Commentary: Being resilient and having resolve. That’s New Orleans.

Commentary: Being resilient and having resolve. That’s New Orleans.
September 08
15:12 2021

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do is a time-honored expression. As you grow older, that phrase takes on more significance. 

Senior soldiers often say if nothing has happened to you, just keep on living.

We are all getting ready for a storm, are in a storm, or just went through a storm. That is the living of life we will all have to experience.

None of us are exempt.

Recently, the City of New Orleans prepared for a storm, went through a storm, and is now getting out of a storm.

I live in New Orleans and I am proud to be here. It is without a doubt one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Being on the Gulf Coast means having a hurricane season each year. The hurricane season begins in June and ends in November. The tropical disturbance forecast is always a signal for us. When we hear it is headed into the Gulf of Mexico, our senses are heightened and our antennas go up, I mean way up.

The preparation for a Gulf disturbance means stocking up on supplies. The basics are necessary. The provisions in some ways depend upon the storm and the status of the evacuation.

During these storms, sometimes we stay and other times, we go.

It also depends upon whether we have lights and power. Some people use generators. However, reports suggest that unless you use them properly, you may pass away.

Some residents decided to leave the city and some chose to shelter in place. We left.

When you evacuate a city, there is anxiety and apprehension attached to it. Staying away from your home under these circumstances is emotional.

Hurricane Ida reached the Louisiana coast on Monday, Aug. 26. There was heavy rain. The wind speed when it made landfall was approximately 150 miles per hour.

Because of transformer and electrical problems, the city of New Orleans went dark shortly after the hurricane. Remaining residents had no power. Everything stopped in the Crescent City.

Memories of Hurricane Katrina started to creep into the minds of many, whether you stayed in New Orleans or you did not. Katrina is still a defining moment in the history of New Orleans.

The difference in my opinion between Katrina and Ida is that we were better prepared and the levees did not break. The levees held, which meant there was minimal flooding in the city.

Power has been restored back to New Orleans. The lights are on and people are returning to the city. The circumstances were ripe for our people to give up, but we became stronger and more courageous. These are intangible qualities that have been passed down from previous generations. It is an unspeakable sense of faith and stamina that permeates the culture here.

My wife and in-laws are native New Orleanians. I am inspired and motivated by them. They don’t give up and they refuse to give in, no matter the conditions.

So now, Hurricane Ida has moved on after creating a path of destruction in our state. Some areas were ravaged by this storm.

It is now time to rebuild and to restock. 

FEMA has set up hotlines and call centers. President Joe Biden visited the state last Friday. He is behind the state’s efforts to rebuild.

So, we are picking ourselves back up again. This will not be the last hurricane. That is a fact of life.

New Orleans is a city made up of residents who do not give in to fear. We give in to faith.

There is a scripture about having faith. When you can, read Luke 17:6.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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