>Alot Can Happen in Four Years… Reflections on a Hurricane

>Sometimes four years seems like a lifetime. Four years ago this week, El 3atal, the Beans, and I huddled in an interior area waiting to hear what was happening with Hurricane Katrina. Would it hit New Orleans? Wouldn’t it? When it passed East of us, we all breathed a sigh of relief. The refugees would be able to return home. Once again disaster was narrowly averted. And then the other shoe dropped. The hurricane may have missed New Orleans, but the storm surge overtopped the levees, wiped out lake view homes, and flood wide swathes of land. In the coming days, the tragedy would become much worse…

In the four years since then, the Bean family sold a house, moved to Jordan, started school (all 3 Beans and MommaBean), started a company, whew. It’s been a busy and exhausting four years. Time has moved on. No longer do I rush home in fear at the sound of airplanes and helicopters thinking something big must be going on… No more do I think about how well New Orleans is doing at rebuilding. And yet, for many of those who evacuated, life just can’t go on. The debacle that was the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina saddens me even to this day. The incompetence of the FEMA response is a federal embarrassment. When we left Louisiana bound for Alabama and eventually Jordan, we passed a field FULL of FEMA trailers. In Mississippi. Empty and rotting out in the elements. Now, keep in mind this is SEVEN MONTHS after the disaster struck. I read an article today about these little “cottages” that were intended as substitutes for the trailers. They are on track (finally) to be delivered later this year. Wait, did you get that? Emergency housing post-storm will be delivered FOUR YEARS too late. How anyone can get on with their lives, I don’t really know…

For the Bean family, I doubt El 3atal and I will ever forget the experience but the Beans already have. The beauty of the Palestinian culture has never been more apparent to me than when a lovely couple that Teta and JiddoBean met at the vegetable market and we saw once or twice a year invited us to bring the Beans and stay in one of their bedrooms (kicking out one of their kids) when they heard we didn’t have power. We were grateful and agreed, staying for 3 nights in one of their rooms, with another family in each of their other three bedrooms.

So, four years on, add the folks still unable to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to your prayers. El 3atal was astonished that the American news didn’t give it a mention, but he heard about the anniversary on Al Jazeera… Ironic that those unaffected directly still remember while those in the middle of it seem to want to forget. I, for one, won’t forget New Orleans. Big Easy, you’re in my prayers…

Happy Jazz!

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6 thoughts on “>Alot Can Happen in Four Years… Reflections on a Hurricane

  1. >I think the last paragraph tries to paint a slightly more innocent picture than the actual intentions of either. On the other hand NO might be getting brad pitt as a governor and he has done some great work for the city, and its an absolute shame that people still don't fully grasp what a disgrace was the response to katrina. Glad to have you in jordan tho

  2. >Bambam, welcome. I can't claim to know the actual intentions of either the American media or Al-Jazeera only guesses from my end. As to their innocence or otherwise… well, I leave that to you to jugde ;). Thanks for dropping in.

  3. >!! so u left the states due to that disaster ?didn't know that !!I have no business commenting on FEMA and how the Federal gov. handled the situation , lets say I'm honestly glad you're comfortable amongst us (as debatable as that could be 😛 ) , one sure feels with the victims ,i don't know is it bcuz I'm of Palestinian origins or what,but when i read such thing my mind goes to the Palestinians around the worlds ,out of their house waiting to come back for 60 years now .

  4. >NasEr, hi again and welcome back! To be clear, we didn't leave because of the situation. Living 60 miles away has big benefits in that we didn't flood so we got a contract on our house within a week of putting it on the market. At close to full price. In the middle of the housing drop.And, sadly, I know many Palestinian families were affected, so waiting and then losing everything (twice perhaps)… My heart goes out to each one…

  5. >Hello thereI had no idea that you were in New Orleans during Katrina. And I'm not a frequent visitor to your blog. I had just married and was doing my summer semister at UNO when Katrina happened. I guess I fell in love with New Orleans somehow, so we didn't go back to Jordan after Katrina, we stayed,worked hard, We had three boys, an angel in heaven and two here with us. But what I wanna say is that the daffodils are back, that's how my friend donna describes New Orleans coming to life again. Lots of lessons learned, not a single regret. Happy Eid to you and your family.

  6. >Thanks Dawn and Happy Eid to you. Welcome to the blog, I hope you have enjoyed it and am very happy to hear signs of life are blooming again. Hope all is well with you and your family and remains so.

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