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Sep 15

So the 10-year Katrina anniversary is over. I must confess to having mixed feelings about it.

On one hand I think it’s important that we remember and commemorate it. A lot of people died, a lot of people lost their homes, a lot of people lost their jobs, a lot of people lost everything they owned. If you don’t learn from history then you are condemned to repeat it, and it certainly deserves to be front and centre in my book. Katrina changed many things in this city and it’s important that people around the country and around the world remember it in my view.

I also got a lot of publicity out of Katrina +10, so I would be a hypocrite to attack the coverage. I was on the local TV, BBC radio back home, and in a host of newspapers, everything from The New York Times to the Irish Echo to the New Orleans Advocate. How much of it actually sold books, how much it was worth to me monetarily, well, I don’t know for sure, but my guess is not a lot. Really you do it to keep your name out there.

But at the same time I can see how the locals got “Katrina fatigue” all over again. If you lost your house 10 years ago, you don’t need reminded about it all over again. You don’t want to watch documentaries and read stories and hear tales… I get that and respect it. So many more people were worse off than me.
But the overriding thing I think I took from the storm was the value of friendships. Many people contacted me, some I hadn’t heard from in years, offering to help. It was comforting and gratifying, and I will always be thankful to those who did.

As for the Katrina coverage, see you in another 10 years.

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