August 29, 2005.
That was a day most of us who live in New Orleans will never forget. Hurricane Katrina blew in, and made landfall at Buras, Louisiana. The levees broke and 80 percent of the city was under water.
August 29, 2017.
Hurricane Harvey, now Tropical Storm Harvey, finally makes a turn away from Houston, where most of the city was flooded. Harvey sat over the gulf and refueled, headed northeast and then northwest. Towards us.
So far, in New Orleans, we’ve had 5.85 inches of rainfall. Our diminished pumping capacity is not really keeping up. Streets are flooding. All schools are closed. Many government offices are closed. Our smart phones have been going off all morning with flood advisories.
I know. 5.85 inches of rain is nowhere near Houston’s 40 to 60 inches of rainfall. But, our ground is already saturated. Our pumping capacity is down. The mayor’s office said that the original pumping station, the one that was repaired just about a week ago after being broken down for the last flood, broke down again this morning.
And, as a snarky aside, after most of the old Sewerage Board was fired or resigned, new consultants were hired. They are led by a man whose last name is Rainwater. Oh, come on. Give us a break.
These pictures. After taking a break last year, the 9th Ward folks decided to honor the 12th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a gathering at the levee and a second line followed by a party in the 7th Ward. The city strongly suggested that everybody who didn’t need to be on the streets, stay off the streets.
No memorial. No second line. No party. Just rain. Just water. More rain. More water.
I decided to show you some of the pictures that I made in 2015, commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the storm. The one when seemingly every media in the world descended upon us… and got most of their stories wrong. You know. Ten is a big number. Twelve, not so much.
Some of you who have been around Storyteller for that long may remember some of these pictures. The top picture, of Big Queen Cherise, is sort of famous. It hangs in the Jazz and Heritage Festival’s permanent collection.
Today, I honor our twelfth year anniversary and those Texans who are still going through the flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. They will be recovering for a long time. We’ll be there for them. We can do less. They were there for us in the aftermath of Katrina.
That storm isn’t done yet.
Once it finally turns north, it doesn’t stop until it reaches Indiana. With luck, we’ll only have five or six more inches of rain, bringing New Orleans to about 12 inches of Harvey-produced rainfall. By the way, that brings us to well over a record-setting summer rainfall total.
Have a good thought. For all of us.