Sunday, March 01, 2009

Tomorrow I am off to New Orleans again.  My trip in January was full of anticipation, this time it is full of sorrow.  The federal, state, and city governments are all to blame for the lack of progress the city has made in recovering.  The amount of money that has been spent by all three groups on various projects aided at helping would have paid for the cost of rebuilding every house and business flooded.  The total cost of all the hotel bills paid by FEMA and the Red Cross would have also paid for the rebuilding of every house and every business building damaged by the storm waters... now I know that the evacuees needed places to stay and if you had a choice between government housing and tent cities you too would have picked a hotel... but would you have picked hotels if 8 months living in a shelter meant you had a new house to return home too.  The fact that twice the amount of money to rebuild was spent and not on replacing those houses and business that had been lost makes me very angry.  The fact that the money spent helped several industries make record profits makes be so far beyond angry there are no words to describe it. 

The city of New Orleans was a city of over 1 million before Katrina.  The city now has less than 300 thousand residence.  One person had the power to bring much more attention to the wasteful spending even if he did not have the power to stop it... the Mayor Ray Nagin.  And here the race separation begins.  White residence hate the man with a passion and vocalize this often.  African-Americans residence view him as the cities last hope.  Why the two different views... well you must look at the make up of the city and who has power within the city.  Before Katrina the city residences were majority African-American and those elected to lead and be in power mostly came from that majority.  Now with over 700,000 removed from that mix there is no easy majority for either white or African-American.  The shift of power in the city government is about to happen.  That scares the old majority.  Change scares many people. 

What New Orleans will look like after all of this has passed, no one can know.  What it looks like now is the poor being forced out because they can not afford to rebuild, the wealth reclaiming much of the city as the poor leave, and those in the city government getting even  wealthier from  all the corruption.  I guess some things never change.

2 comments:

Rebecca at the Well said...

If you are ever there on a weekend - call me and I might manage a drive over :)
B

Rebecca at the Well said...

Are you home yet??