Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Katrina Addresses New Orleans

By Raphaelle O’Neil

Hello, New Orleans! I am Katrina, the force of nature, the act of god, the blasphemous name to your ears.

I know you hate me. Oh, how you abhor my very name. Though some of you are awed by my sheer strength, by my appetite, by my beauty, this “awe” is accompanied by disgust. As you wait eternally in lines that don’t end- lines at the bank, at FEMA, at the store where you make your groceries- each excruciating minute of hell reminds you of what you so wish to forget. ME. Lil’ ole’ me. She who you would wipe from memory in a heartbeat if only you could, but you can’t, as you return to what used to be your homes, before flooding, before death, before the whole world lay witness to your shame, your poverty, your neglect, your total lack of preparedness.

Didn’t you know I was coming? You talked about me for years, you’ve joked about me, reenacted the consequences of my potential visit with your Computer Graphic Imaging, your technology you developed to see me coming, even. Hell- hell and high water, you saw me coming and still you choose to act the victim.

Yes. I know your hearts are heavy with mourning for lost souls and the lives your material possessions represent. And I am full of regret for your loss. But what would you have me do? I am what I am, a natural invention brought closer to your shores thanks to the warmer waters of a disrespected Mother Earth. Your Ole’ Man River has been running a bit of a fever lately, heating up the gulf just a wee bit more than usual, allowing me to inch closer to you than my ancestors have been able to in a while.

Please, do not think me heartless as I do what I am created to do. Despite my very nature, my will yielded to Dantor’s and Prompt Succor’s as Voodoo and Catholic priests alike implored their protectors to shield them from my fury. And they did. Do you not recall, me trekking off to the east a few degrees at the last minute, weakening my strength as best I could considering the sheer force of me?

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that my very name means to “cleanse” or to “purge”. Do not believe your so-called Christian brethren who claim I came to cleanse you of your sins. That is a lie. There is no greater sin than hypocrisy, and your love of life has always been open and honest, but your politics have not been. And that, if anything would have been the purging that should have been, but even I cannot take credit for it. No. Actually, the real meaning of my name comes from the Greeks, and it means “pure”, or “virginal”.

So, go ahead and loathe me then, but be aware of your own projections! The damages you incurred were of your own doing; the failures, yours. Had your integrity been upheld, then so would have your levees. And for that, I cannot, I shall not bear the cross. New Orleans, it is yours to carry into whatever future you so choose.

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