“Neighborhoods are still dark, garbage piles up on the street, and people are still being left to fend for themselves. The negligence of the safety and security of a once proud city is a nation's shame.” These were my first thoughts when I arrived in New Orleans last year. It was my first time ever visiting the city and unfortunately I had to see it in the condition it was in. It was six years after the devastation that I finally was able to experience the new culture NOLA had to offer. Fortunately, the proud citizens of New Orleans were standing firm and continued to hold their head up proud and started to rebuild their great city embracing the culture I had just witnessed. I was very grateful and honored to be part of their mission in helping others who did not have adequate housing, sufficient food, and a low morale.
I will be going again for the second time and I realized how important it was to observe how devastating the aftermath of Katrina was. Throughout the Fall Semester, there have been scheduled viewings of “When the Levees Broke” and I thought to myself: “Well I already saw the movie, why do I need to see it again?” As the day of our return to NOLA was quickly approaching, I decided to see the movie once more. “When the Levees Broke” is truly devastating in its portrait of a great American city's collapse. Interviews with survivors, archival footage, and news reports paint a damning portrait of failure at almost every possible level. Most damning is the picture of federal inaction. While people drowned in their attics, President Bush was on vacation. While people collapsed from heat prostration and dehydration Condoleeza Rice bought shoes at an upscale store. The minutes became hours, the hours became days, and the cavalry simply did not arrive. Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath is certainly something not to be ignored.
I do not want to get into the specifics of who was at fault for the events that occurred; however, I did want to mention how inspiring it was to be able to visit New Orleans and finally lend a helping hand to citizens who needed it the most. During my stay there I helped in reconstructing the side of a house whose owner was Mr. Booker. He was a 70 year old man who should have lived the life of retirement but now has to rebuild his house and life again. I hope that I can visit him once again and see how he is keeping up seven years after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. I also felt very close to the Bonners I went with during our stay. I bonded with some great people and I am grateful for that. I hope that I can do the same with a new group of people once more. It is definitely important for Bonners to comeback as a team and do what we do best: to make the world a better place one individual at a time.