The Katrina wake-up call
September 6, 2005
One of the first ironies of the hurricane was people suffering from thirst in the midst of a flood. When the evacuation began, advisories were broadcast to add six drops of Clorox to a gallon of water to make it potable, but I guess the media people were too loaded down with cameras and sound equipment to have room for Clorox, and the helicopters hovering over the Superdome weren’t carrying any of the magic elixir, either.One of the later ironies was seeing the army convoys finally (FINALLY) rumbling into New Orleans loaded with food, water and supplies in the incoming lanes, just as the buses were (finally) taking all the stranded evacuees to Texas in the outgoing lanes.Where were those buses when everyone was told to leave, which meant everyone who had a vehicle, money and a place to go, leaving the old, poor and infirm to fend for themselves. This is a national disgrace.This disaster was a wake-up call for anyone who has been lulled into complacency not to worry: Uncle Sam and Homeland Security will take care of us. If national educational standards are indeed intended to leave no child behind, the schools should be teaching some basic survival skills.Everyone watched in horror and wanted to help, but what to do? Kudos to Mike Fondo of Basalt who cut to the chase, loaded up a truck and trailer and headed to Louisiana. The schools are collecting food and clothing and Alpine Bank, the Aspen Community Foundation, the city and the Aspen Skiing Co. have all set up special funds, with more joining in every day.Next Tuesday, Sept. 13, a number of restaurants are joining Little Annie’s and Belly Up in a grand fund-raising extravaganza in the old Aspen tradition. Participating restaurants will all feature live music, and the evening will culminate with a whiz-bang musical frolic and what councilman Jack Johnson promises to be a “VERY interesting” silent auction at Belly Up.This blast is still in the cooking stage, but pen in the 13th on your social calendar and watch the papers for the details as they unfold. Tune in, turn out and take advantage of this opportunity to put your money where your heart is. For information or to participate in the Tuesday event, call Jack Johnson at 948-9874. Su Lum is a longtime local who is old enough to have seen half the world pull itself out of the ashes of World War II, and knows that this corner of the South will rise again. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.