The Heart of the Storm

Katrina gave her rage and wrath,

Spat out a city frail and blind;

Those who survived were shown no path,

And broken hearts were left behind.

 

The second line of pain arrived,

As gloom and sorrow now combined;

Not everything could be revived,

And broken hearts were left behind.

 

These bleeding, broken, ten-year dreams,

To which their lives are still entwined;

The hospitals burst at the seams,

And broken hearts were left behind.

 

Katrina gave her rage and wrath,

And broken hearts were left behind.

 

Small "shotgun" style house in the Bayou St. John neighbourhood has a heart painted over the mark of the post-storm search & rescue team (Photo Credit: Infrogmation).
Small “shotgun” style house in the Bayou St. John neighbourhood has a heart painted over the mark of the post-storm search & rescue team (Photo Credit: Infrogmation).

 

This is a Kyrielle Sonnet, inspired by recent research, which found that following Hurricane Katrina the number of heart attacks that were suffered  in New Orleans were significantly higher than they had been before the storm. By comparing the average number of hospital admissions for heart attacks for the three years before the storm to the average number over the ten years following the storm, researchers found three times as many patients suffering from heart attacks were being admitted. They also found a significant increase in coronary artery disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Patients were also more than twice as likely to abuse drugs and/or to have a psychiatric disease.

This study was only observational, and so has not yet found a medical cause for the increase in these health issues, and it should also be noted that the results are based only on the patients at a single hospital, the Tulane Medical Center.

 

An audio version of the poem can be heard here.

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