November 20, 2005

A new dimension of post-Katrina anger.

There is the suffering that Hurricane Katrina caused for the people of New Orleans, but there is also the enlightenment Katrina brought about how much they suffered before the hurricane:
[A]fter tasting life elsewhere, they are returning with tales of public schools that actually supply textbooks published after the Reagan era, of public housing developments that look like suburban enclaves, of government workers who are not routinely dragged off to prison after pocketing bribes.

Local leaders have realized for weeks that they must reckon with widespread anger over how they handled the relief effort. But it is dawning on them that they are also going to have to contend with demands from residents who grew accustomed, however briefly, to the virtues of other communities....

"What's wrong with our school system, and what's wrong with the people running our school board?" asked Tess Blanks, who had lived here all her life before fleeing with her husband, Horace, to the Houston area, where they discovered that the public schools for their two children were significantly better. "Our children fell right into the swing of things in Texas. So guess what? It isn't the children. It's the people running our school system."

16 comments:

Starless said...

This reminds me of the recent hunting sting in WI. Several prominent people from one Florida county, including the sheriff, have been charged in the sting. The sherrif is publicing pleading ignorance of WI hunting laws and being deceived by the guide. There's irony in that, of course, but the most telling thing about it is that the local press has generally had a limp-wristed response to his response. There haven't been any strong-worded editorials calling for his resignation and no outraged letters to the editor.

It's as though either no one is hearing what he's saying or they're so used to political corruption that they assume that their sherrif will be corrupt.

Icepick said...

Starless, huntin' without a license ain't corruption. Being on the take from drug dealers is corruption. Extorting 'protection' is corruption. Swapping semen for pus is corruption.

Starless said...

Icepick said...
Starless, huntin' without a license ain't corruption.

I wasn't talking about the hunting specifically, but the "I was ignorant so that makes me innocent" defense coming from a sherrif and how it seems to be okay with the press and the populous. There's also a wink-and-a-nod aspect to all of this where all of the people charged from this county knew each other in one way or another.

Being on the take from drug dealers is corruption. Extorting 'protection' is corruption. Swapping semen for pus is corruption.

They have had those, too.

Jake said...

""What's wrong with our school system, and what's wrong with the people running our school board?" asked Tess Blanks,""

That is the question that “No Child Left Behind” is supposed to force every parent to ask. When they do ask that question, parents will wrestle their schools back from the death grip of the left and the teachers' unions.

PatCA said...

Nagin and Blanco are also worried that their safe Democratic base will never return. I think we will see lots of media like this article to spur reconstruction and return of the base.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1132780,00.html

I would say it's a golden moment for the Reps, whose tack is to challenge black people to name what the Dems have done for them except to keep them down.

John Thacker said...

If it helps convince the people of New Orleans (and Louisiana in general) that corruption is not amusing and a fact of life, but unacceptable, well, that'll be a silver lining I guess.

Starless said...

John Thacker said...
If it helps convince the people of New Orleans (and Louisiana in general) that corruption is not amusing and a fact of life, but unacceptable, well, that'll be a silver lining I guess.

Exactly. It amazed me to see how so many people were surprised to see how the corrupt politicians of Louisiana managed to so thoroughly mishandle the evacuation and aftermath of the hurricane. To be surprised at political corruption in New Orleans (much of the South, actually) is like saying that you are, "Shocked! Shocked to see gambling going on here in Casablanca!"

John Thacker said...

To be surprised at political corruption in New Orleans (much of the South, actually)

Well, "much" is a little unfair. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, especially Louisiana, are MUCH worse than anywhere else in the South. Louisiana, at least four years ago, had its last FOUR insurance commissioners all in federal prison for bribery. Is it any wonder that those states are still lagging behind (in population and wealth) while other Southern states have made such strides.

Starless said...

Any blanket generalization is going to be unfair. But from what I've read and heard about Alabama and Florida (at least north Florida), I think they probably need to be in your list also. I prefer to not stereotype, but when people live up to the stereotype it's hard not to point it out.

chuck b. said...

It's not just the local school board in Louisiana...it's the whole state body politic.

PatCA said...

Congressman Billy Tauzin once said of his state: "One half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment."

lindsey said...

A lot of Louisiana's problems go back to the original French culture of the place.

dk said...

I was wondering when we were going to be hearing these sort of stories. I've always wanted to visit N.O. but never had the chance. From friends who had passed through, other then the party the is Mardi Gras, they were unimpressed. Essentially the way they relayed it, it was a pit.

Elizabeth said...

New Orleans is not a pit. Your friends must not have made much of an effort to see anything off the beaten path. New Orleans politics is not the substance and be-all of the place. If you've actually spent some time there yourself, then by all means, your opinion would have credibility, but a snotty "my friends say it's a pit" is just snide, and ignorant.

Truly said...

60 Minutes had a segment last night about rebuilding N.O. A scientist they spoke to (didn't catch the name) stated that projections based on coastline erosion indicate that the city would actually be IN the Gulf of Mexico by 2095. So, in order to rebuild, ever higher walls will be needed to keep the water out, and the threat of flooding would be ever-present, not just during storm season.

I can see making efforts to preserve lovely, charming Venice, which faces similar challenges, but New Orleans? It strikes me as throwing good money after bad.

Starless said...

Truly said...
60 Minutes had a segment last night about rebuilding N.O. A scientist they spoke to (didn't catch the name) stated that projections based on coastline erosion indicate that the city would actually be IN the Gulf of Mexico by 2095.

They're in this fix because they've been taming the Mississippi and not letting it drop its sediment in the delta. No sediment means fewer off-shore islands and less of a natural buffer against hurricanes. It isn't inevitable that New Orleans would end up in the Gulf, they just need to work harder to figure out how to maintain a decent shipping lane while letting the off shore island comes back.

So, in order to rebuild, ever higher walls will be needed to keep the water out, and the threat of flooding would be ever-present, not just during storm season.

They'll build the walls. There's too much construction money in this for them to not build them. And then when New Orleans gets wiped out again in another century, they'll build it up again.