So I stopped off in Grand Couteau (near Lafayette) last night to visit my kids who were with their mom. My ex-wife took them to a friend’s house, and she is planning on temporarily relocating to Lafayette.
My girls have already started school at the local Sacred Heart school (they were in the New Orleans Sacred Heart school in New Orleans), and my son is going to start school soon too.
Obviously, we are fortunate and the change in our lives is not anything like the horrible change that others will face. Still, from my limited perspective it is quite interesting to consider how this change affects kids.
My kids are used to being around a highly connected world where they can IM their friends and use computers. Now they are in a rural setting, and their cellphones don’t work very well.
They can text message me, and some of their friends, but that’s about it.
Last Saturday, my older daughter Bridget celebrated her 16th birthday party at my house, with about 15 of her close friends.
Yesterday she started school in a completely different city. And she has no idea where the friends that were at her birthday party are today.
My kids are all trying to grapple with the sudden change that they’re facing. They are old enough to have intricate expectations of how their life is supposed to be.
But this tragedy has completely exploded those expectations.
They ask the obvious questions: when will be able to go home? Why can’t we go home in a few weeks and just go back to our school if they school is not too damaged?
They don’t fully grasp the enormity of this catastrophe. Probably they don’t want to. This is not the sort of thing that the human mind can assimilate in just a few hours, or even a few days.
The economy of New Orleans is non-existent and will be that way for months.
The first order of business is rescuing, followed by clean up and restoration of basic core infrastructure. I bet it will be months before the city gets to a minimal level of functioning.
The flooding and water damage to the city is not something that can be comprehended.
I suggest you read Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America. This catastrophe will change America and we don’t yet grasp how that will happen. We’re still in ‘rescue mode’ and ‘shock mode.’
It will take us all a long time to process how life-altering this hurricane was.