Today I would like to offer something a little more personal than my usual blog posts. After the “Hurricane Isaac Experience” I would really like to share my personal perspective.
Last week we had a spot of unpleasant weather down here on the Gulf Coast that took out almost 700,000 people’s power across Louisiana. Most of them, like myself, for five or six days. Some still remain in the dark as I write this.
Hurricane Isaac not only knocked out the lights, but also sat over the area more than three times as long as the average hurricane. That means a lot of water, and a lot of people in outlying areas seeing it in their homes. The truly eerie aspect of it for those of us down here was that the storm arrived on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
How does this tie in with our usual topics? Easily. As the land washed away under the feet of Plaquemines and St. John the Baptist Parish residents the specter of homelessness and financial ruin became very real for much of our rural population. Thousands of residents from St. John the Baptist Parish alone became refugees, the status of their home and employment lost to view.
Make no mistake about it, homelessness looms. It is still to early to have any accurate data as the hard hit rural regions are only starting to be assessed, but the sheer volume of water has ensured that many lost everything. Just to the Southeast of New Orleans the town of Braithewaite is only now emerging from the muck.
So many of us teeter on the edge. As the recession drags on more and more families find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. The advent of a natural disaster – be it hurricane, earthquake, wildfire or something else – can suddenly leave a person both homeless and jobless.
According to the Katrina Pain Index , by Loyola professors Bill Quigley and Davida Finger, “Seventy percent more people are homeless in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina .”
In the wake of Isaac I fear we will see a similar spike in those numbers.