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Story Archives: A dangerous precedent
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|A dangerous precedent|
A huge sigh of relief could be heard throughout Louisiana following the news that Hurricane Ike was most likely headed to Texas once the category 3 storm cleared the shores of Cuba and entered the Gulf of Mexico.
While we certainly do not wish any harm for our neighbors to the west, a resounding "better them than us" bellowed about, too, as Louisianians continued to pick up the pieces following Hurricane Gustav's trek across the state, which occurred about this time last week.
Even now, it is difficult to comprehend that Gov. Bobby Jindal, his administration and a host of other folks mobilized some two million people and convinced them to evacuate southern Louisiana for points north, or far from the brunt of the force Gustav delivered to the state's coast and beyond. It is somewhat difficult to comprehend as well that scores of people in northern Louisiana rolled up their sleeves to welcome residents from the south while dealing with the fallout from Gustav in God's country.
Yet, Jindal and company pulled it off. They've been praised by the people, in general, for their work. The national media took notice as well, though we would be within reason to say, "Who cares what the national media thinks?"
However, the accolades were deserving.
Northern Louisiana residents should be patted on their backs, too, especially those who interacted with the ungrateful, or a small number of evacuees who complained about sleeping on cots and having to shower in high school gyms. Only a fool would suggest we turn our backs on people who express a negative opinion about the accommodations afforded them in the midst of a crisis. We should accept the criticism for what it is, while reminding ourselves we're above it.
It is incumbent upon us, though, to reflect for a moment or two on the precedent Jindal and his administration set in convincing the people to flee from Gustav, which we believed at one point or another was a Katrina-like storm capable of killing thousands.
What will happen next time?
More specific, how will the people react the next time a hurricane makes its way toward Louisiana?
Will the people heed a warning from the governor, drop everything they're doing at the time and evacuate as if another Katrina is poised to strike?
Something tells us the governor will have a difficult time convincing the people to seek safer ground when—not if—the next major hurricane sets its sights on Louisiana. That's especially true if we revisit the past, taking into account the behavior—historically—of our neighbors in southern Louisiana.
Ever since Hurricane Betsy rocked the Big Easy in 1965, residents there and in other locales across southern Louisiana have exhibited an unwillingness to flee a storm. Instead, they would rather ride it out in the comfort of their own homes.
Katrina changed that.
Or did she?
We won't know for sure until we're starring at a television screen at some point in the future, wondering whether we're ready to embrace another hurricane. Hopefully, our fun loving, laid back neighbors in southern Louisiana will heed the call again.