08/29/06 — One year later: Hurricane Katrina still brings questions, sadness

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One year later: Hurricane Katrina still brings questions, sadness

There is no way to look at the images from Hurricane Katrina and not feel a little sad.

More than 1,500 people died and many more than that were left homeless by the devastating hurricane that nearly washed away New Orleans.

Their faces and their stories will be forever etched in the minds of the millions of Americans who watched the television reports and read the accounts of those who lived through the rushing waters and the tragic aftermath.

A year after the storm, there are still questions, not only about how the federal government handled the state of emergency, but how local and state government officials responded to the tragedy.

There are many people who think that the lack of local response is part of the reason so many were hit so hard. Others say the federal response was lacking then and is still a problem now.

There probably will never be a complete answer — only a host of lessons to be learned.

There are still problems in New Orleans. There are still neighborhoods that are destroyed and people who have not been able to come back home. There are pockets of displaced residents all over the nation.

But there is promise, too. There are pioneers who are headed back to the city, determined to rebuild their homes and their lives.

The more than $200,000 raised in Wayne County and sent to the aid of the hurricane victims is partially responsible for that.

Many of those who have been interviewed as the country remembers Katrina have mentioned the support that poured in from across the nation.

But as we continue to cheer on the battle in New Orleans, we must remember that those who are returning must be coming home to a safe place.

Continued study of the protection system as well as a plan to create a more hurricane-ready city are critical if the new New Orleans will be able to survive.

We owe it to the victims of Hurricane Katrina to remember what they went through — and to say a prayer for those who were lost.

But it is also our responsibility as a nation to make sure everything that needs to be done to rebuild a stronger New Orleans is accomplished.

Published in Editorials on August 29, 2006 11:28 AM