May
2006

death toll still rising

Nola.com reports the latest numbers of Katrina-related deaths. Here’s a passage I find most interesting:

…weeks after it made landfall Aug. 29, Hurricane Katrina kept claiming Louisiana victims, often in more subtle fashion and often in other states: elderly and ill evacuees too fragile for grueling trips on gridlocked highways, infants stillborn to mothers who were shuttled to other cities when they should have been on bed rest and residents overcome with anxiety by 24-hour television broadcasts of the devastation back home.

The last part of this is fascinating and links to the work I’ve read of Bessel van der Kolk [see page 5 of the PDF “The Limits of Talk”]. Being left helpless in a strange city and separated from where the trauma occured can be more mentally devastating than being there, evacuees want nothing more than to physically do something. They don’t want to talk or reflect; they want to move on, check on their homes, rebuild, save pets, find tangible memories…unfortunately, as this article reports, many lives were lost to such anxiety.

As you know, my focus of study is, what about those who went online to try and do something? How did that inform the traditional media’s reporting of the hurricane? How can trauma theory be used to articulate and analyze those moves?

I can’t wait to start writing! I ordered several more items from Amazon today to keep my work up-to-date and comprehensive: Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge : A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival and the 2005 Complete Guide to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster – Federal Reports, Government Response, Science Reports, Devastation to Louisiana, New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama dvd. It’s been pretty difficult to read about the goings on of that week in late-August, but I have to make sure that I contribute something, even if it is in dissertation form rather than physical labor.

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