When I started watching Treme, it was before our flood here in Middle Tennessee. Since then I've been thinking a lot about the contrast between the two events. I don't know about the rest of the Gulf because New Orleans got most of the attention just as Nashville did during ours. Bigger cities each with a heritage of music and tourism. During and after the flood here, the state and local governments rushed to organize and handle the crisis. President Obama was on the phone with TN governor Phil Bredesen while it was still raining. FEMA was dispatched here at once, and a knitting friend said they were at her house and that she had a check in the bank within a week, I think.
Flood relief centers were everywhere. Neighbors and strangers pitched in and helped each other. All around the worst damaged areas, people had their houses emptied of destroyed furniture and possessions, sheet rock torn down, carpets taken up, and all out on the curb for removal. Huge trucks took it away. Water was donated, homes made available, and help everywhere. Tennessee's nickname is the Volunteer State, which came from all the volunteers sent to fight in the Mexican War. Texas should be grateful. Tennesseans died for them and helped get their republic and state started. That's why the UT team is called the Tennessee Vols - for Volunteers. But I digress.
We had organization from the government from federal, state, local as well as many organizations and people who are still getting things back in order. Part of it is that we didn't have "Heck of a Job Brownie" bumbing things, but there's more to it, I think. What is it? We didn't have all the looting, but law enforcement officers guarded neighborhoods and the residents paid attention, too. People were displaced here, too, and still are. Some lost their homes and won't get them back or be able to rebuild. Others will. Maybe this kind of help happened in New Orleans, and we just didn't hear about it. It seems that places here are cleaned up and usable in a much shorter time because they were still having a victim attitude when we were there five years after Katrina.
Why didn't New Orleans do this? Is it a Grasshopper vs Ant kind of thing? Does it have to do with learned helplessness? What's the difference between the two disasters and recovery? I don't know but am trying to figure it out.
Now another man-made catastrophe is bringing the Gulf to its knees because of BP. How much can they take? As Rachel Maddow said, we're getting our seafood from the same place we're drilling for oil. Now the shrimp and oysters are gone. So is the livelihood of many family businesses. It's infuriating and heartbreaking.
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