I was on my way to work this morning after listening to gruesome and horrifying NPR reports from Louisiana and Mississippi, and I couldn’t help but recall the terrible 1997 Red River Valley flood of Grand Forks, North Dakota. I recalled the copy editor’s dream headline “Come hell and high water” that leapt off the front page of the April 20, 1997, Grand Forks Herald. (There’s an interesting back story here about the perseverance of journalists, despite the flooding and burning down of the newspaper’s headquarters, for those who care to read it. This small-town paper won a Pulitzer for their remarkable coverage.)
“Well,” I thought, “as much as New Orleans is dealing with — and it’s a lot — at least they don’t have fires on top of it all.” That’s something, right?
When I got to work and opened the New York Times online, I saw that a chemical plant near the French Quarter had exploded. So much for the luxury of no fires.