In the year since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other coastal areas of the American south, the birth rate of New Orleans has jumped an amazing 39%, May 2005 to May 2006.
Citizens, medical professionals, and counselors have said this increase in the birth rate can be explained in these ways: an inability to attain birth control support, a lack of electricity and television so therefore more snuggling and what comes with it, the fact that there are more younger people returning to the city than older people, a logical outcome of people seeking comfort in one another, the fact that people had more to worry about than contraception, sex is a stress reliever, or a conscious attempt to do something that restored direction and a future to a family’s life. Some people think it’s also a sign of the city’s renaissance. In any event, a baby boom of this magnitude is a very interesting phenomenon.
I don’t want to over-theologize or spiritualize it, but I do believe “life” in the face of death and destruction is a compelling expression of the human psyche’s deep seated understanding that human beings are or should be eternal. Experiencing the loss of many human lives is an affront to this sense of ourselves. Whether or not people are religious, they know that human beings matter.
We want to scream, “No,” in the face of something like an overpowering hurricane that seems to suggest that human beings are no more significant than flotsam and jetsam. Babies are one way to scream “No.”
I salute the new little ones, and I salute the people of New Orleans and the coastal region in their efforts to rebuild. New life is about hope, and human beings are lost without hope.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
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