The storms of last week still seem to dominate the attention of all in my neck of the woods. While I did not plan on having multiple posts linking the tornadoes of 27 Apr to Hurricane Katrina, I appear to be doing it once more. Yesterday I read a blurb that said Alabama had done in a week for tornado victims what it took six months to do after Katrina. This morning I read several articles and blogs that highlighted small wonders of the storm and aftermath. Small wonders are nice, but this is only the beginning of them. The tip of the iceberg if you're into clichés. Because it is still too early to see the bigger picture from this storm, I will share an example from my family and Katrina.
Prior to the hurricane, my cousin had a job in a casino restaurant. He had maxed out his pay scale and after a bad night when he had been given more responsibilities, the supervisor said he would never get another shot. So, basically he was as high as he could ever get, making as much as he could ever make. Not a bad thing, but no possibility for upward movement. His casino was devastated by the storm. When things got back to operating (not to normal mind you) he got a job at a land based restaurant, making more than he had been previously. He didn't like the place that much and took a job at Lowe's, making more money, where they were taking everything from the left side of the store and putting it on the right, and vice versa. After several nights of nothing to do and his boss telling him to just hide until his shift was over, he left that job. The next week he interviewed for a job with the first casino to reopen, and got another job, just like he had before, except this one: 1) paid more than Lowe's, 2)had upward mobility, which he was able to take, and 3) ended up being much closer to where he lived, which was very handy when gas prices spiked a few years later. He wasn't looking for better, but it found him.
Even the town I grew up in is better than it was pre-storm. One of my last employers was a municipality in Alabama that was founded by carpetbaggers in the early 1880s. It was 125 years old, and the state of its infrastructure was bad. Crumbling in spots. Biloxi was founded in 1699, way over twice as old (plus no carpetbaggers) and yet its infrastructure is much better shape. You get that when you have to rebuild the town every four to five decades, but that's not the point. Everything is better after the storm. You can't and don't see it while you're in it, but it is. It will be.
His is one of many stories I know. They contrast with what was lost, but taken as a whole, I do not know any person that went through Katrina that is not now in a much better place for it. Share your stories, you won't have to think hard. There is a bright side to destruction, it is Romans 8:28.
- After Alabama Tornadoes (John Archibald, Birmingham News)