Devastation Down South

Football season is finally here, but this is not a football entry. Although I generally spend more time and energy than I like to admit focused on football, it’s honestly pretty hard for me to get excited right now. You see, I grew up in the swath of devastation cut by Hurricane Katrina. Though I now live safely up in Boston, my heart has always been and will always be in the South.

Finding out that the places you knew when you were growing up don’t exist anymore is difficult. However, as far as I can tell from limited information, I’ve been very fortunate in that my friends and family all appear to have made it through the storm safely, and that is the most important thing. Unfortunately, many of their homes did not fare so well, and the loss and devastation experienced by a multitude of others in these areas is hard to even comprehend.

Not only did people lose their homes, but a huge number of people will be without work for the foreseeable future. The economies of some of the hardest hit areas, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, are service economies based in large part on tourism. So, even after the homes are rebuilt, it could be years before the infrastructure is in place to achieve full employment again in these cities.

Luckily, the thing that makes both places so special is the people – the sincere, welcoming people of the Mississippi Coast and the diverse blend of cultures in New Orleans – and that’s something that no hurricane will ever destroy.

If you have the means and are so inclined, please consider giving to one of the many charities focused on helping the people of these areas recover. They have a long, difficult road ahead. Many reputable charities are out there – the Red Cross is likely the most high profile organization assisting with the rebuilding, and the local newspaper on the Coast offers a list of other charities with instructions on how to donate.

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