Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Belated Gustav Thought

The national media has understandably moved on to Hurricane Ike's devastation, but overlooking Hurricane Gustav because there was minimal physical damage is wrong. Its economic impact on New Orleans has been brutal. Think of it this way - the entire city was forced to go on vacation at the same time whether people had money to go or not. That forced many people to spend money they didn't have, which meant they came back needy and in danger of missing bill, mortgage and loan payments. That also meant the city's businesses for the most part lost a week of business, and because people were financially strapped after the storm and evacuation, no one did good business after opening with the exception of places like Sam's Club and Wal-Mart. That sort of financial blackout at the end of the worst time of year for New Orleans - the summer - may not be devastating on the order of Katrina, but it has been much harder on the city than anyone who isn't living here realizes.


denese said...

Wow did this post strike a nerve. We here in Baton Rouge-- remember your neighbor to the west-- were very hard hit by Hurricane Gustav, much harder than we ever were with Katrina. And there was virtually no coverage of the aftermath by the national media, I think, just because New Orleans wasn't hard hit.

Personally, my family home was okay, but many people suffered terrific loss of property, and some life, in and around our neighborhood.

Maybe only our local paper, The Advocate covered our plight, and you all don't read it?

Our whole family was very involved in supporting New Orleans after Katrina, specifically, all of us worked at the PMAC on the LSU campus with the critically ill from your fine city.

Here's a link to my blog (which is mostly for family member) but which has post-Gustav pictures, if you're interested.



Alex Rawls said...

Good point. You've hit on another part of the Gustav story, which is how widespread the damage was. If people aren't ass-deep in water in New Orleans or perched on their roofs, the media doesn't seem to want to know, as if Katrina established a threshold of visual damage and despair that must be reached for it to merit coverage. Baton Rouge and the damage to coastal Louisiana has been completely missing from the story.

denese said...

Thank you, Alex! I watched the coverage of Ike and Houston and thought, "where were you for us?" I mean really, didn't we have it just as bad if not worse?

I frankly, also wondered if folks from New Orleans would come and take care of us in Baton Rouge like we did them. What do you think?

I am coming across as very angry... I'm sorry. The last few weeks has been so difficult and these experiences have renewed my ever present question (of now 14 years), "do we stay in Louisiana or go?"