Thursday, September 01, 2005
Throughout the last couple of days, I've watched the coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The devastation that this hurricane has caused along the Gulf Coast is indescribable. While I'm in Jonesboro, Arkansas, which is 464 miles away from New Orleans, I can't help but feel for the people who have been impacted by this horrible tragedy.
I've been through two major earthquakes. The first one was in 1989 when I lived in Alameda, California. The Loma Prieta quake. 7.1. October 17, 1989. I still remember my dad yelling for me when the ground shook (I was on the swing set in my playground; military housing, baby!). The second one was in February 2001, the 6.8 quake that could have been a lot worse. I was in Cheney at the time, attending Eastern Washington. Thank God it wasn't as bad as it should have been.
I will be happy to go through another earthquake before I experience my first hurricane. For the most part, I'm a fearless guy. But for the love of God, I don't want to experience a hurricane. Luckily for me, I'm far enough north where I won't have to worry about it. Yes, there's always the chance of tornadoes. But I digress.
Back to Hurricane Katrina...
New Orleans will never be the same. In fact, the entire Gulf South region will never be the same. I'm sure some yuppie assh*le in Seattle is probably thinking, "hey, God is just trying to get rid of the scum of the earth". That's the attitude that some people in this country have when it comes to the South. It's bullsh*t.
Personally, I think this is as big of a tragedy as September 11. It hits home for me. I'm less than 500 miles away from the carnage, folks. There are people from Louisiana and Mississippi who are more than likely staying in hotels up here in northeast Arkansas right now. There are people here at Arkansas State University who have family and friends down in Louisiana and Mississippi. I can't imagine what those people must be going through. My problems, such as being a transfer student/out-of-state student at an Arkansas college, don't compare to what the people in the Gulf South are experiencing. I hate to use the cliche "putting things in perspective", but let's face it, a lot of us are putting things in perspective this week when it comes to our normal lives.
As far as sports go in this horrible tragedy, the impact is huge. It's not official yet, but I can't see how the New Orleans Saints are going to play a single game in the Superdome this season. In fact, I don't think they'll ever play in New Orleans again. The last thing on the state of Louisiana's mind right now is a new stadium for Tom Benson's football team. If I were a betting man, I think the Saints end up in either Los Angeles or San Antonio on a permanent basis in the next year or so.
The Tulane football team will most likely not play in the Superdome this season. At Tulane, it isn't just the football team that is affected. Every fall sports team may not play at all this season. Up in Baton Rouge, LSU's Tiger Stadium may sit empty for a while. While football and sports in general would be a great diversion for the people in Louisiana, I just don't see how those teams are going to be able to play a game in the state for the foreseeable future.
In case you've forgotten, there's also an NBA team in New Orleans, the Hornets. The New Orleans Arena is located next to the Superdome. There's a good chance that the Hornets won't be playing their home games in the Crescent City this year either.
The sports world when it comes to the state of Louisiana is affected, but it's nowhere near the impact felt by the residents in the region. Thousands of people have died already and there will be more deaths in the coming days, if not sooner. It's a sad chapter of this story, indeed.
This isn't a pledge drive. But if you want to help the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, please visit the American Red Cross. I believe there's a pledge drive of some sort going on today here on campus, so I plan on donating a little chunk of change to the relief efforts. It's the least that I can do. You don't have to do a thing if you don't want to. I'm just bringing this up because I want to.
Thanks for allowing me this forum to speak on this unfortunate issue. I promise that I'll have a more lighthearted post tomorrow.