Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Home Is A Man's Castle, Even If It Sinks

From Ponty Python's Holy Grail:

Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, THEN sank into the swamp, but the fourth one stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad. The strongest castle in these islands.
That will be the attitude of New Orleans residents for the coming years.

Let's look at the indignities that we have been made to suffer through in the last seven months.
  • Hurricane Katrina.
  • Flooding from Hurricane Katrina excacerbated by faulty levees built by the federal government.
  • Having to continually go to the federal government with hat-in-hand for help to recover due to incompetent government engineers.
  • The Corps of Engineers saying it wasn't their fault that the levees were substandard.
  • Not knowing if or how to rebuild because FEMA can't even meet its own deadline in issuing flood maps.
  • Government engineers underestimating by one-third the estimated cost of rebuilding the levee system after groveling for months just to get the funding for the original estimate.
  • FEMA bureacrats pushing around citizens who object to their location of trailer parks.
  • An incompetant Governor who seems more interested in protecting her base of power than rebuilding the state's largest city.
  • An incompetant Legislature more interested in petty legislation, like the proper use of the term "Cajun", than rebuilding the state's largest city.
  • FEMA taking months to place a trailer in front of someone's flooded home and several more months to hook-up electricity.
  • The Corps of Engineers paying $2000 per square to contractors to install blue-roofs that actually cost $2 per square.
  • People's flooded homes being looted almost with impunity.
  • NOPD officers looting stores almost with impunity.
  • Corrupt local politicians shaking down contractors.
  • Local politicians crying on national television.
  • FEMA sending the state of Louisiana a bill for the federal government's disaster response.
  • The state's Governor not willing to give control of the disaster response which resulted in a bill from the federal government.
  • The state's Governor postponing indefinately the date for the city's mayoral election.
  • Needing a federal judge to order the state to schedule the election ASAP.
  • Jesse Jackson, et al, protesting that we are having an election.
  • The state's Governor attempting to take over the state's flagship university by trying to put her own cronies in charge.
  • Having the city's Mayor being the laughing stock of the rest of the world.
  • The owner of the New Orleans Saints trying to move the franchise to San Antonio and then lying about after the league forced him to move back to the city.
  • The city's pro basketball team hinting that they may not return.
  • Attempts at consolidating New Orleans government failing time after time in the legislature.
  • We can't even get decent candidates to run for mayor.
After all this, residents are still trying their damndest to return.

The result may be a transformation from a city of partiers and freeloaders to one of go-getters decision makers. Because we are getting so little help from the federal government, who is larglely responsible for the flooding, and our state government being of little help either, tolerance for the business as usual attitude will probably go by the wayside.

Then ,we can build that castle we can all call our home.

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