Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Editorial: Houston helped New Orleans once. Time to return the favor


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With the effects of Hurricane Harvey on New Orleans being underwhelming and barely noticeable besides a few showers, it can be easy to forget the devastation those in Houston are facing right now and will face as a result of losing family members and their homes.

New Orleans should know the feeling.

When Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005, leaving thousands displaced, Houston was there to pick up much of the burden – housing and feeding them until their city recovered, and in some cases, becoming their permanent home.

And now that the city’s fortunes have been reversed, it is time for New Orleans to return the favor – 12 years later.

For Loyola, there now seems to be a split on campus between those who experienced post-Katrina PTSD and those who were not at all worried about the storm.

But this is the time we should remember our Jesuit values. Of course, at a time like this, our commitment to service is both necessary and obvious, but a less evident Jesuit ideal is special concern for the poor and oppressed. Those who already endure the mental and physical pains of poverty now have to deal with losing the little of what they had. Appreciation of things both great and small is also crucial. In times like this, great and small acts of kindness make all the difference and so does being open to them.

Things can also be learned from how this storm was handled. Houston, much like New Orleans in 2005, seemed terribly unprepared for the devastation the storm would bring, despite warnings well in advance by the National Weather Service.

Loyola acted quickly and responsibly by canceling classes and asking its students to stay put during the storm. For students, Tuesday was just a day off, but with New Orleans’ pumps being compromised, we could have just as easily experienced the same destruction if the storm made landfall further east.

Hurricane season is still in its height and all storms need to be taken seriously. As Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005, Rita narrowly missed Houston later in the season, prompting a massive evacuation of the city.

Let’s hope the analogies to the events of 12 years ago end here, but with the worst of hurricane season historically not coming until Sept. 10, we must continue to prepare for the in this active 2017 season.

For Houston, though, as the flood waters start to recede, the hard part really begins. In the eight counties in Texas affected by Harvey, only 17 percent of homeowners have flood insurance.

Where are these people to go and who is going to pay for the damages?

The answer for who pays is likely government money (at some much later date), and the answer for where they are to go is whoever decides to take them in.

So, time to step up, New Orleans. It’s time to open our homes to our friends and relatives to the west, just as they did for us in 2005.

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Editorial: Houston helped New Orleans once. Time to return the favor