone through that, and we are told "So, you should be smarter." I know there are people across this country and the world who are intelligent enough to realize what we are going through, but, they are rarely heard. The media spins the negative. Well, I hope you still find this city as charming as it was in maybe 10 years from now. I travel, and, there are very few cities like New Orleans, very few. The people made the city what it was, not the crescent in the river or the old buildings; although, they add to the charm. The nice old guy with generations of history instilled in his mind who is talking to you while you wait for a cab makes it charming. It isn't over folks. We want to rebuild, but, we can't afford it. We want to live where our ancestors put us, but, we can't now. We want to entertain you when you visit, but, we can't. One thing I can attest to is that faith-based initiatives are making the most progress out here, not governments. Giving money to the cities for CDBGs is a mistake. Politicians, no matter in what city or country, will make sure they and their folks make money. The money will not be wisely spent if given to the local politicians. Eventually, some will trickle to the intended recipients. I don't know the answer, but, I'm leaning towards faith based initiatives. Although, my own church disappoints me. I'm a Catholic, white, middle-aged male and am very disappointed with the Catholic church and the little we as members and they as an institution have accomplished in this restoration. I see many other non-denominational or Newborn Christian type organizations gutting complete stranger's houses and making progress. Some Greek and Jewish organizations are helping their own, and, maybe offering some easily distributed services to outsiders. Not even the fully African-American Baptist churches are doing much for their own neighborhoods. That could be that most of their people are gone. But, these other groups are managing to get volunteers in town and house them for a week or two stint while they work on complete strangers' homes. The secret is probably in the volunteers. They are doing this on their own time for free. They just need housing and food while they are here. Personally, a group from Wyoming cleaned my house, saving me at least $4,500.00. In addition, they left me 4 Walmart cards worth $50 each, and $100.00 in cash inside of a new bible, after they completely gutted my house. There is merit to faith based initiatives, but, just as with minority participation goals, there has to be accountability, goals and results. If we can spend billions in the Middle East as we have done over the decades, and, God knows, oil is the lifeblood of our economy, we should spend enough money on our own neighborhoods to restore them, even if we are better off then before the storm once the restoration has been completed. Instead of spending so much on levees, we should rebuild those we have to sufficient strength for moderate storms, and, give us enough funding to demolish our slab-on-grade homes and build them up above the flood level and to rebuild those that are raised but damaged, where the need exists. The downtown city is well protected by elevation, as was made evident by the lack of full flooding. A low floodwall surrounding the downtown assets to prevent the four or five feet of flooding they experienced may be feasible. But, without us, the city is just another American city, Anywhere, USA. We are having to make hard, lasting decisions. Hopefully, we can remain New Orleanians. God, protect our soldiers and get them home safely. God bless those who are here helping us. And, God help us to help ourselves.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, New Orleans, Louisiana : 3:45 PM ET
There are no counts of the post-Katrina deaths. The people who lost their livelihoods, their loved ones, lost everything that ever mattered. Those who died by their own hand. Those who died just because they couldn't fathom the thought of rebuilding. Those people will never be counted in any statistic.
Posted By Anonymous Ralph, New Orleans Refugee currently in Arkansas : 3:46 PM ET
People didn't leave for many reasons, and we can debate them until we die for the sake of stirring politics and igniting change. But one thing holds more true than rationale- The evil you know is preferable to the evil you don't. Better to some, it seems, to hold the fort than to scatter across America for higher ground.

We'll never know in our lifetimes the damages done by Hurricane and Catastrophe Katrina. I'll leave that to the next millenia's archaeologists who take the time to dig
Posted By Anonymous Bailey, St. Louis, MO : 3:49 PM ET
It is terrible that they are still looking for people after Katrina. Why didn't the people leave is the question that to me is still unanswered. Then all they talk about on the news are the people who were "stranded" in New Olreans. Or we ear about the people who were taking advantage of the help.
I don't think President Bush was to blame. I believe it was the state of Lousiana, and the mayor.
All we hear about are the people of New Olreans. What about the people in Mississippi, and Alabama???
Its so sad that people have to blame our president. I suppose its his fault that the hurricane hit in the first place?
Posted By Anonymous Jamie, Memphis, TN : 3:51 PM ET
The problem with disasters such as Katrina, Rita, Andrew, and others that have destroyed parts of America isn't the storms themselves. If America were properly prepared, very few people would be affected. The problem starts with the fact that there is division today within American society, North vs. South. The fact that the 9th ward was the most affected by destruction and was heavily populated with African-Americans begs some attention. Politics often rears its ugly head because if the government were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ensuring the levee systems were completely up-to-date, then people would have complained that Congress and the President were wasting taxmoney again. The bottom line is we think we know what to do in preparation for a storm but we don't until it happens.
Posted By Anonymous Jared, Macomb, Illinois : 3:53 PM ET
I also don't believe that the rest of America realizes just how much destruction really took place on the Gulf Coast, and how slowly the recovery is progressing. Luckily we have groups like Women of the Storm, who are lobbying members of Congress to visit New Orleans. To those who still believe New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt: How can you say that under any circumstances the United States of America should flat-out abandon one of its greatest cities? If we made a habit of abandoning cities because of their vulnerability to disaster, we would have to leave the West Coast because of earthquakes; the entire Gulf Coast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida because of hurricanes; large sections of the southwest because of draught and wildfires; a sizable chunk of the mid-west because of tornadoes; and much of the north because of blizzards. And, lest we forget, the majority of destruction in New Orleans was man-made - caused by the Army Corps of Engineers's poor levve designs and their ignoring repeated warning signs.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, New Orleans, LA : 3:56 PM ET
How arrogant for Americans to say that we should not rebuild; that the city continues to sink and other storms will come. How about if we all move to your town. Would you like that? I didn't think so. We have buildings here dating back to the 1700's. Do you have that? That's over 300 years of existance. We would have more, older building, but, they were destroyed by fires, not storms. Because Louisiana has never been represented properly in Congressional committees, we never get enough money to make this place the world class city it truly is. Why is D.C. so nice? We didn't loose any landmarks. That devastation was in Mississippi. And, our flooding can be repaired relatively easily: Raise the house in the suburbs of the city, which are protected against category 2 to 3 storms by existing levees, and protect the more expesive business district by a floodwall about 4 feet high inside of the city, built along medians.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, New Orleans, LA : 3:57 PM ET
While the federal government has just recently increased the budget, how much of it is going to rebuild category 3 levees in a city where category 5 levees are needed? For those who decry rebuilding New Orleans where it is, how many of you would be willing to abandon your home, your culture, and your way of life and start anew in areas of the US where you and your way of life may not be welcome? Among strangers, rather than in a city where you and your family may have been for generations?

Thank you to CNN for not forgetting the Gulf Coast. Bless you for continuing to tell the truh and to remind the rest of the country how much work still has to be done.
Posted By Anonymous Ayn McLaurin, Atlanta, Ga : 4:02 PM ET
It's unfortunate but this is also expected. Many homeowners have yet to go back, leaving the work in the hands of others. Months? More than that I think. Bodies may still be found a year or longer down the line. Oddly, the pace would actually increase, and the bodies found quicker, if home and property owners would allow their property to be condemned instead of dragging it all out through the courts. We're talking about unsalvagable piles of wood that may contain human remains. The government should put recovery efforts at the forefront and just go in, condemning as necessary as they go. A decent burial takes priority over an owners rights to a toxic pile of rubble.
Posted By Anonymous Rod C. Venger, Colorado Springs, Colorado : 4:05 PM ET
It's nice to hear someone else who's noticed that the rest of the country seems to have moved on. Non-New Orleanians have the impression that either the storm never happened, or that everything's returned to normal. Those of us who live here can testify that it's not.
Posted By Anonymous Lianna, New Orleans, LA : 4:07 PM ET
Sean, have you driven to Biloxi, to East Biloxi? Same story, different place. Please come over. Do you know about the mountains of debris, of all kinds, still in the Gulf?
Posted By Anonymous marjie, biloxi, ms : 4:08 PM ET
Our city is older than the United States, as Mark points out. To those who feel we "deserve" to die, or to be treated as infants or incompetents, I say, just wait until your local infrastructure fails due to federal --FEDERAL -- mismanagement and neglect. That's what happened in New Orlenas: IT'S THE LEVEES, STUPID! HOLD THE CORPS ACCOUNTABLE! The Louisiana Congressional delegation has been screaming for levee funding since the 1970s. It's YOUR state's elected officials whose short-sightedness left our state's people to die.
Posted By Anonymous Robin, native New Orleanian, based in Atlanta : 4:11 PM ET
How sad it is for those people not to know where their family members are. This whole situation has just been a nightmare. There were a couple of horse trainers from here who went to the gulf coast with trailers full of supplies for horses and people. They came back with wild stories about people being eaten by alligators. How creepy is that. Hopefully it isn't true. I never heard anything on the news, so I'm hoping they were wrong. Let's hope at least that the trash is picked up before next hurricane season.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 4:14 PM ET
The devastation of Katrina & Rita is more than most of us can imagine. We have to realize if New Orleans, Mississippi & Alabama are going to recover it's going to take help from everyone. The volunteer groups are probably the best answer. The problem is there are faith based group, college students, etc who would like to help but don't know who to contact. Maybe post on the Website agencies or individuals to contact. It may be one house at a time, but at least that's progress. There are people all over the country willing to help. There just has to be a way to get the volunteers in touch with the home owners and business owners in the area.
Posted By Anonymous Jana, Beaumont, TX : 4:20 PM ET
Yes, even though it's not in the news every night, a lot of us still wonder why more is not being done to help in the effort to clean up and find the missing! Maybe if we didn't worry so much about other countries and worried about our own, we'd have more funds for relief efforts! I pray everyday for those effected.
Posted By Anonymous Carol Adamowicz, Walworth, NY : 4:20 PM ET
The search for bodies or lack of epitomizes the incompetence and failure of FEMA as an organization. Several weeks ago there were two cadaver dog teams in town helping in the search for bodies. After several days they were sent home because FEMA stopped paying for their hotel rooms. The failure of this organization day in and day out is incomprehensible. Today the streets of the lower nine are a constant reminder of life immediately following the storm because nothing has really changed. It's not that New Orleanians are living in their typical laid back lifestyle. For many of us we are waiting on the insurance companies, FEMA trailers, or elevation maps (we are required to meet certain building requirements before repairing or rebuilding our home if substantially damaged).The distinct neighborhoods, blending of cultures and our way of life here is what keeps us going. If it was not for this treasure we have then you may have seen the largest migration since the 30's dust bowl storms. The Federal Government and in particular FEMA is solely responsible for all that went wrong before, during, and after Katrina made landfall. This organization that is so critical to our national security needs to be overhauled. Our country's survival depends on it.
Posted By Anonymous Louie Bonnecarre, New Orleans La. : 4:20 PM ET
I live in Central La. and for some reason I don't know who dropped the ball with evacuating the city and the press showing us on CNN the many school buses that were under water. Who was in charge? Neither our govenor, nor the mayor or the president. Louisiana and Mississiappi are not considered great political assets when it comes to any presidential election. Our senators and representatives are on the payroll but are not looking out for the best interest of these two states. Twenty years from now we will be still recovering from the devastation of these two hurricanes. In the meantime the prediction for this hurricane season is not good for our states. Yes the tsumani was a tradedy and we raced to be their first to help these people. Has anyone from another country come to help La. and Miss.? Not that I heard of. The evacuees are still living in hotels and motels and getting paid for their meals and we the taxpayers are carrying the burden. How long does it take to get out and look for a job and a place to live? I am beginning to think they will continue to live in these places and we will continue to pick up the tab. We are encouraging them to stay put and we will foot the bill. In the city of Lafayette, La. motels and hotels have bed bugs in the rooms and bedding.....who wants to stay at any of these places now that they are invaded with pest? It was wrong to force hotels and motels to keep these people and it was wrong of our govenment to look the other way and not bring in Fema trailers and housing for people who had lost everything. Our president and our govenor are not working together to build strong levees and they are not interested in POOR La. and Miss. Politics is the evil that has us in the situation we are in here and hopefully next election people can make better choices in electing a president,govenor and mayor who will have the best interest of the people at heart. God Bless La., Miss., and the good old USA.
Posted By Anonymous S. Courville, Ville Platte, La. : 4:23 PM ET
I have a lot of love and respect for the people that are in those hazmat suits trying there best to find dead people. I couldn't stomach the job you have on your hands.
Posted By Anonymous Darren, Atlanta, GA. : 4:31 PM ET
Could this be why so many people in New Orleans are sick? The number of people walking around with severe hacking coughs, bronchitis and even pnumonia is alarming. I am a healthy 30 year old and I have the worst caugh I have ever had and it has been going on for a month now. Added to this, there are no placed to go for medical care. My docs office is gone and there are no hospitals and even if there were, I don't have insurance because the lawfirm where I was an associate is no longer around.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Perelli, Lower Garden District, New Olreans, LA : 4:36 PM ET
Now, over six months later, it is still hard to comprehend the magnitude of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. I lived in New Orleans several years ago, and I fell in love with the city and it's people. My heart breaks every time I watch a news story and see what little progress has been made in the last few months. In a country with the resources we have available, it is disgraceful that there is still so much debris, and most heart-wrenching of all, bodies in this debris, covering much of the Gulf coast. Thank you for "keeping them honest" as only AC360 can do. Your continued coverage helps to make sure this tragedy, and the people of the Gulf coast, are not forgotten.
Posted By Anonymous Phyllis Miller Lancaster, PA : 4:43 PM ET
I am curious how many of the missing are children. There was quit a list in the beginning of children that had not been united with their families.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Oklahoma City : 4:56 PM ET
To Jamie - 80% of the metro area evacuated. EIGHTY percent of 1.3 million people - that's over 1 million people. There were no massive traffic jams like Houston - it was orderly and preplanned, as it generally is. The story that people didn't evacuate is patently false. Every hotel room from Jackson to St. Louis to Houston to Pensacola was packed. Shelters were packed - Monroe alone housed thousands, as it always does, including intensive care patients evaced out of various hospitals in the area. It was ACTUALLLY the most successful evacuation of a major city ever.

The people who were left were either old, sick, poor, silly, a combination of all the above, or first responders and critcal staff. Aside from the evacuation - it was not the hurricane that destroyed the city. It was the flooding - flooding from failed flood walls, flood walls that are a FEDERAL responsibility. Flood walls the Corps has admitted repeatedly were not built to spec, and even that the spec was WRONG. Tens of thousands of American citizens are destitute and homeless and thousands are dead because of the failings of the U.S. government.

The failure continued in the delayed and woefully inadequete response - to the entire Gulf region. Heraldo could get into N.O. to exploit old women for his cameras but Humvees filled with potable water couldn't?! Personnel carriers couldn't get in there to move the people out? No - FEMA failed. Homeland Seciurity failed. The Presidnet failed. (and yes, Blacno and Nagin could've done better - but they were in crisis mode and please reflect on the other posts that discuss the short end of the funding shaft LA has ALWAYS gotten from Congress)

FEMA is STIll a no show in parts of the Mississippi coast. That's the area that was devestated by the actual storm. Why is there not more coverage of that are? I can't say. But that lack of coverage does not lessen the need of the Americans "in that part of the world" nor the responsibility of the federal government to alleviate that need and foster revcovery efforts.

THAT is why you continue to hear about the people "stranded" in New Orelans. THAT is why people blame Bush for the lack of an adequete response on all fronts - because ultimately, the buck stops with the president.
Posted By Anonymous Ann, Memphis, TN (formerly of Monroe, Louisiana) : 4:59 PM ET
My neighborhood was hit by a tornado in 1997. It was months before all the debris was removed and it was a relatively small area of damage. To expect a damage area as vast as Katrina's to be cleaned up by now is simply unreasonable. It takes hours for a backhoe to clean up a demolished house and many truck trips. Give the people credit for accomplishing what they have instead of always complaining about what is not done.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Montgomery, Doraville, GA : 5:02 PM ET
I'm aware of it - lost my house in Pensacola during Hurr Ivan in 2004 and Grande Lagoon looks like a ghost town 20 months later. The most progress they've seen is houses being torn down and it took over a year to get the streets cleaned up (about the same time Katrina ran over LA, MS & AL.) Most are still waiting on insurance, lawsuits, and are forced to wait on the gov't because they are fighting over new regulations and the owners aren't able to move on even if they wanted to. Many are giving up, taking the insulting ins settlements and moving out of the area.

In addition, FEMA wasn't any better during Hurr Ivan, from first hand experience, no one, not the left hand nor right hand knew what to do. The volunteers were quite frustrated with the little amt of info/resources that were given to them to get even the most common sense things taken care of; if it wasn't for Red Cross, National Guard, and believe it or not - Walmart. These folks would still be in dire straights.

Another factor that no one seems to take in account is the area that Hurr Ivan hit are primarily retired military with pensions. So they could hold on a bit longer and fight for their rights. Albeit, as one retired gentleman told me , I'll be dead before I get was is due to me and they're counting on that. Welcome to the USA -- run by profiteering corporations. There's the true evil.

I'm sorry, but I estimate that it's going to take over 10yrs to get New Orleans re-populated and prosperous again. It will happen, but not with the help of the gov't nor ins co. It's a sin in my book.

I too applaud CNN for keeping it in the news.
Posted By Anonymous Kath Gatlinburg TN : 5:06 PM ET
Thank you for a relevant blog on Katrina. I appreciate the reminder that our work here is far from done. I appreciate that many raw emotions remain as well. Thank you again to all those who have been so more than kind and more than generous, -- and who continue to do more than what is necessary. Our expectations for community should be so high.
Likewise, Closure regarding death feels like a natural expectation. What does the dream of closure include? For many, closure includes honoring the bodies of the fallen, the deceased, and the slain. However, in many instances, physical avenues for closure do not exist. The path for closure remains open, though; please remember responding to the silence of a loved one does not mean that the emotional, saddened survivors go deaf to the departeds' echoed good deeds.
When has it become inappropriate to remember that passing on is a cheerful celebration of transition? Why must the only response included in Sean Callebs' post be one of saddness, -- combined with horror and shock? I do not criticize his writing style; I ask why can we not please be more functionally sorry for the losses of those connected to the dead residents of Louisiana? I will not say I know how anyone feels. I will not say I know the simple response to Katrina. I will say that emotional buttons leave us wondering how to appreciate the survivors of the dead, how to appreciate New Orleans currently.
As we walk down the remaining roads in New Orleans physically, we see splintered homes. As we walk down the remaining roads in New Orleans intellectually, we see splintered lives. But as we walk down the remaining roads in New Orleans -- emotionally speaking, -- we cannot see anything other than our own emotions. Thank you, Sean Callebs, for reminding us that we do not know how the survivors feel. Thank you for reminding us that we can be cheerful, -- even enthusiastic in approaching the opportunity of New Orleans' future. This opportunity calls to the communities: alternative closure; excellence in extending appreciation; acceptance of pain and disappointment.
At the end of the day, we must give ourselves permission to say that we do feel "terrific, never better," -- even if we do not. Otherwise, we are a continent of emotional cripples. Such a handicap cannot become a national identity. We will find closure in the lower Ninth Ward, but not always physically, not always in the remains of our loved ones. No, we will find closure intellectually, and more importantly, we will find closure emotionally. We hear this closure calling out to us as we search the debris, and it echoes as the good things New Orleans has done.
Posted By Anonymous C.P. White, Broomall, PA : 5:11 PM ET
I spent the first week of March,my Spring Break, volunteering with an organization in the areas surrounding the lower and upper 9th Ward. It really looks as if the hurricane just hit. During the week I was there we were all shocked at the discovery of two bodies. No, I don't think most Americans have a clue as to the real devastation that New Orleans has faced or what the rebuilding process is going to take. I think this whole notion of "Katrina fatigue" is absurd. The people there really need help,support, and love from the rest of America instead of being caste aside.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Staton. Hampton, VA : 6:13 PM ET
Why don't you close this story down for good. It's old and uniteresting "news".
Posted By Anonymous Marg P New Orleans, LA : 7:00 PM ET
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