Back in 2005, the city of New Orleans witnessed one of the worst catastrophes of the 21st century. According to the National Hurricane Center, well over 1,200 people died as a result of the storm, which caused 80 percent of the city to be flooded.
It has been 10 years since the levee system failed, causing the city to have to be rebuilt at a cost the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service estimates at over $100 billion.
Now that it is the 10th anniversary of the storm, people find themselves fleeing the city again because of the extensive media presence and coverage about how the city is faring 10 years later. However, not everyone is thrilled to bring the subject back to the surface.
During the initial days of the disaster, the media struggled to find the correct language to cover the incidents.
Sources like the Associated Press used the term “refugees” to describe the displaced, which stirred controversy because of its seemingly racist implications. Jesse Jackson criticized the term as racist, and eventually even then President George W. Bush said, “These are not refugees, but American citizens who need our help and compassion.”
Eventually the word was replaced with “displaced” and “evacuees,” instead.
Considering how the media can color things, what is the correct news etiquette to use to approach this sensitive topic? Can the incidents be remembered in a less intrusive way?
The general public is still learning about the specifics of Hurricane Katrina, even to this day.
It has been alleged that guards in prisons like the Orleans Parish Prison left prisoners to die, while they fled to safety.
Hundreds of prisoners were eventually marked as “unaccounted for,” the World Socialist official website reports, and remain lost to this day.
Regardless, New Orleans has rebuilt itself and continued to honor its heritage without focusing so much on Hurricane Katrina.
The storm came at a critical point in the presidency of Bush, who came under heavy criticism along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department and then Mayor Ray Nagin.
So while it is important to remember this storm, the public should remember that New Orleans is more than Katrina.
The storm happened in an instant, yet people are still feeling the effects of the damage ten years later.
Categories: Features, Human Interest
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