Sunday, September 18, 2005

NOLA must rebuild its cultural, as well as its economic, strength

This is what New Orlenas-born jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis told a roomful of government and business leaders gathered in Houston to discuss the city's future.

Marsalis and others participating in the Dallas meeting predicted that if the diverse peoples of New Orleans do not return, its distinctive neighborhoods, musical inspirations and culinary traditions probably won't, either.

The meeting was conducted under the shadow of the suggestion by the Mayor Nagin-appointed head of the Regional Transit Authority who suggested to the Wall Street Journal earlier "some people who want to rebuild the city foresee a town with a new demographic of fewer poor people."

Whitney National Bank President King Milling, who participated in the Dallas meeting, said that despite all the obstacles, he is hopeful consensus can be formed on a recovery plan.

"We can create a better community in the long run with the same sensibilities and culture," said Milling, who is white.

What is not clear is what role state and federal officials will play in supporting, or hindering, this vision of the city.

The story is here.

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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