Blog Post

When the Levees Broke: Images for Change

I have a real hatred and respect for Hurricanes. I remember watching non-stop CNN coverage before the storm hit and the moments after. My grandparents live in the Gulf and when it is hurricane season you can really feel the 1000 miles of U.S. soil that separates us. After watching some of ?When the Levees Broke? I was immediately taken back to my addiction to the news coverage. I remember watching all of the footage from New Orleans families, Mississippi families, and Alabama families where my grandparents live in search for loved ones.
Communication was the most precious commodity during and after the storm and one of the most aspects lacking after Katrina. I remember calling my grandparents in a panic because like thousands of people across the country there was no chance of contacting residents in the gulf. Like the documentary reiterated it was the most overwhelming sense of helplessness.
When you have no control over the situation the media becomes extremely suggestive over the aspects going wrong in the Gulf. The scenes that especially struck emotionally, in the documentary, was those with emphasis on the heat. When you are below sea level like most Gulf Coastal cities the heat is a burglar trying to steal any of your extra breaths. Knowing that these older and special needs people were out in the heat, suffocating and dying was absolutely heartbreaking. Knowing my great-grandmother and grandmothers medical conditions I was mortified that they were without power and in the heat. It saddens me to imagine those suffering near the convention center and super dome in New Orleans.
An interesting story, the night before Katrina was supposed to hit my granddaddy went to the local Walgreens to pick medication for he, having had a stroke and low-blood pressure, for my Grammy with high-blood pressure and my eighty-six year old maw maw. He got there before closing time and the pharmacist seeing him coming closed and locked the doors to get home. As someone wrote in a previous blog about inhumanity, it started before Katrina and was seen at its ugliest towards the people of New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama.
On a more positive note it was incredibly inspirational to Sean Penn pulling people out of the aftermath. Usually celebrities are known for their generous contributions but here is someone thinking of what he could do with his hands, his mind, and his body, not his money. From the destruction and images we have seen from hurricane Katrina everyone should learn a lesson of compassion and need. From this we should have appreciation for our lives and learn that sitting watching CNN isn?t enough for fellow humans in our own country and fellow humans worldwide.


1 comment

Amanda, I want you to know that your story about your grandfather going to Walgreens has stirred me to tears and I wish there was something each of us could have done to prevent such thoughtlessness. I understand that everyone was under a "survival instinct" at the time, but it is simply tragic that he had to feel, firsthand, the "you're not my priority" emotion. Also, I agree with you that seeing Sean Penn helping amid the chaos struck me as powerful and heroic because celebrities usually just give money, which is superfluous to them. True heroes give their time and energy.