I just read that a judge ruled the Corps of Engineers negligent for flooding in Chalmette and The Lower Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina. The most well known plaintiff in this case was local news anchor Norman Robinson. He lived in New Orleans East at the time of the storm and didn’t win any damages. Since he lived a few blocks away from my home I will assume that means that we personally will not have any precedent for receiving anything. That’s unfortunate because my personal opinion is the Corps of Engineers was negligent everywhere but I not going to stress about that. Regardless of whether my neighborhood gets anything I can still sleep at night if the people of St. Bernard and The Lower Nine are properly compensated for their pain and suffering. It’s time to have everyone that lived in that area file a claim and make things right. If the person is deceased then give the money to their families for that pain and suffering. Since the storm passed I have never been the kind of person that was overly concerned with lawsuits about levee breaches and putting my name on lists for possible money. Doing that never went along with my stubborn pride. My personal feeling was I wasn’t going to let anyone watch me beg people for money under those circumstances. If they knew what happened and wanted to do the right thing they would have done it already. Besides, money wasn’t going to bring my grandmother back or magically put the homes I grew up in along with all the memories and family heirlooms back where they were. Money didn’t matter to me when it comes to this and it still doesn’t.
It might matter to my parents though. They got up every morning and worked to pay for their house like everybody says Americans are supposed to. It might matter to my aunts and my cousins because they did the same thing. I know it matters to my sisters and brothers. My grandfather passed away five months before the storm but I am sure if you asked him about his house floating away it would matter to him. My grandmother Geraldine is gone but I am sure she would be cool with her family being comfortable. I think fighting twenty feet of water in your own living room is worth something. My other grandmother Mildred is 90 and lives out of town now but knowing her the way I do she would tell you that she would prefer to go back home to her house but since she can’t her children(and we are all her children) might as well be taking care of. I don’t need a dime myself. I would be happy to see my teenage brother have four years of college tuition from something like this. I think that is a fair trade off for not being able to visit the big blue house on Benton Street for Thanksgiving next week or not having any baby pictures to show your children.
I’m not sure how this whole thing is going to play out. If this verdict stands I am sure the government won’t want to have to defend itself against thousands of individual lawsuits so they will probably work out some agreement to take care of everyone. I know how the media likes to slant things sometimes and I am sure they will find someone that is overjoyed with receiving this money and present it in a manner that makes people think folks on the other side of the Industrial Canal are getting over on the government. I’m going to do something I rarely do on this blog and speak for everyone involved including St. Bernard Parish when I say no one wanted to get paid enough to see their entire community destroyed. They earned that money the hard way.