Opinion

Big Easy faces tough times

Crescent City. The City that Care Forgot. Sweet Lady Gumbo. Whatever you choose to call it, New Orleans is a unique city. More than 200 years of French, Spanish and Caribbean influence have molded and shaped the city that has given us succulent red beans and rice, jazz, Cafe du Monde and Bourbon Street (not to mention all the festivities associated with it). There is no city quite like it in America.

Which is why the barrage of images of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath is so gut-wrenching. At the time I write this, 80 percent of the city has been flooded and the Superdome stands scarred from the powerful winds that ripped off sections of the roof.

When the levees that have historically shielded New Orleans from being flooded failed, I felt a deep, heavy sense of grief-as a native New Orleanean, I understood the importance of the system of pumps, levees and canals that help keep the city, which lies below sea level, dry. Now I see the damage and devastation, and mourn my fellow New Orleaneans who lost their lives, as well as the centuries of history that could be forever lost as the water continues to rise.

As jazz bars get soaked away, looters plunder the downtown area, and people lay stranded on rooftops with no power, food or drinkable water, one ponders the lessons to be learned from Katrina-hurricanes are incredibly unpredictable and should not be underestimated.

We found that out when Katrina, then barely a Category 1 storm, hit us here in South Florida. Also, New Orleans’ system of pumps and levees, which as we’ve seen are vital to the city’s existence, was in dire need of being upgraded-now, more than ever, and definitely too late, do we realize this.

The Great City of New Orleans will no doubt rise from the waters and continue to serve a useful purpose as a major seaport and tourist destination. But more than likely, it will emerge as a vastly different city-if not physically, then psychologically. The city and her people will not forget the day Katrina came knocking and shook the city to its core-but if anyone can pull through and move beyond this disaster with the good spirits and mental stamina needed, the fine people in New Orleans can.

We do call it “The Big Easy,” after all.

Jay Rooney can be contacted at j.rooney@umiami.edu.

September 2, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami fans no doubt are loving the Hurricanes’ two newest tight ends. What they’re pro ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Though UM wasn’t called for a single penalty against ...

Two of the best athletes and a freshman quarterback on the No. 21 University of Miami football team ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

With Jaquan Johnson still sidelined with a hamstring strain he suffered on Saturday against Toledo, ...

The trailer for a documentary exploring the relationships between UM students and Holocaust survivor ...

New technology could help workplaces and schools identify violent intruders before they enter the do ...

A University of Miami professor has created software to detect fraud in standardized tests. ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Students attending Monday night's State of the U address by UM President Julio Frenk offer thei ...

The 1983 national champions will be back on campus to celebrate the 35thanniversary of Miami's ...

The University of Miami volleyball program begins ACC play on Friday night against Wake Forest at 7 ...

Head coach Katie Meier announced Wednesday the ninth annual Miami Women's Basketball Fantasy Ca ...

The yearly Miami Fall Invite will take place Friday through Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center, ...

Through three games, Miami is No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss and the entire Hurricanes def ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.