Friday, January 5, 2007

The Denver Blizzard & Hurricane Katrina

This comment was left on the Small Dead Animals blog under the "As The Ice Caps Melt" posting. Basically someone was spouting off how the contrasts between how Denver deals with a natural disaster to New Orleans. The following is the comment. WEATHER BULLETIN Up here, in the "Mile-Hi City", we just recovered from a Historic event--- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands. FYI: George Bush did not come. FEMA did nothing. No one howled for the government. No one blamed the government. No one even uttered an expletive on TV. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit. Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else. Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either. CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit -- or report on this category 5 snowstorm. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards. No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House. No one looted. Nobody -- I mean Nobody demanded the government do something. Nobody expected the government to do anything, either. No Larry King, No Bill O'Rielly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera. No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found. Nope, we just melted the snow for water. Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny. Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families. Families took in the stranded people -- total strangers. We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns. We put on extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die". We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks. Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves. In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world's social problems evaporate.* It does seem that way, at least to me. I hope this gets passed on. Maybe SOME people will get the message. The world does Not owe you a living. *** * Dude's never been to Canada... (or western Europe - Tito) Kathy Shaidle adds: Nobody, presumably, blamed global warming, either. Post Mortem: I myself have been in a horrendous hurricane while growing up in Hawaii and my experience of it was vastly different from the what happened in New Orleans. Simply, I am disgusted at the way the people of New Orleans dealt with their circumstances as well as the media hype that followed. I'd like to see the people of New Orleans deal with the aftermath of my experience where most of the residents of Kauai didn't have a home with a roof, no running water, and electricity for weeks if not months. None of us complained, none of us ran up to tv news trucks at every opportunity (in fact, there were barely any coverage at all), and there were no rapes, shootings, deaths, or any other type of malcontent activities. We treated each other as Christians and went about reconstruction with barely a whisper being mentioned about Hurricane Iwa after it hit. That's my diatribe for the day. For the original comment click here. For Kathy Shaidle's posting click here. For Hurricane Iwa click here.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you been to New Orleans? Have you seen how little has been repaired in the past year and a half? Have you been to Biloxi? Gulfport? Katrina was not a few inches of snow. It didn't cause damage that was fixed in months. In many, many places, across hundreds of miles of coast, they've barely begun the recovery.

Tito said...

Kauai was not completely rebuilt until 2004. 23 years after the fact.

Did we complain, yes, but not to the extent where a B-level movie producer made a propaganda piece that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of.

No.

I am disgusted with how the people of New Orleans dealt with their circumstances. I pray for them to be able to move on.

God bless.

Tito

Kathy said...

And WHY haven't they begun the recovery, or brave Anonymous?

Because the money went into the hands of corrupt officials YET AGAIN, as it has for 100 years. And the locals re-elected the corrupt officials "cuz that how we do stuff down he'a." So they get what they deserve. Which is squat.

Colorado has received far more than "a few inches of snow". So did Quebec during the ice storm, during which, I hasten to add, nobody rioted or looted the downtown businesses owned by their fellow citizens.

Esther said...

The folks in CO are real "men" as my mom says. My DH's family is there. When we ask my f-i-l how they are fairing they respond that neighbors are helping each other out.

frank said...

I survived hurricanes Betsy and Camille, the only Category 5 to hit the U.S. The only help my family accepted from the government was an SBA loan which we payed back. My father, who ran a hardware store, refused to declare bankruptcy in spite of the fact that the insurance companies refused to pay off policies even though the whole town had been destroyed by wind damage. He payed of every creditor. He was never paid by those who owed him money.

Betsy, like Katrina, was a category 3 hurricane when it made land fall. The damage from both hurricanes was relatively minor and in both cases the reaction of the locals was that they were fortunate.

One difference with Katrina was the fact that the levees failed. This caused the overwhelming destruction and death in the city. This was an enginerring failure caused by an agency of the U.S. Federal Government, the Corps of Engineers, not a natural disaster.

Another difference is that the Lousiana National Guard and its aquatic rescue equipment were both in Iraq. The Guard has always been the first responders for hurricanes in Louisiana. The next day after hurricane Betsy, I saw the Louisiana National Guard patrolling the streets of downtown New Orleans from motor boats.

The Louisiana National Guard was indefinitely removed from the state by President Bush to fight in Iraq.
Much of the blood of those who died in the city is on his hands.

My family are Catholics from Eastern Europe and Republicans. I campaigned for Reagan before I could vote because I wanted to see my relatives liberated.

Now I see the Republican party ahs become everthing it condemned the President's removal of the Guard and its rescue equipment from the state during a hurricane season and the resultant deaths caused differs only in degree from Stalin's removal of food from the Ukraine to starve its residents to death.

Bush and his followers are not conservatives. They are radicals. This president adores death, and his followers have blood on their hands.

frank said...

Esther,

Folks in Colorado are real men?
Like Ted Haggard or Mike Rogers?

Tito said...

Frank,

You mean that after Hurricane Katrina hit and Mayor Nagin told the people of New Orleans to evacuate a full day and a half before the leevees broke it is Bush's fault?

Nice logic.

frank said...

Tito,

The Whitehouse's position, as explained by Condoleeza Rice, was that no one could have forseen that the levee's would have broken. Would you, a loyal Bushevik, listen to Ray Nagin or Condoleeza Rice?

I voted with my feet to leave the city 16 years ago.

My Ph. D. is in mathematics; I'll go head to head with you on logic any time.

Tito said...

So the mayor says leave, but the residants of New Orleans, aware that they have been told to leave by Mayor Nagin wants to wait what the White House has to say... weeks later.

It's apparent that you adhere to no logic at all.

Stop throwing around a straw man argument and play with the deck at hand.

frank said...

You either have to concede that a reasonable person would not have thought the collapse of the levee was likely or that the Whitehouse was lying and did so after depriving the state of its national guard thus rendering the affected area lawless at time of major emergency. After all, the Lousiana National Guard is the only local force trained to handle law enforcement and rescue in flooded condtions. Police cruisers aren't amphibious.

BTW, don't they teach composition at your alma mater, St. Mengele's?
Mixed metaphors are a no-no.

Tito said...

So warnings of the leevees breaking shouldn't be taken seriously, especially after a category 5 hurricane with the full knowledge that the leevees are only good for a category 3 hurricane.

People are not allowed to listen to the warnings, plus act upon them until the WHITEHOUSE tells them to "jump". Ergo, it's the WHITEHOUSE's fault.

Not a weather condition.

Not the people of New Orleans.

Yeah, I completely see where you are coming from. A painted corner position.

Another straw man argument poking phon at my langhwij skeells.

frank said...

Tito, you're argument is a straw man argument (i.e. it's a distortion of what I'm saying).

I've said that New Orleans was partially incapacitated in dealing with Katrina precisely because most of the Louisiana national guard was in Iraq along with their rescue boats. I've never said that Bush was exclusively responsible for the Katrina disaster, only that he is undeniably guilty of having made the situation in New Olreans worse because his inept military planning deprived the state of most of its militia (the Lousiana National Guard).

Finally, Katrina was a category 3 hurricane when it made landfall 70 miles from New Orleans shortly after Mayor Nagin made his all-too-obviously late evacuation announcement.

While it's been fun watching your display of finely hone rhetorical skills no doubt garnered from watching Fox News, I have better things to do. I take more than a little solace in the fact that New Orleans exported much of its criminal underclass to Houston as a result of Katrina. I hope you enjoy living with them as much as I did for 30 years.

Remember to thank your beloved president for them.

Tito said...

Frank,

You assume so much with so little brain power.

I don't watch television anymore.

And my argument stands as is.

Try poking holes in that, unless you think Karl Rove will send over CIA agents to make some.

I see how much you care for the dispossed and downtrodden people of New Orleans by your swarmy comments.

We'll take them and help them as good Christians.

God bless,

Tito

I lived in Louisiana when this happened. I was there through Rita. I've been to Baton Rouge (much affected by the Katrina exodus) several times since Katrina and, hence, I don't think this is a fair comparison of two lamentable natural disasters.

Many more people died due to Katrina, because the victims and those affected found themselves caught in the negligence of their authorities at the state and federal level. This is why it caught so much attention from the media, because they like anything that is controversial. It was probably a good idea as well, because many irregularities from FEMA were discovered due to their attention.

We complained when the media neglected Southwest LA and Southeast TX after Rita, but in all honesty, we got nowhere close to the structural and emotional damage that Katrina had in NO. What I think is more of an injustice is that Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Gulfport were very much neglected as well by the media. A priest that I know in Biloxi said that there was nothing left there and that the reconstruction work of the city and of the families was still arduous.

Tito said...

Kat,

If the authorities tell you to leave New Orleans because the leevees may break, then the onus falls on the individual. They had a full day and a half to evacuate after Hurricane Katrina hit and hardly anyone budged. To blame the authorities both on the state and national levels is incorrect.

When the hurricane warning sirens went off back in 1981 the entire island made the necessary provisions to get to safe areas and board up what could possible be boarded up. To say that it was the states or federal gov'ts fault for our damaged homes and businesses is beyond imagination and wrongheaded.

I do agree with you about the injustice of the lack of media coverage in the Biloxi and other areas outside New Orleans. Again it is the media choosing their coverage for maximum effect.

Angel said...

I've read with interest and, in some cases, disgust, both the original post and the comments that followed.

To preface: I live in New Orleans. Prior to Katrina, I was employed in the IT department of a major regional bank. My neighborhood in New Orleans (Lakeview) is considered upper middle class. I am not low income, I am not chronically unemployed, and I have not lived on government programs. I worked my way through college, earning an Engineering degree from a well-known private college. I own my home. I am the mother of two children. I've been a room mother, PTO president, and "team mom" for Little League. I've worked the school fair, volunteered with the neighborhood association, and been a Den Mother in the Cub Scouts. I am middle class America. I could be you.

The perception on this board is that most of New Orleans failed to heed the Mayor's order to evacuate. The truth is that over 80% of the citizens of New Orleans left the City as ordered. It was the largest mass evacuation of an American city EVER.

Another perception is that most of the people of New Orleans did NOT have flood insurance and are now expecting to be bailed out by the government. The TRUTH is that New Orleans has the second highest rate of homes insured under the NFIP (flood insurance) in the nation. However, flood insurance will only cover up to $250,000. Sound like a lot? Check the current median value of a middle class home. My home is considered small by middle class standards, and appraised two years before Katrina at $250,000. And just in case you thought the ONLY homes that flooded were those built below sea level - the lowest level of the first floor of my home is 1-1/2 feet ABOVE sea level. That did not prevent it from filling with over 4 feet of flood water that took TWO WEEKS to drain.

The writer of the original post states that Denver citizens "Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny. Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families. Families took in the stranded people -- total strangers." MOST of us in New Orleans were already gone. But of those left behind (1) one restaruant in the French Quarter - the only dry ground for weeks - stayed open 24/7 cooking for police, fire, EMT, National Guard, and survivors who walked miles from their flooded neighborhoods seeking safety. ALL AT NO CHARGE (2) Anyone with a boat joined the informal rescue team, launching their boats from bridges and Interstate overpasses, working from dawn to dark for over a week pulling people from the rooftops and attics of their flooded homes. (3) MANY people - including dear friends of mine - invited friends and strangers into their homes. And I'll bet that while they were pulling cars out of the snow in Denver, they didn't have to push aside dead bodies floating on the snow bank.

I feel for the residents of Denver. NO ONE should have to live through a disaster - either natural or man-made. However, I would like to come back to Denver one year after the blizzard and see if (1) there are STILL some areas of Denver that DO NOT have safe drinking water, (2) the telephone provider STILL has not restored service to over half of the city, (3) the wait time for blizzard-related repairs are: 4 months for a certified electrician, 2-3 months for a plumber, 4 months to acqure a building permit to build a new house, 9-12 months for a contractor who can BUILD the house once you have a permit. Those are the current wait times that my friends and neighbors are facing in trying to rebuild after Katrina. This is what happens when HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of homes are damaged simultaneously.

Were there lazy, ungrateful, resource-sucking, good for nothing low-lifes in New Orleans? Yes, there was that element; however, it exists in EVERY major American city. To write off an entire population of hard-working people who are trying their best to cope with the largest disaster in American history because of these individuals is ridiculous.

Do I blame President Bush? Governor Blanco? Mayor Nagin? Each can take some measure of blame for not following through on the disaster plan that was published ONE YEAR prior to Katrina. In an amazing simulation, called "Hurricane Pam", disaster response agencies from all three levels of government simulated the result of a hurricane almost identical to Katrina. However, the recommendations to all three levels of government on how to improve their disaster response was ignored. The result was that dozens of people died of dehydration on the streets of New Orleans, while THOUSANDS of pallets of water sat in a warehouse 5 miles outside of the City. It took 3 DAYS for the government agencies to finally sort out who would have permission to deliver the water.

That being said, I don't know if it is EVER possible to deal with a sudden disaster of this magnitude and have everything work properly.

The only agency I DO blame is the United States Army Corp of Engineers. For you see, the levees that flooded the majority of the City of New Orleans were NOT overtopped by Category 5 storm surge. They breached - literally collapsed - under the pressure of what has officially been measured as CATEGORY 2 storm surge. The levees were supposedly built to withstand CATEGORY 3 storm surge. The USACE has ADMITTED that they violated basic engineering principles in the construction of the levees. In other words, the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina SHOULD NOT have caused these levees to break. And if you don't think this type of failure could ever be your concern - at this very moment, there is a disaster declaration for the City of Sacremento, because the levees protecting that city are literally FALLING APART. Should they give way, the City of Sacremento would be plunged into flood conditions nearly identical to those that occurred in New Orleans. And just as with New Orleans, the levees around Sacremento were built by the USACE. Do you live near levees? Down river from a dam? If the levee or dam was built by the USACE I would be very concerned...

I usually don't like to reply to online postings, and my replies are NOT normally of this length. In this case, however, it was just not possible to respond to what had been written in just a few words. I pray that none of you will ever face anything near what we have gone through. I will always be grateful to those who showed me kindness in my time of need - the hotel manager in Houston who allowed me into the hotel's business center before hours so that I could update our neighborhood's website, through which we tracked down missing people; the lovely lady in Galveston who, upon learning that I was evacuated from New Orleans, bought lunch for me and my children; the mechanic who repaired my radiator and refused payment because I was a New Orleans evacuee. Each of them restored my faith and bolstered my courage to return and rebuild my life.

And I promise that, should disaster befall you, I will respond in kind. I just pray that postings like the ones I found on this board NEVER become the true American spirit.

May each of you be blessed with the experience! said...

Angel,
Thank you so much for the response, I was just sitting here attempting to put into acceptable words my thoughts about the email that has been circulated. I know that until a disaster of extreme measure affects them personally, no one will ever understand the devastation that has destroyed our City, Our Heritage, Our Culture, Our Landmarks, and last but not least our people, (OUR PEOPLE!) we are a culture rich in diversity and history we are defined by our strength. New Orleans will survive, we will rebuild, it may never be the same, but it will be New Orleans. The postings on this board and others like them, seem to discount the deaths of our people here. So many stories or memories will never be heard or seen again. Just the echo of lives that once lived here. But I digress, Thank you from one Louisianan to another. 'they', 'them', 'those people' will never understand until it affects them personally, you are much kinder than myself, for those who speak so disrespectful of our City and Citizens, I do wish for them to have to experience it... all of it, the hurricane, the flood, the panic, the death, the overflow of people into cities unprepared for so many, unable to get to work (even if you still have a job, or your building/company still exists)unable to reach loved ones, watching death as it floats by in water that is contaminated with sewage, oil, gas, chemicals, even the rescuers had to bear these burdens, complete city blocks are gone, there is absolutely nothing there. No home, no pictures, no clothes, just memories of what was.

Unlike you, I wish it to happen to these people who think we just sit down here with our hands out waiting for the next penny to fall into it. At least 1,836 people 1,464 were from Louisiana, lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The storm is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

But Like you I will respond in kind I will send out the email and blogs that are hurtful and hateful to a people trying to recover. Seems they believe everything they hear of see on the news...didn't their Mama's ever teach them, "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."?
May you have Peace and Prosperity, Angel.

Tito said...

MEOYBBWTE,

Ironically, I base my judgements on the actual survivors accounts of their escapades. I don't even watch tv.

Nice try.

The truth always gets out.

Denvers_own_sweetheart said...

Comparing New Orleans with our denver blizzard is a crock of frogs@$$ candy.. We denverites can handle the snow and don't find it nearly as tragic as everyone made it out to be..

We don't have our own mountain ski resorts because we are known for our sandy beaches and 500 degree weather..

denvers_own_sweetheart said...

Oh ya our streets still aren't plowed our parking lots have 15ft snow hills half our sidewalks are still buried, the cars have to share the streets with the pedestrians... You know what I say? BRING IT ON!!

Tito said...

Mark,

Foul language will not be tolerated on this blog.

Congratulations, you are the first poster to have his comment deleted (other than spam).

Maybe if the Louisiana educational system hadn't made you less smarter than you should be, you would've paid warning to your mayor to leave New Orleans prior to the levees breaking down.

Now you're education is kicking in by automatically blaming others other than yourself.

That and, ooohhhh, I dunno, living below sea level with two bodies of water surrounding you in the worst part of the country for hurricanes doesn't make you think twice enough to NOT live in New Orleans.

May God have mercy on your ignorance.

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