Sunday, June 18, 2006

empty calories

So part of the ceiling in our Athis Street house fell down today. And there are watermelons spontaneously growing in the backyard. After a heavy rain today, all of NOLA's underpasses have flooded. Massive fires are a common instance and serious violence has returned to the city. As of the end of the month, I believe, public buses in New Orleans will be a thing of the past.

Doesn't sound like we're coming back or getting any help at all.

Everyone keeps talking about rebuilding. Rebuilding what? I don't see the point in these rebuilding efforts until someone seriously deals with the inadequate water pumping system in the city of New Orleans. That, the levees, transportation seem like issues that must be dealt with before anyone considers rebuilding on a permanent basis. I have spoken with people who have arrived in NOLA to volunteer who then end up leaving because of the complete lack of organization. Why isn't more being done on a constructive level?

As Tim used to tell me, it's not enough to work hard; you have to work smart. I know I sound defeatist, but I'm tired of the fatuous party line that people throw out. The one that assumes that my parents and everyone else in NOLA is back to life as usual and everything is fine. It isn't.

I wish people could understand that things are far from fine and that more than a couple Christian teenagers with hammers are what we need in New Orleans.

Where are the legions of urban planners? Where are the engineers, scientists, environmentalists, community leaders? I know it isn't glamorous to go to a third world nation that is domestic. What do we have to do to entice intelligent people to bring their talents to the city of New Orleans? If Americans won't help us, will other nations help us? I'm seriously stretching out there to see how this is going improve and what I believe now is that we need a miracle.

And yet I hate that language because it is so heavy with religious connotation which is something I really have come to resist. Faith is built on something more than divinity. That kind of faith is an easy way to pretend to help without doing anything active about change.

I'm tired of the rhetoric. I'm tired of politicians with $90,000 in the freezer or a mouthful of hatred for gay people. I'm tired of the misinformation. I'm tired of the wasted effort. I want to see a plan for water in Southeastern Louisiana. I want to see city management. I want to see my parents provided with a plan for what they have to do to dispose of their house and move on with their lives. I'm sick of hearing about how lazy and incompetent Louisianians are. I want a little less conversation and a hell of a lot more activity. Restaurants with expensive entrees are not the ticket back to a healthy economy.

We've had enough empty calories to last a lifetime.

4 Comments:

Blogger R J Keefe said...

Hear, hear!

Sun Jun 18, 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I'm so, so sorry about your roof. It's adding insult to injury. The watermelons are a poignant touch in a post that's otherwise bereft of happiness.

My favorite urban-planner-in-training (li'l Jed) just moved back to NOLA to pitch in. He's even getting academic credit for it.

And then Gov. Blanco just signed an abortion ban into law (pending the overturn of Roe v. Wade) ... hard not to see the signs of the apocalypse upon us in LA.

Mon Jun 19, 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

No joke, huh? It kinda sucks to be a living organism in Louisiana. Things are heavy these days.

Also, I'm about halfway through Jed's dad's new book on Katrina (in stores next month!) and it's really incredible. Please pass on my praise.

Mon Jun 19, 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Will do - I need to pre-order it from the library. Love me some Big Jed! (Although the whole family is really just a treat.)

Mon Jun 19, 05:07:00 PM  

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