The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Almost three years later, one hundred years behind

On August 29, 2005, the Gulf Coast was changed forever. The most destructive hurricane in the nation’s history made landfall on the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Three years later, the floodwater is long gone, but the effects still rage on in Southern Louisiana.

Today the French Quarter has been revived. Bourbon Street is as wild as ever, but then again, that is where the tourists visit when traveling to New Orleans.

Tourism is Louisiana’s second largest source of income and is vital to the state’s ability to survive economically. Because of this, it is obvious why the French Quarter has been restored quickly and successfully.

To the average visitor, the visible effects of the storm are minimal. But there are still water stains on the houses from where the floodwaters rose after landfall, blue tarps covering roofs from the damaging winds, and even several boats and other debris still littering yards and abandoned parking lots.There are hundreds of homeless Katrina victims living under the interstate in tents and on mattresses.

Dorothy Monroe, an employee at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, lost everything when Katrina hit. She had enough money saved up to get back on her feet and survive, but she can’t help but feel guilty.

“I just don’t know what to do to help those poor people,” Monroe said. “I feel sad that I was able to survive and still be able to retain my livelihood when all those poor souls are living under that bridge. Every day, I make 20 sandwiches to bring to them on my way to work. It’s not enough, not even close, but at least it is something.”

For those living in New Orleans, there is a daily reminder of the devastation and horror that occurred when Katrina hit. But the problem is the rest of the world has seemingly forgotten.

In a poll of 30 SMU students, 70 percent said that they were unaware of the amount of homeless Katrina victims and 60 percent said that they were unaware that portions of New Orleans are still ghost towns today. Of the 30 students polled, 18 had been to New Orleans within the past year. Recently the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity from the University of Mississippi visited New Orleans on their annual “Old South” trip.

One member, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “I feel guilty for being a part of an organization that frivolously threw away roughly $30,000 for a weekend of fun when that money could be used to help people in need.”

Like Dorothy Monroe, many don’t know what to do to help. Many want to blame the government for not stepping in, but in actuality, the government is trying to help. The problem is not a lack of funding, but it is the confusion created by federal, state and local governments about rules and jurisdictions when it comes to rebuilding.

Contradictory regulations, politicking and a complex bureaucracy have only served to intensify and extend the problems of victims and is keeping these people from making the decisions they need to in order to make to get on with their lives. The money is there to spend; the problem is being able to spend it.

Until someone in any of these branches of government is able to stand up and take the lead for the recovery effort, the money allotted will sit in limbo and those victims will continue sit under the Interstate.

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