Friday, August 29, 2008

Katrina In Memorium

Power knocked out for 3,000,000 people. 400,000 rendered nearly homeless. 236 people dead. 63 missing. 35 million cubic yards of debris. $125 billion in damages. And that was just my home state of Mississippi.

But here we are, three years later.

How far have we come? Personally, my friends and family have all fully recovered. Our homes are rebuilt. Our damages have been repaired. Our wounds have healed. Most of them, at least. The ones on the outside.

But as a community, we are still broken. We continue to mend. Only 45, 000 out of 70,000 homes have been replaced. Admittedly, some cities (Gautier, Woolmarket, and Ocean Springs) have thrived. But others (Waveland, Pass Christian, and Long Beach) are vast rotting corpses. And worst of all, our main tourist attractions and the overwhelming majority of beach-side businesses remain missing or still lay in virtual rubble. See the pictures for routine views from my daily commute for examples.

I won't pretend to know the solution. I don't have any clever answers. I just know it is an embarrassment and disgrace to the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast to have a ruin of a highway along beaches littered with the continued corpses of our once thriving businesses. Tourism is our life blood. The cities and state should spare no expense and do whatever humanly possible to restore America's Third Coast to its former grandeur.

I am very proud of the progress we've made as individuals. But I'm ashamed to see how little progress we've made to restore our infrastructure and valuable business community. Hopefully, this fourth year will prove to be the turning point for our recovery.
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