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One of the world's greatest cities has been turned into a hellish nightmare of death and destruction where chaos reigns. One of the few cities in America that had retained its cultural heritage, New Orleans is now in ruins. The people of Crescent City barely survived Hurricane Katrina when the levees broke the next day and flooded the city famous for its music and food.

News accounts report that 80% of the city is under water and hundreds, possibly thousands, of people have died. There is no electricity or communications and there are gas leaks. Police have joined ranks with looters to fill shopping carts at Wal-Mart. Dead bodies float in the toxic flood waters as people wade or swim through the mess to find shelter.

Thousands of refugees are in the Super Dome with no air conditioning and no water as toilets overflow with human waste. Hungry and frustrated people wait for promised assistance, but help is slow coming. Others are resorting to violence and looting. There are even some people still waiting to be rescued from rooftops.

Some people blame the Army Corps of Engineers for using their resources for rescue operations instead of repairing the breached levees immediately. Local police have since been pulled off rescue operations to focus on looters. Some people blame Bush for cutting money for disaster prevention by 44%.

Some Christians have even blamed the tragedy on gay people bringing down God's wrath. I have not heard of anyone claiming it is God's revenge for destroying Fallujah. Maybe it is Biloxi that is God's revenge for Fallujah.

There are some lessons that can be learned by what happened to New Orleans. First, don't count on the federal government to protect you or rescue you from disaster. The feds took the local National Guard that could be relied on to help in such situations and sent them to Iraq for reasons that remain unclear.

The federal government also took billions in tax money away from Louisiana and promised to improve the levees. If the citizens there had not been robbed of their tax money, maybe they could have fixed the levee problems themselves. Meanwhile, FEMA claims that security considerations are preventing them from responding to what may be the greatest disaster in American history.

The second lesson to be learned is that the awesome and humbling force of nature is even more powerful than all the pompous politicians combined - even more powerful than Imperial President Bush. Those awesome forces of nature serve to remind us that life is precious and temporary. Life should be enjoyed and celebrated rather than spent toiling away at meaningless tasks to pay taxes and glorify the establishment elite.

There is nothing that can be done to undo what has happened in New Orleans. We can hope that Fats Domino and all of the other missing people turn up alive and well. We can send a few dollars to help pay for immediate needs like food, shelter and medical care.

I understand that the Salvation Army has responded to the call in New Orleans. You can donate to them by phoning 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

UPDATE: Fats has been found and is safe!

This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.