Who can empathize more with New Yorkers dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy than residents of New Orleans who lived through the death and destruction brought by Hurricane Katrina? In order to connect the two communities and give the persevering residents of the Big Easy a way to offer their support to Gotham City, freelance journalist Andy Kopsa has started the heartwarming Tumblr NOLA to New York.
Kopsa lives in New York City but used to call New Orleans home—she's actually in New Orleans right now, waiting to get back to New York City. "So while I am pacing, worried about my husband, friends and my city, I thought up this project," Kopsa writes on the blog's "About" page. "Who better than the people of New Orleans to talk to the people of NYC right now. They know, they lived through Katrina. They are still living with it seven years later," she says. Indeed, a section of the Tumblr features photos of several places in New Orleans that are still not back to normal.
New Yorkers have to be prepared for that same reality so Kopsa is asking current or former New Orleans residents that "lived through the nightmare of Katrina" to "please write on a piece of paper what it is you would say to the people of New York if you could," and then take a photo and send it in.
One New Orleanian, DeShawn wrote, "Be patient. Waiting in long lines for simple means of survival is frustrating, but look at the bigger picture. All material possessions can be replaced. Your life is the most valuable thing you have…YOU SURVIVED!!"
Still another resident, Heather—pictured above—offers some especially poignant advice:
"Lastly, remember this: When you think the nation has moved on in the days of 24 hour cable news, think again. New Orleans intimately knows your pain and we are thinking of each of you in the long term. We are holding you up in prayer in your darkest moments. We have walked in your shoes. Keep your chin up. Take it day by day. And, don't ever forget NOLA loves y'all!”
Kopsa hopes to be heading back to New York City this weekend but, given that the recovery from Sandy is likely to take some time, if you lived through Katrina and have something you'd like to share, she'll still be accepting submissions. And if you know someone affected by Sandy, pass NOLA to New York along. We have a feeling they'll appreciate it.
Photo courtesy of NOLA to New York/Heather