Five years ago today Hurricane Katrina ravaged through New Orleans and parts of Mississippi and Alabama. The hurricane was so devastating that some people today are still struggling to recapture all that was lost and move on.
There's been marked improvement over the past five years, particularly in New Orleans. Despite the improvement, a lot of work still remains before residents of New Orleans will no longer be cast as surviving victims of Hurricane Katrina.
According to some reports, as much as 30 to 40 percent of the areas affected by Katrina is still in need of repair. After five years of persevering and yet still needing help demonstrates how destructive Hurricane Katrina really was.
A blind man can see that New Orleans was a disaster area yet the government was slow to react. The initial days, the victims of the Katrina catastrophe were left without housing, food, health care, transportation and government assistance. They were simply trying to survive as best they could until help arrived.
Once the severity of the situation was revealed the general public was stunned why then President George W. Bush hadn't stepped in. Sadly Katrina victims found refuge by hanging from trees and sitting on rooftops as they tried to simply hang on for dear life.
Many of the people who lost their homes were provided shelter in the Louisiana Superdome. There wasn't any food, running water or supplies necessary to help the sick.
I can remember watching the events unfold on television five years ago. The first thought that entered my mind is why did it take so long to assist the residents?
Why was then President Bush flying over the ravaged areas in Air Force One with a puzzled look on his face?
Looking back many now comprehend why Bush had a bewildered look on his face: Reflecting on his two terms as President of the United States he often looked bewildered due to his lack of intelligence and ability to lead in pressure situations.
Hurricane Katrina also revealed something very disturbing yet not surprising. Katrina revealed race still matters along with political agendas. Sadly it would take another tragedy in another part of the country to demonstrate just how much.
Remember in 2007 fires raced through Southern California. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed by the fires that roared out of control. President Bush took swift action in getting the necessary aid to the state of California and Republican Governor Arnold Schwartenegger.
In 2005 Kathleen Blanco was the Governor of Louisiana. Just so happen she was a Democrat. As we all know Bush took his sweet time in getting the necessary aid to Hurricane Katrina victims. It's rather interesting why Bush took longer to respond to the Hurricane Katrina victims as opposed to the victims in Southern California.
According to census data from 2005 66 percent of the state of Louisiana is comprised of people of color. Meanwhile the state of California is 66 percent white. Considering the latter it can be logically asserted Bush's actions regarding the California catastrophe when compared to the victims of Hurricane Katrina was at least partially racially and politically motivated.
In September Bush acknowledged he handled Hurricane Katrina poorly. Bush stated: "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush told reporters. "And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."
Despite the marked improvement Hurricane Katrina is still on the minds of residents. As usual the role of American sports played a vital role in giving the people of New Orleans hope much like it did after 9/11.
The Superdome is the home of the New Orleans Saints. It housed many of the residents who had no place to go. It's also a place where the some of the dead victims of Katrina were stored. Without question its sacred ground.
Remarkably the Superdome was rebuilt in time for the next season. The following season the Saints played a game for the ages on opening day in 2006 as they blasted the Denver Broncos into submission.
It took over $300 million dollars to reconstruct the Superdome. The Saints sparked the city. The team gave the city hope that one day things will indeed be better.
Five after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina the New Orleans Saints brought home the Super Bowl trophy. It was a reminder of what the team endured the last five years. The Saints becoming Super Bowl champs was a symbolic gesture of the persistence necessary to triumph over obstacles.
In many ways the victims of Hurricane Katrina represent the American Dream in terms of persevering in the face of tragedy.
Hopefully in another five years those affected by Hurricane Katrina will no longer be victims of a tragedy, they will be simply residents of New Orleans.