An Outsider's View
Contributed by Robert Witt
I just started working with a debris removal contractor in the New Orleans area. After a month of walking the streets of your city, I have learned a few things. I have learned to appreciate the things I have, but more importantly, I've learned to appreciate those of you in New Orleans who chose to come back. I have met some really amazing people while spending 12 hours a day working in the streets around Canal and Jefferson Davis. Not many people,but just enough to leave me with stories that I can tell my grandson about some day. Like the young man who, on one cold early morning, came out of his house (where he had no electricity or gas) and offerred me a cup of hot coffee. Or the older hispanic man who refused to let me help him load what remained of his belongings without paying me for my help. I tried to refuse in broken spanish, but he asked me to please take it. His wife then thanked me and asked God's blessings for me. They had everything they owned in a van and asked for God to bless me! I've met several folks who are in New Orleans for the sole purpose of trying to help others. The Red Cross workers who drive around daily giving away free meals to anyone who is hungry. The animal rescue ladies who drove around town and stopped every time they saw a dog or a cat to put out food and fresh water.
These selfless people have made me take a hard look at myself. I live in the Baton Rouge area. I remember when Katrina made landfall. I remember being mildly upset because my electricity went out for a day. I remember being irritated when I had to wait in line for gasoline for my truck.
Yes, I remember just how selfish I was. Then, in early December, I moved my camper down to the West Bank to work. I wasn't sure what I would find. I'd heard the rumors of the lawlessness. But what I discovered was a few people who were glad that we were there to try to help them get back to some degree of normalcy. A few people who were willing to share their coffee with me on a cold morning. A few people who showed me the determination to bring New Orleans back. If the determined, hospitable people I met are any indication of the future of New Orleans, I know your city will be back as strong as ever.
I'd like to take a moment to say thank you to the residents of New Orleans for helping me see how all of us should be acting. And for reminding me that, even when disaster strikes, some people will always be there to try to make things better.
This link will take you back to the katrina page.
Bless you all!