The Katrina Deniers

* make us famous

Like most recent transplants to New Orleans, my only exposure to Hurricane Katrina was the horrific imagery portrayed by the national media. How can one forget the devastating damage brought upon the people and places of the lower Ninth Ward, the flooding and wind damage to the surrounding area, and the emotional impact of the storm throughout America and across the world?

I pose this question to anyone whose eyes were transfixed to their television throughout that terrible catastrophe and its aftermath: have you visited the lower Ninth Ward since that time of infamy? I have. I walked its streets, ventured to one of its gas stations, gave the man behind the counter a sheath of bills in exchange for a pack of cigarettes. And I took something from the experience. Which is this: Hurricane Katrina is the biggest conspiracy since the first moon landing.

Hurricane Katrina Was Staged

I witnessed lively people, some of them white, the ones edgy and hip enough to not be bothered by the rumors of danger. I saw civilization: houses standing tall and spaced disproportionally apart as if three or four more houses could have been built in between them; wide lawns, well-paved sidewalks and streets. I walked safely through the neighborhood, never begged of for coin, not the crack of a spent pistol ever heard, no lifeless body in my path.

It was dry; nary a puddle. Am I to believe that all that water sank into the elusive mud that my feet never once tromped through? That those floating bodies just up and disintegrated, to litter the lawns as particulate matter? Ruins of ancient and decaying landmarks swept into the gutter as if they had no business being erected in the first place, dismissed as city-auction, vacant properties dropped into the hands of real estate developers?

Where was the war zone? Where is the refugee camp, now branded Mercedes-Benz? The only conclusion that can be made is that Hurricane Katrina never happened; it’s all a conspiracy.

The land had been drawn of all its oil, this port town once so pivotal to this country was being overlooked by wealthier waterfronts. Industry had all but disappeared. The city’s economic deliverance seemed possible on only two fronts: the tourism advertised in every paper and on every screen (“Come see the place that care forgot!”), and an entertainment industry (in danger of a distribution crisis by the digital tide) poised for an influx of tax breaks to secure its profit margin. After all, who but Hollywood South could provide enough phony hurricane footage to fill a 24 hour news cycle?

But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself. Anyone who has spent any time in a peaceful suburb will feel right at home. The people are friendly, the houses few and far between, the air is quiet along its dimly lit streets, and never before have I ever seen such lush and healthy grass.