A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker
A Note From the Editor: AS you
read Joseph’s column about Katrina,
I have never actually been to Belle Chasse, La.
At least, not in person.
But it feels like I have. This column has appeared there for a number of years in both of its weekly newspapers, The Plaquemines Watchman and The Plaquemines Gazette, so I know a few people there.
Well, OK, I have corresponded from time to time with Theresa, who works with the two papers. That’s sort of like knowing someone, isn’t it?
In fact, I just received a note from Theresa. I read it the same day I heard that they were
At first, it all seemed a little surreal and disjointed. It was a still, clear, balmy late summer day where I live, so it was difficult to picture the meteorological chaos that was raging half a continent away. But the news footage convinced me that there was every reason to be concerned about Theresa and her colleagues in Belle Chase. I wanted to do something, to reach out in a meaningful way to people who had stood by me and supported me and showed and infinite amount of patience with me through the years.
Even with all of the technological wonders of our times, there are severe limitations on our ability to be as instantly benevolent as we’d like to be in times of crisis and need. Remember how we felt last year during the Malaysian tsunami, when it turned out to be ever so much easier to transmit to us the horrifying photographic evidence of natural disaster than it was to transport to them the rescue equipment and relief supplies that were so sorely needed? We felt that same feeling again these past few weeks, as we helplessly watched live television coverage of what was just the most recent illustration of how puny and impotent humankind is in the face of Mother Nature’s boundless capacity for devastation and destruction.
Meteorologists identified Katrina and tracked her as she made her way
And yet, for all of the advance warning that modern science and communications
could provide, lives were still lost and billions of dollars in damages were
inflicted. Technology allowed us to
watch it happen live and in
So in the middle of all of the news coverage that held America transfixed, I stepped away from CNN and roamed around the office to find a quiet place where I could do the only thing I could do for my friends in Belle Chasse: pray.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of the sobering words of President Abraham Lincoln nearly a century and a half ago: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”
Especially if it was a day like that one in Belle Chasse.
# # #
For more ValueSpeak, please visit http://www.sfpnn.com/joseph_walker1.htm
E-mail Joseph at: email@example.com
Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com.