The Meaning of American Life is to be a good consumer. It's that simple. The American infrastructure and culture support this life style. The American Government defends and depends on the laws and morals which value money more than individuals. It is not respect for human life and dignity that motivates government goodwill, but rather how it will affect the American consumer's ability to consume.
THE long term effects that really matter, concerning hurricane Katrina 2005, are the effects on "the economy".
Around 1 million jobless, according to current best-guesstimates-ish untold businesses destroyed inventory losses oil production and refinery capacity reduced food exports/imports affect on Mississippi traffic All those newly homeless can not be easily assimilated or accommodated once relocated. etc why is looting during such an emergency considered so bad? Why do "they" also protect business locations while rescue operations are ongoing?
Mardi Gras 2006 should be a goal. Whatever the state of repairs down south, we should have that celebration. It would be to remember those lost, our own failures in dealing with this catastrophe, and to celebrate life.