Katrina Tragedy Already Forgotten

Before last week, whenever I heard about Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in the news, I turned away. For anyone with even a little sense of patriotism, the mention of that disaster brings bitter memories and horrific images to mind. Like many Americans, I wanted to put the disappointment of the aftermath behind me, so much so that any Katrina news would make me change the channel.
It has been a year and a half since that hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, most severely damaging New Orleans. We all remember seeing the pictures of a flooded city, unrecognizable and uninhabitable, in the weeks following the disaster. Our country came together and showed great sympathy and support for Katrina victims.
Not only were we unprepared for a storm that we knew was coming, we also made the victims wait days, even weeks, without aid of any kind. No food, no safe shelter. Looting took place in broad daylight because people became so desperate just to survive another day.
We have all heard stories of people stuck in their attics, waiting for help or at least word that it was on the way. In the weeks following the storm’s landfall, Katrina became a sore spot in our history. That’s why so many American people have stopped talking about it, though we all know that the region still has not completely recovered.
But a week ago, I came across a story I couldn’t turn away from. Yet another meeting of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee took place in Louisiana last week to investigate the government’s response after the hurricane. According to CNN.com, the highly criticized Federal Emergency Management Agency promised $334 million for infrastructure repairs in New Orleans, but only $145 million has been forwarded to the city from the Louisiana state government. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told the committee that he was disappointed because he doesn’t feel the government has the will to put in the work that is necessary to fix the city. He said that it ultimately comes down to class and racial issues.
I was utterly ashamed to be an American citizen when I read those words. Civil rights issues couldn’t possibly be the reason for slow relief efforts