The postman Calvin Diaz in New Orleans a year after Katrina.
PHOTO: RICHARD POHLE
How dare Patrick Boylan, director of the Homeland Security program at Vincennes University(Ind.), compare rebuilding a small Amish community after a tornado that took down maybe a hundred homes, and the destruction that occurred in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
In November of last year a tornado tore through an Amish community in Southern Indiana. According to the story in USA Today the Amish were quick to begin rebuilding houses and clearing debris. Winthin hours, neighbors and people from Amish communities in northern Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio came to help with the rebuilding.
Mr. Boylan felt it necessary to compare how quickly the Amish got to rebuilding and cleaning up and how different it was from what he saw on his October trip to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Quoting Mr. Boylan, he said, "In the South everybody is still waiting for someone else to do something for them. We need to send them (the Amish) down to teach them (the New Orleans residents) how to be self-reliant."
How dare he make comparisons! Doesn't he realize that Katrina and the flood that followed swallowed 80 percent of the city of New Orleans? Doesn't he realize that 450,000 people were affected by Katrina as opposed to the, what, 300-400 Amish people in Indiana who were hit by a tornado?
I don't mean to make less of the resourcefulness of the Amish people. They are known for helping their neighbors...heck, half of them are carpenters and tradespeople! But to suggest the people in New Orleans are lazy or looking for a handout in the face of the destruction caused by Katrina, is unconscionable!
I'm so angry about this because just this morning a radio talk-show host (don't know his name) on WABC 770 AM New York City made reference to this story offering the same complaint about the people in New Orleans. Here's a link to a current story about Katrina and the residents of New Orleans (How Katrina left a city of lost souls, Timesonline, Aug.26, 2006). Read it and see what it's really been like. theteach