Where is Gaia,
when we need Her most?
A guest editorial by Kenaz Filan.
At 6:10 a.m. CDT on August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. By 11:00 a.m. several of the levees which separate New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain had been breached. The birthplace of Dixieland Jazz, Mardi Gras, and New Orleans Vodou soon lay submerged beneath a stinking cocktail of brackish water, raw sewage, and petro-chemicals. People asked “where were the lwa? How could they let something like this happen to their city?
any theological issues deal with nebulous abstractions, but the question of suffering is always direct and straightforward. We cannot help but be concerned about homeless children, about shattered families, about old people dying of exposure and young women raped by roving gangs of thugs.
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina throws the question of suffering in our face. Few cities rivaled New Orleans for its concentration of Witches, magicians, sorcerers, rootworkers, and other Spiritually Aware Folks. It has long been known as the Vodou Capital of America: if any city in the United States was home to the lwa and the spirits, it was New Orleans. And yet all of that magical power was not enough to turn away a hurricane or to hold the levees in place. What does Hurricane Katrina tell us about our magic, or about the spirits we serve and the gods we honor? These are not easy questions, but they demand an answer nonetheless.