Wednesday night was the first chance I had to sit down and understand the devastation that Katrina has wrought. On Monday I was relieved to know that R was safe and I thought I understood that New Orleans had escaped the worst. Then the levees broke and that understanding was clearly no longer applicable.
Seeing a major US metropolitan area under water is so overwhelming that I can't even react to it. Instead, it is the smaller pieces that bring tears to my eyes.
-Thousands of public schools across the country will be accepting children of Katrina refugees. (American refugees--something I never thought I'd have to say.) I have a number of good friends who are teachers and I know how they struggle with full classrooms and low resources already. Willingly stretching those resources to include children who have been uprooted by this storm seems heroic to me. (See here to donate school supplies.)
-Universities are taking undergraduate and graduate students from affected colleges and universities that are closed for repairs this fall or indefinitely. Even law schools are getting into the act. While it may be difficult for some of these students to resume their studies immediately, I believe it is important that they have that opportunity.
-RP shared his thoughts on the damage done to the Louisiana legal system. The thought of evidence and appeals destroyed, along with criminals left on the street and innocent imprisoned, only makes this more of a tragedy. Side note: a sorority sister pointed out to me that law students studying Louisiana's unique common law (based on Napoleonic tradition if I remember correctly) might not be qualified to study outside the state--and will there be jobs for them if they do manage to graduate? Additionally, it is possible that recent Louisiana law grads may have to retake the bar exam because their ungraded answers may have been lost.
-I am really frustrated that my fellow engineers tried to prevent this catastrophe, which their own government feared, and their efforts were thwarted by our government for financial reasons.
-But after reading this, and nearly crying over my AutoCAD drawings, I feel like concentrating on the important stuff--there are people helping and we can help. And I intend to.