Monday, January 30, 2006

New Orleans Betrayed

The editorial behind the title of this entry from the Washington Post sums up what the current administration is doing to New Orleans.

The editorial follows on the heels of several articles published this weekend, including Post-Katrina Promises Unfulfilled and New Orleans Feels Cast Adrift.

Cast Adrift. Betrayed. Promises Unfulfilled.

I have never felt less of an American. And, Mr. President, you guys in Congress, I don't really care.

I don't really care because, by this time tomorrow, I will be irretrievably committed on the road to coming once again a New Orleanian.

My wife has found us a house, and I'll wire her the earnest money. I will tell my current employer that we're moving. It's done. No turning back.

Whatever it takes, we are committed to New Orleans. We are willing to gamble because we think the whole Bush thing is an aberration, that the American experiment is not a failure, that the campaign of division and fear his party has waged for a generation has not yet destroyed the capability of Americans to respond in defense of their fellow citizens.

We are risking it because we know if you or your successor does not step up to the task, the next hurricane may well take out the port for good, and collapse the Midwest's farm economy, or permanently cut off 25% of the nation's oil supply. Without levees and coastal restoration, it's just a matter of time before the nation is brought economically to its knees. It won't matter then where we live. We might as well be home.

We are going because I've never lost the deepest allegiance I've ever held: to my city. We have always known we were a people different and unique, as divided as we may seem. That sense of identify as a New Orleanian is the powerful bond that draws me on. It is the deep love of country that drives me--of my country, New Orleans and southern Louisiana. It is the irrational emotional attachment to my piece of America that leads men and women to go willingly up Bunker Hill, to follow General Pickett, to volunteer for Iraq.

If you were a real Texan and not a pretender, you might understand. You might know the words to Gary P. Nunn's "London Homesick Blues”, the part that goes “'Cause when a Texan fancies,/he'll take his chances, / chances will be taken.” Or perhaps you’d know Guy Clark’s song "L.A. Freeway", especially the chorus: “If I can just get off of this LA freeway Without getting killed or caught I'd be down that road in a cloud of smoke For some land that I ain't bought bought bought.”

But you're no Texan. And you and your chicken-hawk friends have never had to face those sort of decisions, so I don't expect you to understand. A life of assured privilege has protected you from having to take these sort of risks, to find the strength to get up and go into the maw of uncertainty, to risk and gamble your own and not other peoples lives or money. You can pledge allegiance or sing the anthem or give a stirring speech as well as any, but you know you have no allegiance except self-interest.

If nothing moves you except your own self-interest, then consider this.

There are hundreds of thousands of us, scattered throughout most of the United States. We are everywhere you and your party will go to campaign: Arkansas and Atlanta and Austin, Dallas and Detroit and Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Baltimore and Boston, Chicago and Charlotte. Many will remain there indefinitely, unable to go home, precisely because you have lied to them and betrayed them.

We will not let you escape from the net of lies you have woven. Wherever you turn, you will find us, ready to call you out. Vicksburg MS fell to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on July 4, 1863. The city did not observe the Fourth of July as a holiday again until 1945. We will not soon forget what you are doing. We will not let you or the American people or the world forget either.


I think my anger is moving beyond Bush, now. Americans elsewhere in the country (you know - in those places where they only build in locations that are never at risk) seem also to be pretty much "over" the whole "New Orleans" problem.

There should be outrage all over the country.

United? Yeah. Right.
America doesn't want us. It's time to take control of ourdestiny and leave those losers behind.

WE are all that matter...I don't even read the national news.
I have been reading these blogs for quite some time now...since Katrina. I moved from New Orleans almost one year exactly before Katrina hit, and mostly because I was convinced that we were going to get hit and flooded one day. Oddly, no one else that I knew felt any fear or urgency to leave whenever a hurricane drew near. I also remember never being under the illusion that our levees would hold. I never heard that these levees would hold beyond a cat 3. What I am trying to say is that New Orleans herself was very apathetic and confident about the approaching hurricanes. I think that more urgency should be coming from the New Orleanians. Polimom mentions where is the outrage all over the country? If all that the world sees is that New Orleans is willing to settle without a fight, which is what it looks like from where I live, then (to play devil's advocate) why should I be outraged (if they are not)? If I had a battle to fight, I wouldn't expect others to begin and fight that fight for me. I would be the instigator, and hope that others would follow. I just don't see a lot of outrage coming from this city which is being completely and wrongfully disregarded. But from the outside looking in, most of the people seem to have "settled" for this plight. I don't get it. I will probably get slammed for this, but I get so frustrated seeing this huge problem being swept underneath the carpet.

I loved that city. I chose to live there and lived there for quite a few years. I left because of the schools and the crime and the fact that I had a young child.

There is a part of me that wants to go back so badly and help.

I would want to see the people who live there insist on the help they so deserve. I think that if people heard more from New Orleans, it would keep the fire burning to get things done. Please don't become quiet and complacent....these levees should have been fixed long ago before this catastrophe even happened. I'm sorry if my words are offensive...I don't mean for them to be. I have lots of dear friends there. All I want is to see New Orleans rise again..bigger and better and stronger than ever before. Does this make sense?

Thank you.
First, welcome back Mark.

I look forward to fussing about the Saints with you.

Good post.

We all can see the partisan politics that ran rampant for Alito's confirmation.

New Orleans and the Gulf restoration is just another "issue" on Capitol Hill.

These 'representatives' do not represent nor realize that we are American tax-payers.
Obviously heart-felt words were written today. I'm so glad such a committed family will be joining us again.

Anonymous, maybe the reason it appears New Orleanians are apathetic is because the mainstream media isn't talking to the right people & getting the word out. I suggest you begin by reading some of the blogs on WBG's blogroll. Listen to WWL's live stream, read,,, BayouBuzz,com.....
Thank you, travelingmermaid, I will gladly check those out. I appreciate the suggestions. I do so want to see New Orleans come back in a grand way. I've heard some great suggestions for the city, and I hope that New Orleans gets the support and financial backing that it needs. We are going to try to visit during Spring Break. Some of my friends lost everything, but some (in the French Quarter and Algiers Point) did well since they were on higher ground. I continue to talk about it to all of the people that I know...I won't let them forget.
Let's stop begging for money.
Slap a dollar a barrel tax on refinery oil, that will produce 985 million a year, enough to restore our coast and rebuild our levees.
It's absurd for us to waste time on these idiots in Washington.
Jean, I haven't forgotten my cousins in Waveland, or the people on the Gulf Coast of Florida who are still staggering under the last several years of hurricanes, even though my focus is NOLA.

rk, I absolutely concur. It's time to apply an environmental impact fee on every barrel and mcf of energy that crosses our coast. I think a tonnage charge on the Port of New Orleans and the Port of South Louisiana (mile 141 up to BR) to compensate for the damage from river channelization isn't a bad idea either.

The reality series "Hurricanes" is over, it was cancelled after about two weeks. People have moved on to "American Idol: This Time It's For Real" for their latest distraction.

People, unfortunately, have "moved on". The local media (KTVU) here in Oakland, CA still reports on Katrina's aftermath most every night. But, I have had conversations with people about Katrina and New Orleans and the response has been "I thought that was over." The cynic in me thinks that attention spans are too short nowadays.

FWIW, I like the idea of slapping a tax on barrels of oil too... quick way too get some cash flow.
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