Editorial: Celebrate Katrina’s anniversary cautiously
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:08
Yesterday marked the eighth anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall and claimed the lives and property of thousands statewide in La., and Miss., eastern Texas, western Ala., and western and southern Fla. The idea of tragedy bringing people together is not new — the U.S. has united over national and international tragedies, like the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and international events like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. However, the New Orleans community has unified in a way that many communities that have experienced disaster do not.
Even before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, New Orleans had an identity that distinguished it from other cities in the world. After Hurricane Katrina, however, the amount of pride the residents of New Orleans have in their city has only seemed to increase. For example, the Times-Picayune has reported that the noise level during a New Orleans Saints game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has reached 95 decibels — noise levels of 85 decibels have been known to cause hearing loss over an extended period of time.
Shirts expressing pride in New Orleans with slogans like “NOLA Defender” have become immensely popular, to the point that companies that primarily sell shirts with New Orleans-related slogans have sustained good business for years — business that continues to boom even now, eight years after Hurricane Katrina. On its website, the New Orleans apparel company Dirty Coast, which began business in 2004, reports that business did not truly start to boom until a few months after the hurricane, when sales for the “Be a New Orleanian, Wherever You Are” bumper sticker skyrocketed. The company continues to be popular.
Of course, the strength and depth of the New Orleans community truly manifests through its people. The multitude of people still around that can tell stories about the loss they have experienced is a testament to the power of a community. While tropical storms and hurricanes will continue to batter the coast, the inevitable powerlessness of people against the physical power of nature continues to lose against emotional resilience of those of us who call this city our home.
As Aug. 29 passes, we can look at the city we live in as not only a home but also a source of inspiration. We think that the New Orleans community is a strong example of what can happen when people unite together under a spirit of togetherness and pride in the city they call home.
It is important, however, to remember to be cautious. The Gulf Coast will continue to experience tropical storms and hurricanes, and we must prepare accordingly. We should absolutely celebrate how far New Orleans has come, but we must remember that getting through Katrina does not provide insurance against another storm. We must continue to take the threat of hurricanes seriously and take appropriate steps to secure our safety and the safety of our loved ones.