Louisiana Limping Along
April 19, 2006 9:16 PM   Subscribe

"You drowned 1,200 people! I rebuke you." Politics as usual? Yes, if you're from Louisiana. Is it hot where you are? Well, at least your federal government didn't trick you into living in your car in 100 degree weather because they won't give you the keys to your trailer. Oh, but try not to get sick, because even though New Orleans is almost back to its Pre-Katrina size (1 million out of 1.3 million), half of the hospital space is gone. Only six weeks until hurricane season! Woot!
posted by ColdChef (37 comments total)
Of course, when the storms come this year, there's one place you sure don't want to be.
posted by ColdChef at 9:19 PM on April 19, 2006

"you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie"

Has all the reconstruction money been spent?
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 9:43 PM on April 19, 2006

The money? Yeah, haven't really seen that yet. But it's promised any day now.
posted by ColdChef at 10:04 PM on April 19, 2006

Possibly the government shouldn't be encouraging people to move back into NOLA if it can't vouch for their safety, which it obviously can't.
posted by grobstein at 10:29 PM on April 19, 2006

it's true. the more life gets back to normal around here in the undestroyed zones, the more it becomes depressingly apparent that this city is in serious trouble in the long term. 'cause normal wasn't very good (economically or politically, at least) to begin with.


::hits up monster.com for design jobs in austin and chicago::
posted by ab3 at 11:58 PM on April 19, 2006

You're right, ColdChef, I don't want to be there registering for some TV station's site that I won't ever visit again.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 AM on April 20, 2006

It was a story about building separate storm shelters for sex offenders to avoid them preying on vulnerable people in mass shelters. It worked for me first time and now it's gone....
posted by Acey at 4:35 AM on April 20, 2006

I just returned from New Orleans and all I can say is that the city is nothing less than a national tragedy. Every American ought to be bused through the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard parish. It makes Iraq look like a success in comparison. Again and again I heard stories of how FEMA has done nothing and how the federal government had failed the people. It's sick that Bush Co. pumps billions into Iraq every month and yet New Orleans is for all practical purposes a dead city 8 months later.

thanks ColdChef for your help
posted by photoslob at 5:56 AM on April 20, 2006

Can't wait to see your pictures from the trip.
posted by ColdChef at 6:22 AM on April 20, 2006

Sad, sad stuff. Some Americans are more equal than others, according to this administration.
posted by bardic at 7:42 AM on April 20, 2006

most of the people i have talked to , are treating the city as if it is already gone.

my heart goes out to new orleans , i won't give up on it, and i won't let people around me , and in washington forget it either.
posted by nola at 7:49 AM on April 20, 2006

> Again and again I heard stories of how FEMA has done nothing and how the
> federal government had failed the people.

Try to remember this next time you're inclined to holler for the federal government to save you from some other evil. Nationalised medicine, for example, is going to work just exactly as well as FEMA does. Seen government-run disaster rescues? Seen government-run land wars in Asia? You've also seen government-run health services.

P.S. Why are New Orleans universities recovering so much better that the rest of the city?
posted by jfuller at 7:55 AM on April 20, 2006

Thanks, jfuller, for that article.
posted by ColdChef at 8:15 AM on April 20, 2006

jfuller, incompetence is incompetence. When an incompetent government hires incompetent private contractors, you get the current situation in New Orleans.

And to borrow from another thread, the current state of privatized American healthcare is abysmal. How is that in any way a ringing endorsement of privatization?

Government is bad at hiring good people. So are private businesses.
posted by bardic at 8:17 AM on April 20, 2006

And yet the government runms the post office pretty well, and social security has done pretty well for itself, despite doom and gloom predictions, and we actually have an excellent military, even if this administration is woefully misusing it, and the federal governemtn certainly ran power better than Enron, and ...
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:20 AM on April 20, 2006

jfuller's got a point. After all, it's not like the federal government ever landed men on the Moon or anything.
posted by trondant at 8:29 AM on April 20, 2006

Say, great idea. NASA's really been looking for a mission with a future, let NASA run the US National Health.
posted by jfuller at 8:42 AM on April 20, 2006

P.S. I see I introduced a derail. Apologies, fuller shuts up now.
posted by jfuller at 8:43 AM on April 20, 2006

ColdChef, I want to see your reference for there being a million people back in N.O. I heard recently that it was around 500K.

The disaster recovery has been pretty terrible, the trailers parks are a lousy idea, but personal trailers at your house are ok. Paying 3x market price for them, however, is just fuckin' idiotic. You know what else is idiotic? Taking until last week to release new flood elevation maps, when you can see a damn waterline on the sides of buildings. That's FEMA's idiocy.

The city has been doing a heckuva job too. Paying milions to have all the flooded and abandoned cars that are still everywhere hauled off, when a junker offered months ago to pay the city if they would allow him to have them. Suspending the licensure requirements for contractors, so the repairs that are being done aren't up to anything approaching code. Every time we had a cold snap this spring, we'd get a rash of fires. The public is a guest at the stupid party too. How about refusing to allow the city to buy out property owners in low-lying areas so those areas could be converted to green space?

I love New Orleans, but there's some things that just don't make sense.

bardic: "Sad, sad stuff. Some Americans are more equal than others, according to this administration."
If by some people, you mean New Orleanians, you're right. Let me point out, however, that Lakeview, a middle-to-upper class neighborhood got much higher water levels than the 9th ward, but much less reporting in the news. They were generally insured at higher levels in lakeview, but that's only because they were mostly told they didn't need insurance in the 9th.

If you want to read the articles on nola.com, just use bugmenot in firefox.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:51 AM on April 20, 2006

Try to remember this next time you're inclined to holler for the federal government to save you from some other evil. Nationalised medicine, for example, is going to work just exactly as well as FEMA does. Seen government-run disaster rescues? Seen government-run land wars in Asia? You've also seen government-run health services.

Well then what exactly in the reeking, rotting, mouldering, riki-tik-tavi fuck of bungpunching fuckity fuck is the federal government supposed to be doing? Because right now they seem to useful at fuckall except taking a third of my paycheck to think of new ways to encourage muslims to want to blow me to smithereens.

The program and party line as it stands now is "We're huge, we cost tons of money, we make everything worse and don't you dare complain that we've stuck our dicks in the mashed potatos again and again and again." How about I just cut a monthly check to some randomly selected blue-blood kleptocrat scion in a boarding school in Connecticut have done with it. At least with feudalism you had a sense of tradition and some well fed priest to yell at you about the filthy state of your soul on Sundays. Jesus wept, I need a bowl of gumbo and a fucking Shiner Bock!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:54 AM on April 20, 2006

To be fair I also blame the state and local government as well as the general public for all the problems in the world, the feds just do things in a big way. A Manhattan project of incompetence and chicanery.

I wish my mom had enough money to move out of NO. I love that damn city.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:58 AM on April 20, 2006

Most of the universities in the city that are back up have their own private insurance...the state, some years ago, decided to self insure most of it's property rather than pay premiums to outside insurance companies...LSUHSC is heavily relying on FEMA to foot the bill on most of the repairs...and FEMA will only pay to restore to pre storm conditions, not 'improve'...so there's a big struggle to find the middle ground of what to spend money on...which led to the decision not to reopen charity...

the usnews report has been one of the best i've seen that sums up our plight here in the big easy...

thanks for sharing coldchef...so we don't forget
and where we've made it to in 7 months
posted by lsusd2003 at 9:00 AM on April 20, 2006

jfuller - much of the relief efforts I saw that were making an impact were church groups and other volunteers from across the country. A group called Common Grounds has set up in the Ninth Ward and from what I observed were the only folks making any progress. They had a tent set up with food and clothing donations and they were helping the very few folks who have returned try and get their houses back in shape.
posted by photoslob at 9:26 AM on April 20, 2006

Kimberly Williamson Butler is a mayoral candidate in New Orleans. First, her web site's header had a picture of her in Disneyland's New Orleans Square instead of, you know, in New Orleans. (The photo featured a distinctive Disneyland trash can.)

Then Disney got upset.

So she Photoshopped out the tell-tale trash can.

"It's too soon to tell if she's lost the anti-Disneyland vote."

It's not really clear why she couldn't have Photoshopped herself into an actual picture of New Orleans, or, better yet, just have her picture taken there.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:30 AM on April 20, 2006

Mr. Gunn - there's a huge perception problem in New Orleans that breaks down across color lines. Most black folks I spoke to were convinced the FEMA trialers they couldn't get were across town in Lakeview and yet driving around in Lakeview I saw very few trailers. There were also a few white folks I spoke to that felt like the FEMA money that was slow in coming for them was being spent repairing levees in the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard parish. The situation on the ground stinks to high heaven and the sense of anger and hopelessness is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The race baiting that seems to be going on in the mayors race is disgusting and throwing fuel on the fire.
posted by photoslob at 9:36 AM on April 20, 2006

Butler couldn't have gotten a picture of herself standing on corner in the real New Orleans, because she'd have to photoshop out a whole lot more than just a trashcan, and considering the crappy job whoever did on the trashcan, that would have been a disaster.

Whatever, no one is talking about her down here, anyway. She needs to do something even more entertaining, or just go away already.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:46 AM on April 20, 2006

photoslob:When I was a kid, I would complain that my little brother got a bigger piece of cake than I did. It's a learned behavior to which there's rarely any basis, and the person taking your trailer/job/cake is usually a person you want to hate already for some other reason. See rich/poor, black/white, mexican/arizonan, cuban/floridian, etc.

Let's just be glad this election is going to be over tomorrow. I hope.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:52 AM on April 20, 2006

For anyone who's interested, my nola photo gallery is here. It's not as comprehensive as I'd like but there are pics there from the last several years and a couple of Katrina-related galleries.
posted by djeo at 10:33 AM on April 20, 2006

And mine? Here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:38 AM on April 20, 2006

Astro Zombie, your flickr set is beautiful!
posted by djeo at 10:51 AM on April 20, 2006

Mine are here.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:57 AM on April 20, 2006

I miss New Orleans.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2006

Try to remember this next time you're inclined to holler for the federal government to save you from some other evil.

malcompetence = incompetence with malicious intent.
posted by dhartung at 1:44 PM on April 20, 2006

jfuller: Local universities had their own insurance, etc, as well as huge outreach from alumni as soon as the storm hit. Loyola and Tulane were also on relatively high ground. But both of those universities just made a bunch of program cuts. Loyola is in an uproar over cutting programs like the entire education department, Japanese and Russian, and almost all of their master's degrees. UNO just eliminated their entire music department. That's all I have off the top of my head, but it hasn't been easy in universities here at all.

And it is a little odd to see how little press Broadmoor and Lakeview are getting. Chalmette, a fairly well off suburb where 15-20 feet of water was the norm, is where I've been taking visitors to the area.

It's been a very depressing election. I can't wait for it to be over. Check out the despicable Peggy Wilson, who keeps talking happily about how the storm rid the city of "welfare queens" and other undesirables. Her idea of a tax-free city is frankly horrifying. She has been fun to watch and mock in the debates, though.
posted by honeydew at 1:47 PM on April 20, 2006

Hey, don't forget where malcompetence come from.

I contribute so little of lasting value to the world, I have to take credit when I do.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2006

Is my take on this wrong or did the fed just shovel the relief money off to their buddies?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2006

The Times-Picayune is reporting today that the city council voted unanimously to set a deadline of August 29 for homeowners to gut and board up their homes or face potential seizure and demolition.

every owner of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall be responsible for mold remediation, cleaning, gutting and properly securing the premesis of all properties" damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita "in a manner so as to render the premises environmentally sound and not open to the public.

If not, the property
shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal

The full article is here.
(reg required)

This is big news and bound to be wildly unpopular. I think it's a step in the right direction (maybe not the right step but at least it's movement) but we'll have to see how it fares in court.
posted by djeo at 8:20 AM on April 21, 2006

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