Some dates settle in our nation's collective consciousness and can never be forgotten. August 29, 2005 is one of them. But the devastation of Katrina extends beyond the physical, and its aftermath can be felt by New Orleans residents old and new.
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As the adage goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention." In 2005, on the heels of one of the costliest and deadliest disasters in American history, necessity created opportunity in New Orleans and ushered in a new wave of purpose-driven entrepreneurs who took a fresh approach to the city's challenges: social innovation.
Although the events of 10 years ago were certainly momentous enough in and of themselves to warrant commemoration, Katrina is also a harbinger of our future. We know that climate disruption threatens to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, from droughts to heat waves to hurricanes.
The failure to coordinate services, to plan for the needs of the population, to keep families and neighborhoods together, and to find ways to enable all those who desired to return to New Orleans to do so constitute a third disaster, one like the failure of the levees of human origin.
Most agree that the work to reinvent New Orleans remains unfinished. That's true, especially because post-Katrina New Orleans is trending back toward its old self -- a sluggish regional economy with high inequality and not enough opportunities for its residents. That was certainly not the vision.
The truth is, for black people with roots in this city, the recovery isn't complete. And many of us are asking ourselves: What is the place for black people in post-Katrina New Orleans?
When Barack Obama took office, word went out to every federal agency about New Orleans: get creative and do whatever might be necessary to help the city recover. Unlike his predecessor, the president recognized that a new kind of federalism was required to help New Orleans come back.
Ten years ago, all we could do was blindly believe in our best selves. Ten years into a recovery that will likely take several generations, it's clear New Orleans didn't wash away after all.
The failure of the strongest government in the world was of historic proportions. But faith and interfaith communities made history. They were the first responders, if not the only help, for most people over the course of several weeks. After 10 years, their work with survivors continues.
What you probably won't hear about very much in the coverage looking back at Katrina is the enormous impact this disaster had on people with disabilities. They, too, were disproportionately affected, but just not because of Mother Nature.
Your Meat-Eating Habit Is Killing More Than Just Cows -- says a new report, which cites the land degradation, pollution and deforestation caused by rising global demand for meat as "likely the leading cause of modern species extinctions."
My fellow animal rescuers and I had been deeply affected and forever changed by our time in New Orleans. Each of us has the responsibility and the power to create a society that values all life, and we can start by doing the least harm in the ways we choose to live our daily lives.
Over a million people have a Katrina story to tell and we're dedicating this week to exploring those stories. And while many narratives include sorrow, we will not fetishize suffering. Instead, we'll provide context, tell the truth and celebrate the resiliency of New Orleans and her people.
But despite the storm's destruction, and the ongoing problems with disaster recovery in America -- New Orleans' story is hardly all doom and gloom. In the years since Katrina, New Orleans has given many the opportunity to become our very best selves.