The Chicago Tribune published an infuriating piece by Kristen McQueary, who claimed a feeling of “envy” for the “upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.”  This sensationalized article justifiably struck a nerve among Katrina victims.  It presented itself at perhaps the worst time: at the near precipice of our ten year anniversary.

McQueary is correct in her analysis regarding the man-made cause of our devastation. I’m uncertain about her facts concerning Chicago as I would not presume to understand an intricate city with complex issues I have not experienced, as McQueary has done with New Orleans. Her shortsighted facts regarding the “rebirth” are problematic for a variety of reasons, chiefly because she excludes the diaspora who were unable to return home and others who did not benefit from those policies she praised.

Hurricane Katrina Damage. Source: BBC, August 2005.

Mrs. McQueary, your community was not destroyed. Members of your community did not drown.  Your house was not obliterated.  You did not lose everything you owned.  Your childhood photos are not gone.  You were not uprooted.  You did not sleep on the floor in a crowded shelter.  You did not live in a formaldehyde infested FEMA trailer for three years.  You did not deal with the arduous rebuilding process. No, you cannot relate to any of that, much less relate – even “metaphorically” – to those “climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help.”  Most evacuees cannot relate to that.

Despite some positive results from our tragedy, you should never find yourself “praying” for such a catastrophe.  We do not wish our life perturbing experiences upon anyone.  One would not envy the horror of the 9/11 attacks because they felt the new skyscrapers looked nice.

You tweeted your piece was “about finances and government” and that you would “never diminish the tragedy of thousands of lives lost.”  That’s not true.  That’s not enough.  That piece is irresponsible and insensitive.  Remove it.

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