Wow! This is as close as the US has been to experiencing a Hiroshima type destruction. The Bomb may actually have been more merciful since not as many people lived through it to experience the total displacement of their lives as is taking place for the refugees of Katrina. How could our disaster relief infrastructure ever be prepared enough for the loss of use of one of our major cities and a 150 miles of populated coastline. But we are "can-do" Americans, recovery starts immediately and when its all over in a few years it'll be better than before.
I write this with the experience of having my life disrupted by 2 major hurricanes last year. Vero Beach was subjected to the worst that Francis and Jean had to offer but it did not add up to the level of destruction of Katrina because the storm surge was very small in comparison. (A hidden blessing of geography.) However, there are still 2 of what used to be fine homes in my neighborhood that have not yet been restored to a condition that allows someone to live in them. The overall general appearance of the area has improved due to new roofs, new house paint, new street signs, and other elements of renewal caused by necessity and the excess in the $ poured into the area by insurance companies and the federal government.
Yes, I meant excess $$ and here's the explanation of how it comes about:
a. The Insurance pays enough for me to have a contractor reseal and paint my stucco house that the 125 mph winds had ravaged. I decide to do the work myself and use the residual $ to re-landscape around the house. (Landscaping is not covered by homeowners insurance.)
b. FEMA pays for the county to replace all the missing and damaged street signs. The street sign on my corner was bent over by an errant driver several years ago and only partially straightened by the county. This old eyesore is now standing perfectly vertical and sparkling in the sunshine with new format lettering to make it easy to read even at night. And, the intersection down the way now has a stop sign that it always needed.
The appearance and thus the value of this neighborhood has thus been enhanced as a result of a natural disaster. The emotional price the residents paid for this improvement varies depending on the attitude of the individual. Those of us who have a personal relationship with God are always in the group who think we have prospered and can now enjoy. There are also the constant complainers who it seems can never get anyone to cooperate with them and who remain miserable ever-after. It would really be nice if these types could find a new pair of glasses.
Here is something of a surprise. Our US National Federal Government has, albeit reluctantly, actually accepted help from the old arch enemy. Is this a ray of sanity shining out of the Proud?