Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina comes to Texas

A woman whose family evacuated from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (just west of New Orleans) is visiting our site today. Her company is a customer, so it’s not just a personal side trip.

She and her husband, currently staying in Conroe, TX (just north of Houston), do not know whether their house is still standing, and have not heard from anybody who's been back to the area. While we were talking to her, a loud mobile rang several times before she realized it was hers, because she had to get a new one.

Her brother-in-law got shot, she said, while riding in a boat giving out water to New Orleans flood victims. The idiots shooting people sure make it hard to focus on the folks who are helping, and that kind of behavior seems to be all the media wants to report. I hope someone nearby was armed and shot the idiot on site.

I heard a report on our local NPR station this morning that interviewed a volunteer at Dallas’ Reunion Arena, the site of at least a couple thousand Katrina refugees. She said when she arrived this morning to help, there was nobody there organizing or in charge of anything. She just rounded up a group of volunteers, set up a couple of tables, and started addressing people’s needs. For one thing, they are trying to find job opportunities for those who need work.

This search for employment, and possible permanent relocation of these evacuees, will impact the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio areas. Each city has said it can take 25,000 people. How many of those do we think will never return to New Orleans? On a criminal note, how many of those are members of New Orleans gangs who will end up not getting jobs and settling down to become contributing Texans, but instead add to the crime rate those cities already battle?

Houston already has about 11,000 refugees in the Astrodome, which officials say is more than they can handle, even though they originally said they could take 24,000. I guess 24,000 sports fans just there to watch a game is a lot different from the same number there trying to make sense of their desperation, get food, water, and jobs.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans mayor has lambasted the federal government for not responding quickly enough, and I can’t say I blame him. That’s one of the things our government’s for. Some say narrow-minded things like, "Well, those people had warning and should have got out before the storm." Yeah, and the people saying that have no idea what it’s like to not own a vehicle, or to not have family who can take you in since you can’t afford a motel. I get aggravated when I hear things like that because the folks who have no tolerance for people who can’t afford a car or the gas to run it tend to believe that we need people who will take low-paying jobs, because not everybody’s cut out for college. You can’t have it both ways, chum. That was a terribly structured sentence, but I'm leaving it.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I'm with you Mark....

Here's hoping all settles out well in the end.