A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Surviving Sandy

Storm surf kicked up by the high winds from Hurricane Sandy break onto homes in Southampton, New York

By Meghan Lalonde

Last Monday, Hurricane Sandy took New York and New Jersey by storm. And if losing power was the biggest imposition to your daily schedule, well, then you’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the tri-state area has been left with an estimated $50 billion in damage. Lower Manhattan was dark and flooded for nearly a week, and the Jersey Shore decimated.

Since all the LASIS reporters are students at New York Law School in TriBeCa, many of us were stranded inside the belly of the beast, uncertain how the school, our friends and families, or the surrounding areas would fare.

I hunkered down in New Jersey, where I’d been for the weekend, and watched the lights flicker until finally everything went dark and stayed that way for several days. Other members of the LASIS team were left in flooded buildings, watching transformers explode, or crowded around radios without power and water. One of us was even ambitious enough to do some reading for class by strapping on a battery-powered headlamp.

We were in as much contact as possible with each other, thanks largely to our Google Group for this site and our iPhones. We checked in regularly to see that the others were safe. Thankfully, we were.

After the storm cleared there was more damage than most anticipated and the tragic stories came pouring in like the tidal waves that overwhelmed the subway system and beaches.

We learned that one of our reporters went outside to help cut downed trees on a neighbor’s lawn, others offered up their couches to friends who’d been displaced.  Several of us were donating clothes, food, anything we could.

It wasn’t enough.

Good will come of this and in some ways, it already has.

I don’t remember a clearer showing of bipartisanship than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s praise of President Obama’s quick and efficient offering of federal support. Utility workers from all of the country, including as far as Utah, Michigan, and Texas, who drove overnight to offer their assistance. After Mayor Michael Bloomberg cancelled the New York City Marathon, hundreds of would-be marathon participants boarded a Staten Island ferry to volunteer.

There’s lots of work to be done, so let’s get to it.

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