I've seen a great deal of the US but somehow I have never managed to make it to New Orleans. (This is where E steps up and reminds me of all the times he's invited me to go there with him. To which all I can say is: you're right. I should have made it work at least once.) As a student of architecture and a lover of cities, this is the aspect of these tragedies that I often end up focusing on. The human toll is too much, too terrible, too difficult to conceptualize. Easier to grieve for the beautiful cemeteries, the old buildings, the cityscape. It was much the same after 9/11 -- the loss of life was awful and I felt it, but it was too distant to really mourn in any personal way. I knew the Twin Towers; they were old friends. I had visited them and studied them and always meant to climb to the top of them someday (I never made it up there, either). It was the loss I felt most keenly that day and during the weeks following. If that makes me cold and heartless so be it.
My thoughts are with anyone who has friends or family down there, or who loves the city and is grieving its loss.