Cousins galloped horses down sandy roads shaded by Live oaks. That was out near Lake Ponchartrain. Years later, those same cousins became attorneys and urban environmental officers. Family reunions around New Orleans were highlighted by Cajun cooking - gumbo and hot sausage. All the Louisiana cousins had put on considerable weight by their early forties.
Some other Virginia cousins retired to Bay St. Louis far from the urban chaos of New Orleans and the petrochemical factories east of town. They were retired fighter pilots. Bill Moyers had once done an extensive expose on bone cancers and other hazardous exposures generated by these same factories.
There was another cousin, the religious nut of the family. He had come with a cadre of evangelical Christians to do a Jericho march down Bourbon Street during Mardi gras. They sang and converted drag queens to Jesus. Hallelujah!
In the nineties, casinos moved in to depressed southern coastal towns along the Mississippi coast. It was big money at its worst - southern comfort. A small community where southern hospitality was the glue of poor folks was replaced. Drug smuggling from Columbia cartels and laundering money through casinos became the order of the day. Republican politicians quickly jumped into the pocket of organized crime like a mob of crows.
Then there was the time, the religious nut was hitchhiking through New Orleans in the early seventies. Predatory homosexuals frequented the Interstate making this gauntlet a challenge for even the most daring hitchhiker.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina came ashore just east of New Orleans and everyone thought they had been spared the worst. Trouble was that half the National Guard was over in Iraq fighting a criminal war. The levies around the city broke. If you have ever played with mud as a kid or built a sand castle on the beach; once the tide comes in, all hell breaks loose.
The religious nut had a brother that lived on a yacht. In the summer that brother would moor his yacht in the eastern part of the Bahamas and fly in to work in the Miami-metro Dade area. It was that brother that asked the Big Question. He knew the history of the Caribbean. It seemed to him, there had once been a wicked city that forgot about Mother Nature.
Once known as the 'Wickedest City on Earth,' Port Royal on the island of Jamaica was one of the largest towns in the English colonies during the late 17th century. It was a haven for privateers and pirates, such as the famed Sir Henry Morgan, due to its excellent geographic location in the middle of the Caribbean. From Port Royal, these buccaneers preyed upon and plundered the heavily laden treasure fleets from the Spanish Main.
After 1670, the importance of Port Royal and Jamaica to England was increasingly due to trade in slaves, sugar, and raw materials. It soon became the mercantile center of the Caribbean area, with vast amounts of goods flowing in and out of the port through an expansive trade network.
Unfortunately, the glory of Port Royal was short-lived. On the morning of June 7th, 1692, a massive earthquake hit Jamaica. The tremors rocked the sandy peninsula on which the town was built, causing buildings to slide and disappear beneath the sea. An estimated 2,000 Port Royalists were killed immediately in the disaster. Many more perished from injuries and disease in the following days.
The answer to the Big Question, WHY?, is easy to answer. If you are the President of the United States and science becomes a threat to your regime, eliminate science from the curriculum. Pull out of the Kyoto Accord. Climate Change is a myth. Warmer ocean temperatures do not become the driver of increasingly severe hurricanes that ravage coastal shores.