Tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina: a reflection on recovery

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 Ally Daskalapoulos, Staff Writer

This past week marked the 10th anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina disaster and all the hurt and destruction that came with it.

While many Gulf Coast residents continue to mourn the loss of loved ones and the destruction of their homes and properties, I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation. Not for the hurricane itself or the chaos and havoc that accompanied it, but for the strong, brave and humble people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area.

Everything happens for a reason, and while many detest the argument of Hurricane Katrina being a mere result of an uncontrollable natural disaster, the fact of the matter is that it simply was a horrific act of nature.

The failure of the levee systems and the extensive labor involved in recovering from such an unfortunate event is frustrating and infuriating. Folks may be inclined to point fingers and linger on the ineffective efforts of government and the unavailability of aid at that time.

That was the New Orleans of 2005. The government can be blamed only to a certain degree before the realization sets in that nobody, not even the government can control Mother Nature.

Let’s examine the New Orleans of 2015.

There is no sign of the destruction on the highway leading in, or the parts of town where tourists are directed. The people were upbeat and friendly, with the unmistakable sounds of jazz and other music around every street corner.

But the fact that we are still talking about Hurricane Katrina – the lessons learned and the improvements ahead – is a positive. It hasn’t left our minds or the evening news 10 years later.

In a recent BBC article, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu commented in regards to all the unidentified victims of the disaster.

He is quoted as saying, “Though they are unnamed, they are not unclaimed because we claim them.”

This powerful statement should impact not only those who have lost someone in Katrina, but everyone who can recall week in August 10 years ago. This empowered community was able to recover from disaster and support one another in whatever came their way. That is what’s important.

Hurricane Katrina has become a dark page in our history books, spiking alerts and warnings in the environmental world and ultimately uniting the residents of the affected areas. Its frightening impact will never be forgotten, but neither will its grace for strengthening people and communities who might never have been brought together otherwise.