Ted Kennedy and NOLA
He and Vicki personally not only contributed to agencies helping the disaster survivors, Vicki also encouraged others to do so:
The people of the Gulf Coast are suffering horrible devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Some have said that this is the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history, and officials fear that thousands of lives will be lost. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes. They need food, water, clothing and a roof over their heads. From Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama and even to Florida where Katrina first landed before barreling on towards New Orleans, our fellow human beings are in dire need of our help.
I grew up in Louisiana and have a large family and many friends who are still there. I spent my college and law school years in New Orleans, and I have a special love of that city and her people. So I am feeling this pain in a very personal way. But you don’t have to be from the Gulf Coast to understand the magnitude of the human tragedy that we are witnessing on our television sets every day. In that special, American way, people across our great country are asking what they can do, and how they can help. That’s why I’m writing you.
I hope that you can join Ted and me in making a contribution to the Red Cross or the Catholic Charities….
The people of the Gulf Coast are strong and resilient, and they have the character and determination to get through these terrible days. But for many, those days will turn into months and weeks and even years of hardship and heartbreak. Your help and support will make all the difference in the world to so many families. In some cases it will make the difference between life and death.
After Katrina and the federal flood, Kennedy, aware that people had been unwilling to evacuate because they didn’t want to leave cherished pets behind, could relate to their predicament because of his own beloved dogs Splash and Sunny. He decided to co-sponsor a PETS Act to prevent such problems in the future by allowing people to evacuate with their pets.
"I wouldn’t leave the house without Sunny and Splash," he said. "It’s no surprise that so many people in New Orleans flat-out refused to be rescued if they couldn’t take their pets with them."
Kennedy also called, albeit unsuccessfuly, for a cabinet-level Gulf Coast Redevelopment Authority. It is unfortunate that this idea did not come to fruition because perhaps had it been in existence more progress would have been made at rebuilding the Gulf Region. One must wonder if, had Kennedy been healthy enough to influence Obama in this regard, one such cabinet post would have come into existence.
All in all, Ted Kennedy, who passed at a time coincidentally close to the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the federal flood, can be remembered as a friend of New Orleans and her people and those of the rest of the Gulf Region.