September 10, 2005

THE BEIGNETS OF WRATH:

Uprooted and Scattered Far From the Familiar (TIMOTHY EGAN, 9/11/05, NY Times)

Hurricane Katrina has produced a diaspora of historic proportions. Not since the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, or the end of the Civil War in the 1860's have so many Americans been on the move from a single event. Federal officials who are guiding the evacuation say 400,000 to upwards of one million people have been displaced from ruined homes, mainly in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

Texas has taken in more than 230,000 people, according to Gov. Rick Perry. But others are scattered across the United States, airlifted from a city that is nine feet below sea level to mile-high shelters in Colorado, to desert mesas in New Mexico, piney woods of Arkansas, flatlands of Oklahoma, the breezy shore of Cape Cod and beige-colored Wasatch Mountain front in Utah.

Many say they will never go back, vowing to build new lives in strange lands, marked forever by the storm that forced their exodus. They seem dazed and disconnected, though happy to be alive, to be breathing clean air, to be dry. Others say they still feel utterly lost, uprooted from all that is familiar, desperate to find a missing brother or aunt.

"The people are so nice, but this place is really strange to me," said Desiree Thompson, who arrived in Albuquerque, last Sunday with six of her children and two grandchildren, along with about 100 other evacuees. "The air is different. My nose feels all dry. The only thing I've seen that looks familiar is the McDonalds."

It came as a shock to Ms. Thompson and others when they were told of their destination - mid-flight. They had boarded a military plane out of New Orleans last weekend, expecting to go to Texas, many of them said.

"In the middle of the flight they told us they were taking us to New Mexico," Ms. Thompson said. "New Mexico! Everyone said, 'My God, they're taking us to another country.' "


The schools have to be better wherever you're taken.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2005 5:15 PM
Comments

"In the middle of the flight they told us they were taking us to New Mexico," Ms. Thompson said. "New Mexico! Everyone said, 'My God, they're taking us to another country.'

Not good. Ms. Thompson, et al, actually think they are going to Mexico, a foreign country. We just drained a cesspool of ignorance.

Posted by: AllenS at September 10, 2005 5:44 PM

For an alternative view of the refugees from Hurricane Kathrina, take a look at "slight clutter's" photoblog here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slightclutter/sets/847243/

Posted by: Eugene S. at September 10, 2005 6:28 PM

"Many say they will never go back, vowing to build new lives in strange lands"

Why be surprised at the New Mexico ignorance of that woman, when the NY Slimes itself considers the Red states as "strange lands"?

Posted by: obc at September 10, 2005 8:44 PM

"Not since the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, or the end of the Civil War in the 1860's have so many Americans been on the move from..."

My guess is that more Americans were moved/displaced during World Wars I and II than in this migration? No?

SMG

Posted by: SteveMG at September 10, 2005 9:24 PM

SMG:

Just the guys called up would be a bigger number for WWII.

Posted by: oj at September 10, 2005 11:55 PM

This reminds me of an old line, I think from Rogers: "During the Dust Bowl days more than a million Okies moved to California. Raised the IQ of both states."

Posted by: Foos at September 12, 2005 11:02 AM
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