A Different Point-of-View

What She Wore: Red, long-sleeve henley; white undershirt; olive green pants; red snow boots. 

Single Jenn had a post that really got my juices going. Her post didn’t get me so much as some of the replies that I read in response.  Many, many people believe that the only people affected by hurricane Katrina were dead-beats, criminals, and "welfare mamas."  So, today, I will tell you about my grandfather–one of the many people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

My grandfather is the type of man that my husband doesn’t believe exists anymore.  He is ninety-two years old.  He has served his country in two different capacities.  He is a military veteran having served during World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam conflict.  Interspersed in this military service (he was called up during Vietnam and Korea), he also served twenty years in the government working in Veteran Affairs.  His wife (also a veteran) died when his children were small and he raised the two of them alone from the ages of nine and eleven.  He only drives American cars, and all of his investments have been in Treasury Bonds.  He has both supported and defended this country at every turn. 

When Hurricane Katrina began heading toward the Crescent City, my parents made the decision to get out early.  My grandfather has prostate cancer, so car trips are long and painful for him–there’s a bathroom break about every hour.  My family went to Houston, checked themselves into a pet-friendly hotel, and figured they be home after the long Labor Day Weekend.  It ended up being one of the longest weekends anyone had ever expected.  It was almost two weeks before anyone was allowed back in the city, and even then the place was unlivable.  Meanwhile, the bills piled up–there was the daily expense of living in hotel, eating at restaurants, and buying any neccessities that he hadn’t thought to pack. 

Then Hurricane Rita began bearing down on Houston. 

At this point, my grandfather had been temporarily accepted at a "retirement community" in Houston.  When hurricane Rita began her descent, they asked he evacuate for the second time.  He’s ninety-two, he’s been chased out of his home twice, he has prostate cancer making travel uncomfortable, and now he has nowhere to go. 

For the next week, he slept in a recliner in an apartment in Baton Rouge with six other people.  A veteran and former judge sleeping on a recliner in substandard housing.  After that, that, he returned to the retirement community in Houston until his home (another retirement community) was available for occupancy. 

Despite all this, you won’t hear him complain–he went on as if nothing had happened. 

Please don’t think Katrina only affected the people you see complaining on TV–it affected a lot of other poeple too–New Orleans was (is) a big city, and she hasn’t been done justice by the television news crews.

KM

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About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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13 Responses to A Different Point-of-View

  1. KEL says:

    I read Jenn\’s post and yes I agree that New Orleans has not been done justice.  I commented that "life as everyone knew it" cannot be brought back to normal by getting a job making minimum wage or really by anything…something tragic happened that day to everyone who lived there.  I think the real problem with the perception of the gulf area is that the "bad seeds" ruined the image for the ones who really are trying to get life back to normal, for the truly inspirational people who survived that ordeal.~K

  2. Becca says:

    Very nice blog about your grandfather. What a nice perspective to the other side of the coin. Thank you KM. Eye opening as usual.
    Hugs,
    Becca

  3. Nadine says:

     People are stupid…or rather ignorant. That whole walk a mile in another man\’s shoes thing ring in my head….that\’s what people need to live by. Just like the media\’s report of Iraq, it is slanted to only show us the bad…not the good that the soldiers do.
     
     Educate us Katy!! Be sure to read Russ\’s blog…Zwebbyville\’s Mayor! He had an eye opening trip.
     
     Hugs!!!

  4. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this. These are the type of blogs I love, the ones that make me open my eyes to another side of the story. I am and the opposite end of the Mississippi River (it actually begins basically in the town that I live in) and I\’ve never traveled into the South at all, let alone all the way to New Orleans. The only things I know about the situation down there (past and present) are what I see on t.v., and now things that you write about. I just want to thank you again for a personal story, it gives me a little more perspective on things. Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man.

  5. Jaysey says:

    Those comments really got my juices going, too.  I really thought more people would understand…would get thewhat Nadine calls "walk in another man\’s shoes" point of that entry.  But I think it got lost.  In your reply, you wrote, "And for those of you who aren\’t happy about New Orleans?  How about Iraq?  We spend more money there each month than has been given to New Orleans period.  I know which country I like more."  And I really couldn\’t have said that better myself…why are people more upset about the comparatively small amount of money going to rebuild NO than they are about the millions of dollars we\’re spending to "rebuild" Iraq?  I don\’t get it.  These are our people.  Oh, well.

  6. Toni says:

    A lot of people I\’m sure went off of what was constantly broadcast on the news; looting, drug dealers, violence, you get the idea. You are so right; New Orleans is a big city full of all kinds of people, just like any other place. And they all went through quite an ordeal–your poor grandfather! Wow!
    I can certainly relate–when Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, we didn\’t make it back into our house for 3 weeks–we had a lot of work to do after that.

  7. WINDOW LIVE says:

    I love your grandpa!  BTW Antonella had her baby.  He is BEAUTIFUL!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    What a man, your grandfather.  Please tell him the next time you speak with him that there\’s one gal here (among many, I\’m sure) who would love to shake his hand for his service to our country.  I wish we could do better by our veterans, young and old.
    *hugs*

  9. Antonella says:

    Ugh, I can\’t believe that people say things like that. It is such a tragedy and then for people to say these things. 😦
     
    Don\’t be jealous, you\’ll have one soon enough!! OMG, and you will love it sooooo much!!! I just want to stare at him all day long!!
    Antonella

  10. Sheryl-Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing this, KM.  Katrina was quite a tragedy and like you said, many many persons were affected by it.  My Dad has prostate cancer so I understand how difficult it must have been for your grandpa.  I recently read a blog entry that compared (in a subtle way) Katrina to a blizzard that was just experienced in North Dakota.  It was a very insensitive entry and I just left without commenting.  I hope your family is doing okay now.

  11. -c says:

    As we were preparing to travel to Waveland MS last summer to help with the relief one of the people in our church muttered \’there was no way he or anyone in his family was going to go down there and do free labor for the rich\’! I\’m still in shock from that statement. There is so much devastation – houses that a year later still hadn\’t even been entered to BEGIN the cleanup. The 14 of us that went came back different people. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to travel there and lend a hand, that spirit of volunteerism, serving others, is what built this country. We need to revive it.
     
    Kudos to your grandfather – a hero in every sense of the word! -cindy

  12. CJ says:

    The media has alot to account for in this respect.  They don\’t show us people like your grandfather, they show us the dregs of society.  Amazingly the people who are being profiled were like this before the hurricane.  I don\’t expect they\’ll change now.  Too many people, however, were good, honest, hard working American\’s who have now been lost in a political shuffle.  Our tax dollars pay for what????  So many people made generous financial contributions to the hurricane\’s victims, I\’d sure like to know who was responsible for determining where that money went and how it was spent.  I\’m glad your pregnancy is going well.  Nothing like skipping right past morning sickness!  It truly is a shame that so few of the students where you teach have the means to dress warmly.  If only there were some way we could reach out and help them all.  I know it isn\’t much but every year I contact the schools to get just one or two names and then I help where I can.  Again, it isn\’t much, but it\’s one or two students who won\’t be struggling nearly as badly.  I can only pray anyways.  I hope you have a really great week.  Sounds like you need something uplifting!

  13. Aimee says:

    what a strong man he is…
    :o) smiles are contagious…so pass one to people that you love and those you don\’t…and soon everyone will be smiling… :o)

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