August 30, 2005

New Orleans

Love the city. Love the music. Love the food. Love Bourbon Street.

But I wonder if it is all gone forever.

Some random, mostly depressing thoughts...

I fear New Orleans will be down for a long, long time. So long, it may be difficult to ever make it back, especially if another hurricane rolls through anytime in the ne 24 months. I really do fear that the butcher's bill may exceed what we experienced on 9/11 before all is said and done. This is catastrophic in biblical terms and I don't think that's hyperbole.

New Orleans major industry is tourism. Now that the tourists have no hotels to stay in, no casinos to visit, no restaurants to dine in, no French Quarter to ooze through, no Garden District to walk through, no Superdome or Convention Center to convene in, well, what's left?

The fact that there are no death totals coming out of New Orleans is downright disturbing. I'm not a fan of the rollling body count in any context, but it seems to me that there's something really dreadful waiting there if no one can even hazard a guess like the did for Biloxi. Imagine how incredibly bad it has to be there for no reporters to be reporting from there. Given the Governor's pronouncement that the city must be evacuated a day after the hurricane rolled through, when will things ever get back to normal there?

The Saints certinaly won't be playing any home games this year, so if you are in a fantasy football league, downgrade all the Saints. Will Tom Benson use this as an excuse to move to L.A.? If the Saints leave New Orleans, is tere a point to spending $100,000,000+ to repair the Suuperdome?

Why is anyone surprised that New Orleas and Louisiana, a city and state world famous for corruption, would be unprepared to deal with a real disaster -- both before and after the fact?

Will those blaming Bush, the US, the liberation of Iraq, global warming, etc. please knock it the hell off. The inability to see everything, no matter how horrid, as nothing other than another reason to spout your favorite political talking point is reprehensible. Especially when your point is stupid.


Just damn.

Oh well, off to a school meeting. Life goes on ... for most of us. Pray for those who perished and those still in great peril.

Posted by Charles Austin at August 30, 2005 07:46 PM

Honestly, this "months off-line" business is crazy talk. It's been 24 hours. Let's not write the coon-asses off just yet.

Me, I'm thinking this will wipe a lot of corruptors off the table, too. We all know it's a tradition, but now that the shoe has dropped, maybe it won't be snickered at. A man can hope...

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at 11:46 PM

Scott, you are closer to it than I am and I hope you're right, but I can remember these thoughts going through my head at the last convention I attended in New Orleans. The city has been living on borrowed time for a long, long time with respect to hurricanes, infrastructure and corruption -- and the bill has come due. Where is all the money going to come frm to fix it. The federal government will pay for a lot, but New Orleans isn't New York City or Washington when it comes to that kind of largesse. Given that parts of Mississippi and Alabama have it just as bad, or worse, and with the emphasis on getting oil flowing again, that's also going to mitigate how much will be devoted to New Orleans. Maybe the Army COE should let the Mississippi change course after all, declare all of lower Louisiana a National Park and let the floodings go back to normal. Farther up the big river, the floods of 1993 showed just how much grief could be caused by trying to manipulate the waters too much. Nature's still bigger than we can handle from time to time. Finally, given that the effects of Ivan can still be seen all along the Florida coast, I think it's going to take quite some time to recover from Katrina.

Or maybe I'm just depressed and pissy right now. In the long run, there's too much money there to let it all go to seed.

Posted by: charles austin at 09:48 AM

I can tell you one thing I didn't count on was frikkin' Lord of the Flies breaking out.

I really do think this is going to bring a TON of corruption to light, and that can only be good. I've got a friend in the heavy construction biz who's done work down there, and the stories are, shall we say, juicy. Literal bags-of-money juicy.

LotF is also showing what kind of knuckleheads they tend to elect...leaving things to them has got to stop immediately.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at 09:28 AM

You have to wonder at the thought process of folks who would fire at rescue helicopters.

Posted by: Jon at 10:13 AM

So, I suppose it's just a matter of time before John Derbyshire says we shouldn't reclaim and rebuild New Orleans, on account of the flies.

It may be somewhat unfair to do this in hindsight, but why should we be surprised about the LotF aspect? Many conventioneers go to New Orleans explicitly for that walk on the wild side, where morals are more than a little lax. Now I know that the French Quarter is only a small part of New Orleans, and, in fact, that Bourbon Street is only a small part of the French Quarter. But when the philosophy of the government and law enforcement is kind of the opposite of Rudy Guiliani's "broken windows" approach, once the Thin Blue Line disappears, this is what happens.

Let me be clear about something -- this problem is not really unique to New Orleans. I've tried to explain to some of my friends from time to time that a lot more of our cities than they would like to believe are exactly like what we are now seeing in New Orleans if you remove law enforcement and add some of the nightmare elements that they are enduring right now.

To get an idea of how unbelievable all this is, the hurricane hit four days ago, and yet:
-- the authorities are still trying to get a lot of people evacuated from the flooded areas, and they have no idea how to do it or when it is going to happen
-- 10,000? 100,000? nobody knows how many people now have no food or drinking water
-- there is no reliable ORDER OF MAGNITUDE estimate on how many people are dead
-- no one yet knows when the levees are going to be repaired so the city can be drained and the cleanup can begin
-- how are we going to deal with 500,000 (!)refugees, many of whom have lost most of what they own and now find themselves without gainful employment

I am sick of a lot of the blame-oriented whining that is going on now. Hopefully FEMA and the President will get there act together and do what the city, parish, and state cannot, no matter how mnay toes have to be stepped on. The scale of this disaster is so far beyond what anyone imagined, it really is like what happened on 9/11. Alas, watching how everyone but the defense apparatus has dealt with that tragedy doesn't leave me espcially hopeful for how we are going to deal with this one.

Posted by: charles austin at 11:41 AM

i feel so bad for the residents in New Orleans. i feel like just a part of me heart has been taken away. Just think if Katrina wouldn't have came through alot of people would be alive and there would me more peace in the u.s. i really hope that as time comes and goes more progress will be achieved. i hope that every one who had dealt with the pain of loosing their homes, families, and friends will thank god that they are still alive. i feel that life is a gift. and anything that we think we deserve we dont. i hope everyone will grow from this experience, not only stronger but know that god and alot of other people like me are here for you and we care. To who reads this please keep this disaster in your prayers.

Thank you for your time.
Jamie Ryan
If anyone whould like please e-mail me at :

Posted by: Jamie Ryan at 01:59 PM

It's still sad, but there's some humor in looking back at what people said...

10,000 dead--25,000 bodybags.

New Orleans---gone.

I kept up with people who stayed, people in the quarter--which didn't flood. Like the Garden District....I talked to them all through this and had all my suspicions confirmed--that the MSM was doing it's damnedest to make it sound 'orders of magnitude' worse than it was.

And I groaned at all the people who know better who sucked down the MSM pap as if it were the gods own truth.

New Orleans is already bouncing back, the Vieux Carre will be a madhouse this Halloween. Jazz will fill the streets.

The media lies. It is their default position. Never forget that.

Posted by: jack at 11:25 AM