First off, props to the ACE for the levee repairs. Even if it doesn’t really make up for the last forty-some years, at they worked well enough to save us this time, and that means a lot.
So after the drama of levee over-topping and watching Anderson Cooper hanging out in the French Quarter for the last 24 hours in a desperate attempt to get news (or at least entertainment), the latest is that Mayor Ray Nagin may not allow us back in to the city for several days.
This must be a bad joke. The stated reasons: because the power is out? Are you kidding? What do you think life was like in neighborhoods like the ninth ward for the first six months after Katrina?
Or that there are downed power lines? Oh, because we’ve never seen those in New Orleans.
Or because the health care infrastructure might not be adequate? What? Did I miss something? We have a health care infrastructure?
If there was anything that worked in the city of New Orleans, I might be a little less skeptical. But our roads look like four-wheel drive trails (been down Paris Avenue lately?), we pay absurd sums to Entergy every month, I’m more scared of the cops than I am of the drug dealers, and the only thing that I can think that is working right now is the levees.
Nagin apparently will allow those working in “essential businesses” back in to New Orleans a day earlier. I mean, I get it- we need folks to fix the power, man the water plant, repair gas lines, etc. But the irony of that statement is killing me. In the economy we’ve constructed, daiquiri shops are the closest thing we have to an essential business. Maybe if we had “essential businesses” in the city of New Orleans (other than the port), we wouldn’t be in the economic shape that we are in.
I also found it offensive watching that moron Cooper congratulating Nagin for the orderly evacuation. Most people I know got themselves out, because we were terrified of what would happen if it was left to the city. And if the city was emptied out easier this time, it is in part because half of New Orleans’ pre-Katrina poor no longer live here, something that Mayor Nagin is at least complicit in if not directly responsible for.
The only thing worse than the government’s failure to supply essential services are the things that are done ostensibly for our own good, like keeping us out of our city unnecessarily. I know very few people who live in New Orleans who don’t have survival skills, and I for one want to go home.
And we wonder why some people don’t evacuate.