over delectable seared ahi tuna and scrumptious steak, the topic turned to Hurricane Katrina, what else.
one of my friends and bosses stated his opinion that perhaps individuals living in a bowl, mostly below sea level were asking for it. I was astounded. he admitted perhaps it was a heartless view.
he wondered how anyone would choose to live there. he's never walked among the beautiful homes of the Garden District. he's never had a beignet at Cafe du Monde. he's never wandered under the balconies of Bourbon Street, with people all around reaching up for beads.
he's never felt the vitality of the city. the sense of home those who have lived there most of their lives feel for the Big Easy. the hospitality often offered to visitors.
his best friend didn't grow up there. didn't get married there. perhaps if he had, if his best friend had, he would feel more compassion.
after another friend said her company was matching all donations, and after a few too many celebratory drinks I asked if my company was even donating.
open mouth. insert foot.
his wife looked shocked. he laughed. he has a way of dispelling my sometimes inappropriate work-related comments. he was my friend first, before he became my boss. and he treats me as a friend first. luckily.
we talked about why the levees broke. they were built for a Category 3 storm, not the 4 that Katrina was when it hit New Orleans.
another engineer friend explained why engineers don't design for the worst case scenario. why they look at probability of occurrences. otherwise it would be too expensive too build anything. if the worst case always had to be considered.
J inquired about my friend who grew up in NO. I passed along the stories she had told me. her family and friends were fine. just lost as to what to do next.
I had a great conversation with my most politically opposite friend. she went to school in NO and has friends that still live there. we talked about FEMA and the government's response.
she agreed with me that we should all focus on helping those that need it, not on pointing fingers. there will be time for assigning blame for things that didn't go right when the water has been pumped out. when everyone is safe. when pets and people have been reunited with those that love them.
when it came time to blow out the candle. my typical, somewhat selfish wish was forgotten. this year it was a much more wide-reaching wish.
perhaps it has already come true a little. my company donated a decent amount to help the victims of the Hurricane.
I hope everyone puts aside their differences long enough to help one another. tries to understand before passing judgment. I know it was a lofty wish, but perhaps if everyone were to try just a little to be compassionate before angry, it could become reality.
if you are able to, please help. there are links at the top of the page that are a few of the agencies that can help. every little bit helps.