Friday, October 28, 2005

All About the Numbers

110-120 mph. I finally found a map today that had the wind speeds from Katrina. That's what we experienced at our house. Apparently wind caused more damage than water, which is really hard to believe.

1068. That's the current number of fatalities from Katrina. It's still going up every day. People are returning home to New Orleans and are finding dead people in their houses, which must be really horrifying.

11% That's the current unemployment rate in Louisiana. Which, just further confirms to me that there are a bunch of lazy ass people around here. If you want to work, you can find a job around here. Baton Rouge has help wanted signs EVERYWHERE. I'm not lying or exaggerating when I say nearly every business I go into is seeking some type of help. I was just reading in the Baton Rouge Business Report (one of my favorite magazines) that restaraunts and retail stores have tripled their business and just can't keep up. The evacuees are getting free transportation so that can't be an issue. They just opened a free shuttle from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Yesterday they had some huge job fair in New Orleans. They're so desperate for people to come back to work. People are all mad about all the Mexicans flooding in to do clean up work, but apparently they're the only people willing to do it. But I guess when you have FEMA paying for your room and board and every other charitable organization taking care of every other need and/or want, you don't need to worry about working.

Jenny, I've been thinking about your question and I really don't know. Somewhere the expectations of FEMA changed. I remember Rush Limbaugh talked about this right after Katrina hit and he was talking about how just several years ago immediate action by FEMA wasn't expected. It would take weeks or even a month or two for FEMA to show up after a disaster. I have this distinct memory of a flooding incident somewhere on the mid-Atlantic seaboard and one of the beer companies stopped bottling beer and started bottling water for all those people. Now, that wouldn't happen, everyone would expect the government to do that. Plus, people don't seem to worry so much or prepare for these things, it's expected that the government is going to take care of you. They were talking about how in Florida people started lining up for ice and water only 6 hours after the hurricane passed (which I'm assuming is true) and people were questioning why they didn't stock up on this sort of thing before the hurricane. I don't know the answer, other than a lot of people just aren't self-reliant anymore. As for response time, I doubt that's changed much. You can't position the rescue effort in the path of the hurricane. It's all the same problems, you have to wait for the water to recede, you have to cut up all the downed trees, make sure the downed power lines aren't live, etc.


Jenny said...

Thanks for answering my question Autumn. That is sort of what I was thinking - that expectations have changed. It just seems impossible to have resources mobilized hours after a disaster that big, and when they aren't people immediately start blaming government. I agree with you that people need to be a little more self-reliant.

I read your comments on my blog about your Mira RR. It sounds good to me and I think it is great you're copying my layout. Realistically there aren't a whole lot of ways to arrange seven sections on a piece of fabric anyway. I haven't seen Ruth's RR yet, so I'm not sure what that border looks like, but I'm sure it'll add a uniqueness to your piece. :)

Sandra said...

I live in Washington Parish and we were affected by Katrina's winds also. I know what you mean about people needing to get out and work. It's pathetic. What's sad is all this is making our state look worse than it already looked. Ever hear anything about FL doing anything this way after all the hurricane's they've had? It makes me mad to know that people aren't working because of the charity.

This storm has even affected my job. I'd been hired to work at the Charity hospital locally and was to start orientation on 9/12 but due to the storm the are on a hiring freeze right now and cannot hire anyone new until it's lifted. I'm patiently waiting sine it's where I want to work.

It's crazy if you ask me. I hope you weren't affected by the storm too badly.

Take care.

Kristen said...

I agree about people's expectations after the storm. Its like people have come to expect handouts. It pisses me off. You have no idea how many employees from our hotel expected our hotel to give them a place to sleep and eat (not that we won't feed our help, but they used the excuse that they couldn't show up for their shift because of reason xyz, yet they made it to the hotel for the cafeteria hours, meanwhile me and a small handful of staff worked around the fricken clock). I had a good-for-nothing bartender call me at 3am on Sunday night after he had lost power asking for a room at our hotel. This dude won't come in and help me out if I'm short a bartender, but he wants me to authorize him and his wife to come and stay in one of our guestrooms (that rent for $319 a night - at the cheapest) FOR FREE. I told him to go to a shelter. Some staff had the audacity to show up with coolers and thought I would give away what little ice we had and food for them. They got angry with me when I denied them! Most of my staff are self-righteous, self-centered twenty somethings that won't lift a finger for you, even when you are paying them, and expect the world from you.

As for the lack of preparedness, I think a lot of people had become numb to these storms. This was like our 5th or 6th storm and people just stopped paying attention to it or just heard that it "might" be a Cat 1 when it hit and did not expect the winds that we got. Hell, I was one of those people. Luckily, Jon and I still had our supplies from the other storms and we both work for hotels where we had access to food and water.