Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Forget the Forgotten

6 years is a long time to wait for your house to be rebuilt. It is a long time to be disconnected from your community. It is longer than I’ve known Samantha, and it seems like we’ve known each other forever. However, that is how long some people have been waiting to move back into their homes in New Orleans.

Since Hurricane Katrina the world has seen a number of disasters. The immediate relief efforts are fierce. We drop what we are doing to help out those in need. But then a few weeks, months, and years pass and we forget. We forget the pictures we saw. We forget the stories we heard. We forget the faces of the people and their suffering. In the wake of the Tsunami and Nuclear crisis in Japan I can’t help but wonder about their future and what Japan will be like 6 years from now. I also can't help but wonder how and why our country seems to have forgotten its own people still in need.

New Orleans is a city like none other and the people there are unlike anyone you will ever meet. There is a soul to New Orleans that touches you in ways you cannot understand unless you’ve spent significant time there. The music, the food, the people all move to a rhythm so different from what most of us experience. Once you get a taste of the Crescent City it moves you and stays with you forever. 

Sadly, these wonderful characteristics of this great city are not all that have stuck with me. I, and so many others who are involved in the rebuilding effort, are left with the same shared gut wrenching scene that is all too familiar in New Orleans: the staircase to nowhere- the concrete slab that represents where a house used to stand. 

While you rush off to help those who are in immediate need, please don’t forget about the people that are often forgotten. Join up with groups like St. Bernard Project,, or one of the many other volunteer groups in the city. Because 6 years later, they still need your help, your support, and most importantly, your awareness of just how much is still left to be done in New Orleans.


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