We Live in Paradise

This is an email I recieved from my father in the wake of Hurricane Katrina:

We live in Paradise. I have lived in a little trailer park just south and east (toward the Gulf) from the Hiway 90 bridge that they showed from Biloxi to Ocean Springs (the one with all but the raised portion missing) and even at or below poverty level it was a great place to be young! It was only about the height of a Gator belly above mean high tide so if it is still there it would have been covered with about 20 feet of water or more. Luckily I now live just at the very highest possible Category 5 high water mark so flooding/tidal surge is of little concern.

Most (not all) of the folks that were caught had no way of leaving and there was NOT enough time to bring in ships, busses, trains, or even cattle trucks to get many of them out. I have heard complaints that the Navy should have had ships there, including the Hospital Ship, waiting to help. Whoever posted that has never been in the position that I have of riding out a typhoon/hurricane at sea. Even on an eight hundred foot, 105 foot beam, 42 foot draft a category two storm is dangerous, a category 4 or 5 is deadly not to mention how the flat bottom amphibious and high superstructure hospital ships would ride.

People live where they have roots, find work, enjoy playing, or where they are just trapped by economic situation. It is the people of New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast that keep a large percentage of the country in oil. They work the Rigs out in the Gulf and the refineries along the coast. Most of the rice eaten in the U.S. comes out of that area as well as many other products. Every body wants to believe the worst won’t happen and many say they “put themselves in the hand of god”. Sometimes their faith is all they have and this time for many it was not enough.

The one oil rig that washed up on the coast would have easily supplied enough oil to make gas for everyone of my riding companions for the rest of the time we own our Pacific Coasts. We will face fuel shortages possibly worse than other parts of the country because our gas supplies come in the Inter-coastal Waterway by barge and much of it is impassable now. In many ways we are partially isolated even by road with much of I-10 traffic cut or drastically reduced by this storm and previous storms.

Just so much can be done to maintain a city in such a location but the Army Corps of Engineers have spent billions of tax money attempting to maintain the vital lifeline that is The River. If it was possible to pump oil, refine gas, grow rice, and throw a month long party, and live “The Big Easy” in Ames, Iowa or Lincoln, Nebraska maybe things would be different but that is not human nature nor they way that nature laid out things.

Shunkmanitu
Ikce Wicasa (Lakota)

JUST SOME NOTES: About the ships, my father had 20+ years experience in the US Navy, so, I repect his knowledge there. Lastly, National Geographic reported that during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, there were waves of at least 90 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. They say “at least” because the insterments measuring the waves were of course broken by the time the eye got near.

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~ by Steve L. on September 9, 2005.

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