Following New York City's experience with a devastating, city-changing hurricane, many have drawn some parallels between New Orleans after Katrina and post-Sandy New York this week. Perhaps nothing drives that point home better than the moving Tumblr Nola to New York. Created by freelance journalist Andy Kopsa, a New Yorker who once lived in New Orleans, the site asks people who lived through Katrina to write their messages of support to New Yorkers. The result is been touching, to say the least.
Of course, the comparison between the two post-hurricane disaster zones isn't perfect—Katrina left more than a thousand dead in the area and displaced hundreds of thousands more. There was looting, crime, and chaotic days and nights in the Superdome. Recovery from the disaster has been long. Sandy has displaced many, and destroyed homes. But this evening, many of Manhattan's refugees will return downtown to power. People in Queens, Staten Island, and the Rockaways aren't so lucky. And overall, the death toll from Sandy stands at 41 for the city and nearly 100 in the U.S.
But regardless of any dissimilarities, the people who experienced Katrina definitely understand what the people in the Tri-State area are going through, and the kind of empathy they deserve. (Kindness, unfortunately, was not all that New Orleans got following Katrina, when many outside had a "serves you right" attitude.) On Monday, before we knew how bad it would be, Times Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry in a prescient column described the special relationship that would form: "But no matter how bad it gets, the people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will be able to empathize. Many of us lost just about everything -- but not our capacity to reach out to victims of other storms with kindness," he wrote. Nola to New York proves how true that is.
Of course, the people of New Orleans understand what happens post-hurricane on a practical level, too. The city sent up its pumps to help drain the New York City subway system. It also offered up some of its workers to do the work. And, for all those people who have damaged homes, the people of Nola put together this guide to fixing your house, published in The Times Picayune. Not only does New Orleans get you, New York. It's also got your back. That has to feel pretty nice right now.