Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lessons Learned from Rita

This one will not be nearly as theological or spiritual as my post about Katrina... but I figured I would post a few thoughts on this most recent hurricane that has affected our area.

1. Never Evacuate To The North East In A Hurricane
  • I think most people realize this... and I even realized it in theory. But I still sought refuge in Alexandria, LA during this storm. The good news was the my evacuation time out of Houston was normal... the bad news was that the roads between Alexandria and Houston were ravaged by Rita (thus making my return trip much longer as I had to avoid all the road closures)

2. As Much As We Plan... Stuff Still Happens

  • As people evacuated, the turmoil created on the highways was astounding to me. The good news was that people were kept out of "harm's way," but the bad news was that many people experienced frustration beyond anything they had experienced to that point. Just further proof that man's plans are foolishness. And all that we do is still subject to God's ultimate plan.

3. Texas Is A Better State Than Louisiana

  • As much as it pains me to say it... the proof is right there for all to see. Texas was ready... Louisiana wasn't. Granted, Katrina gave the nation a view into how important it is to be prepared for the worst case scenario. But I think Texas would have been as efficient as it was this past weekend even if Katrina hadn't happened. This is my favorite quote thus far: "My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional." - FEMA Director Michael Brown Again, I hate to say it... but he is right. However, I still think Texans are arrogant. But arrogance isn't always a bad thing, I guess... :-)

19 comments:

Erin said...

glad to see you have crossed over to the texas side, my friend. our pride truly knows no bounds :)

Aimee said...

Todd, I'd have to agree. I too am from Louisiana and it pains me to admit it as well! My family that still lives there tell us horror stories all of the time. I guess the old saying that "Everything is bigger in Texas" holds true even to our kindness and generosity. God Bless Texas!

dovie said...

I'm a Texan and know I'm arrogant about it...but don't feel any remorse over that for the very reasons you've stated here. It also helps when you can be arrogant about Texas in one breath, and make fun of it in the other. Watch:

1. Texas ROCKS.
2. Texans are morons b/c it's the only state where we boast about the fact that ALL THE WORLD knows who we are because they want to know who shot JR Ewing...while at the same time HATING the fact that all the world thinks we're a bunch of cowboy-hat wearin', oil company ownin', boot scootin' rednecks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Texans, pride goeth before a fall...from your friendly native New Mexican ! Get a life, it's not all about Texas...the world is a bigger place. I say this in all the love I can muster :) Jeff

Jeff said...

hey, check out Stan's site for how smart those Texas Aggies are during a hurricane !!!!

Steven W. Murray said...

Remember ... it's not arrogance if it's based on truth. ;-)

I agree ... while we did learn some particulars from what happened during Katrina, I do believe that we were better prepared.

And I'm looking forward to the first case study written to compare/contrast the leadership styles of Nagin in New Orleans vs. White in Houston and Thomas in Galveston. I bet business schools and leadership development programs will be studying that for years to come!

Troy said...

Something to consider- New Orleans had a much higher percentage of the population that was dependent on mass transit. That being said, New Orleans should have had a plan for getting their citizens out of harms way.

While a case study on the federal, state, and local governments' response to these hurricanes would be interesting, several of the key factors in these storms were significantly different.

Disclaimer: I am not native to Texas or Louisiana. And for this I am very thankful, for various and ridiculous reasons. :)

Anonymous said...

Texans are arrogant like Christians (and dare I say Calvinists) are arrogant...when you know the truth, you just want to share it.

Shanna said...

Dear anonymous,
Great answer. Will you marry me?

leslie said...

oh my gosh, Shanna did you really just say that?!

hilarious!

Todd- great post!

check out my blog

Todd Richards said...

And yet you shared that anonymously... hmmmm.

Arshunda said...

Seems to me like there's a lot of LA-bashin' going on here. Not that it's all bad, but I feel I must stick up for the state listed on my birth certificate, the state I called home for most of my life, and the place to which I retreat when needing some country living. I, alas, am from the north. North Louisiana, that is. A place that has the reputation for being snooty and looking down their noses at the "uncivilized" folks in the southern part of the state. However, here's the deal: I love the state. I love the fact that everything is not bigger there like it is here.

As far as preparedness for the respective hurricanes, I can say this: the best was done with resources available in all cases. This is where everything being bigger in Texas came in handy. Even with the "great job" done here in Texas, there are critics who feel like this or that should have been done this way or that way. It's easy to say now that something was done incorrectly, but I'd be willing to bet that any of us would probably make similar decisions, and be faced with the same types of criticism. Hindsight is 20/20 after all, so let the finger-pointing and blame-placing begin.

Texans--be proud of Texas. That's great. More power to you. However, I want to urge the Louisiana peeps to stand up for their state as well. Louisiana. My home state and a great place despite the critics (in my humble opinion). Laissez les bontemps roulez!! *plink* *plink*

Todd Richards said...

Nice defense, Arshunda...

Todd Richards said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve C. said...

I'm unable to accept the first or third "conclusions" as absolute. But since no one else will discuss it, let's start deal with the first one: "Never evacuate to the North East In a Hurricane"

To make a broad statement like that is irresonsible. If Rita had stayed on the path that was projected at 4 PM on Wednesday evening, with an estimation of landfall near Matagorda Bay, then which direction would you have had Corpus Christi residents head towards? For Hurrican Stan that recently hit El Salvador, wouldn't you have advised folks there to head northeast towards the Texas/Mexico border if they could?

The better "Lesson Learned" is, unless you are being evacuated due to low lying areas, to determine approximately where the hurricane is most likely to hit and its projected path. Then depending on where you are in relation to the strike point and the projected path, you should go PERPENDICULAR to the path without crossing the path. In the case of Katrina, if you were in New Orleans that would mean heading northeastwards towards Pensacola and Atlanta (even if that is to the northeast of where you started) or westward towards Lake Charles, Beaumont and Houston. In the case of Rita, if you were in Houston that would mean westward or southwestward towards Columbus, San Antonio or Corpur Christi. In the case of Stan, that would mean northward towards the Texas coast.

"Stuff Still Happens" is probably the most profound statement inthe post.

"Texas Is A Better State Than . . . " makes me cringe. As a native Texan and a dyed in the wool Longhorn, I can spoof and have fun about alot of things burnt orange and all. It is one thing to even think your statement, but to actually say something like that out loud . . . ouch! The vast majority of folks who live where they do outside of the State of Texas do not necessarily have a lot of say in the matter. God has placed them there for a reason, either in their familial line, or work opportunities, or mission activities, or whatever. Regardless of how someone ended up in a particular location, it is not necessarily God's intention or plan for a particular person to live the remainder of his or her life in the "Better State". Regardless of what the newspaper headlines say, Houston did not "dodge a bullet". It is only by the grace of God that Houston wasn't severly crippled or wiped off of the face of the map. And it is only by the hand of God that New Orleans is a wake-up call to all of the wrath and judgment of God, not that Katrina even measures up to a smidgen of what God will do in the final judgment.

Hook 'Em!

Steve C. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Todd Richards said...

Steve C.... I appreciate your comments, but please remember that my post was meant to be in jest. I was not offering any of those items as absolutes. And regarding the last one... unfortunately, you are not privy to the jokes about me being from Lousy-anna... and how much Texas is better that Louisiana... and all that. I was all meant to be funny. But again... I appreciate your comments. By the way, do I happen to know you but just don't realize I know you?

Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane housing or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!

Stacy said...

so i'm a couple of months late, but i just found your blog todd, so sue me. as a native of north louisiana and a recent resident of southwest la, i must put in my two cents. yes katrina was a disaster and blanco displayed for all the world to see why i didn't vote for her. but i must draw your attention to my former homestead, lake charles, la, which withstood the brunt of rita. that place including homes, hospitals, and nursing homes was deserted before rita came ashore. and though it looks like a bomb went off affecting most homes, streets, churches, and businesses, no lives were lost because no one was there. sure most homes including my former apartment now bear blue tarps but everyone's alive to put that tarp on the roof. so even though my state is considered the butt crack of the u.s. (yeah, i said it) there are many in this state that do have a clue. you just didn't see any of them on tv because, well, they all evacuated.