Thursday, September 06, 2012

New Orleans 7 years later: A tale of 2 cities

7 years after Katrina New Orleans still struggles to rebuild

Lower 9th 7 years later: Frustration, Robert Spriggens has fond memories of the Lower Ninth Ward. He grew up there and later came to own several properties in the neighborhood. In the seven years since Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures, Spriggens has fixed up his properties, but said he has not seen much done to the city's infrastructure there. "Seven years later, they're still fixing it," he said. "The frustration is, that I look at other parts of the city and I see so much progress being made. I look down here and I see very little."
The concerns are shared by others in the Lower Ninth Ward, who shared their thoughts with three city council members during a neighborhood meeting on Saturday. Among them was the brand-new District E Council Member Freddie Charbonnet. "The issues are really endless, but this was a good meeting because I think we now have some structure," Charbonnet said. The biggest complaint for many in the Lower Ninth Ward, also happens to be a major infrastructure and bureaucratic challenge: street repairs. "The street hasn't been repaired," said resident Leeonise Smith. "Our foundation is cracking because of the traffic."
Please watch the video they don't show you or talk about this!

This is what they want you to see and think: For New Orleans It's Been Anything But Easy, But The Big Easy Is Back, Post-Katrina Style: New Orleans is a city dependent on tourism, and the reality, though few outside of the city bothered to notice at the time, was that the historic French Quarter suffered minimal damage from Katrina. Then again, nobody wanted to party on Bourbon Street while local residents suffered a few blocks away.Kelly Schultz, VP of communications for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that was the biggest problem: How do you convince people that it's OK to come back to New Orleans?

The physical damage to the greater city was unfathomable, but the brand damage, too, was enormous. For years, Schultz said, there were "so many misperceptions" around the world. Armed with an $8 million federal grant, the New Orleans CVB unleashed a massive marketing campaign in 2007 to dispel all myths. One ad featuring a jazz trumpeter declared, "Soul is Waterproof," while another showing a tourist at the aquarium, stated, "To Be Clear, This Is The Only Part Of New Orleans Still Underwater."
Not exactly

This was and is reality in NOLA:

Katrina natural disaster man made catastrophe

Government aid to Katrina residents often helped the most affluent, Lower Ninth Ward: Still Recovering, they rebuilt the New Orleans they wanted not the one we had

Census Finds Hurricane Katrina Left New Orleans Richer, Whiter, Emptier What a surprise huh? NOT!

New Orleans population nearly 30 per cent lower than before Hurricane Katrina It has been 7 years but we were right on!

I thought it appropriate to resurrect a blog I posted 9/25/05 in order to put a couple recent stories into perspective. To start with, it was surprising to me to find out that New Orleans even had a levee board especially in light of the damage incurred. You would have thought their job would be to secure the levees.

After Katrina: A tale of two recoveries

Government aid to Katrina residents often helped most affluent

Just to illustrate, this was 2 years ago and it is still and never will be recovered.Lower 9th still recovering There is good reason for it and as you know, it was on purpose.

We know now how sad a state of repair some of the levees were in. Instead of repairing the levees they established an Airport and a marina. Authorities also played a role in establishing a floating casino, top of the line fiber optic system, and spent 2.4 million on a Mardis Gras fountain and left the 9th street levee in the poorer area of the city in particular in a state of disrepair.

This was all nice for businesses and the elite whose areas suffered relatively light damage. The poor did suffer the brunt of Katrina and Rita. The devastation to these people in the first place occurred because of criminal neglect by authorities and local officials on every level. I contended that this natural disaster was allowed to clean out New Orleans of what the elite thought of as undesirable elements and failed for years to do it themselves.

Now the are largely out with many choosing to stay out. I contended that the wealthy elite, largely white, and the politicians will now be able to rebuild for their own interests. We thought New Orleans might now become a Republican city. This all seemed a distinct possibility especially with the French Quarter, the Convention Center, and the Garden District, were all largely high and dry and largely intact.

It seemed obvious that the poor sections were now cleaned out and the housing projects "Republicans could never get rid of" gone compliments of Mother Nature and not God as Mayor Nagin ridiculously stated, and supposedly not from any design of mans. Along with these areas went much of Mayor Nagin's ill mentioned chocolate aspect of New Orleans.

We knew that enough of the poor and the blacks if you will, will be back for whatever reason primarily to service the needs of industries, the wealthy elite and politicians, and various business interests. then reading a story in the NY Times that New Orleans might be rebuilt whiter and smaller it looks like the thoughts expressed more than 7 years ago were right on target.

James Joiner
Gardner, Ma

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