Friday, October 5, 2007
It is now more than two years after Katrina and the recovery is slow. Besides the great tragedy of the loss of human life in Louisiana (at least 1,200 killed and 110,000 homes destroyed), the destruction was such that New Orleans had 145,000 cars ruined, at least 40,000 homes had to be completely demolished adding to the tons of debris to be hauled somewhere! The debris along the coast produced 22 million tons of debris (New York had only 2 million after the total destruction at ground zero). Some four million tons of the debris ended up in the waterways. Much is still around; hazardous waste waits to be cleared and stored.
These facts come from an article by Ray Waddle, "After Katrina: Searching the Ruins for Resurrection." It was published in the Yale Divinity School's Reflections, Spring 2007. Many college students have gone to help rebuild. New Orleans had 485,000 people; now there are only about 200,000. The Society of the Sacred Heart has had a school for girls, known as the Rosary, in New Orleans for more than a century; it opened again only three months after Katrina. Many schools have been too badly damaged so students are not finding it easy to go to school.
I am proud to say that four Religious of the Sacred Heart have also established a new community in New Orleans to have a place for the volunteers that come to help restore the homes in the neighborhoods that are still full of destruction.
Let us pray for all the places that have suffered from natural disasters in these past years!