Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The rebuilding is complete!

For those of you who don't live here, a most reliable source has declared that the rebuilding of New Orleans has been completed.


Miranda said...

Damn, that was funny in a disheartening OMG-it's-true manner.

Randy said...

There's a Senate subcommittee here this week holding hearings on the reconstruction efforts. The mayor was griping about how much money is being spent on the war in Iraq instead of being spent here. However, TPTB don't seem to be able to make use of much of the money that's already been sent down here. FEMA appears to be holding back on some things, but the LA state and N.O. city governments haven't inspired much confidence. The perception is that Mississippi is doing a whole lot better with its rebuilding.

Ann said...

Well, that's the perception, but I don't know how much reality is behind it. Last time I was in Gulfport (admittedly quite some time ago) it was still a mess. And it's a LOT smaller than New Orleans.

A pretty large city in a very poor state with inept leadership from the top down has been destroyed. Anybody who thinks the city is going to be anything like it was before within the next 20 years is deluding themselves.

Remember Chris Tolworthy and his ideas about land rent? I didn't really understand it much, but it seems to me that it's just the answer for the devastation that's happened here. What's holding things back is property rights.

There will never be a consensus on any kind of plan. Nobody is ever going to agree to a plan that doesn't coddle to every single damn special interest in the city, so we end up with spotty reconstruction surrounded by ruins.

Some areas of Gentilly are showing some real signs of life. I heard that about 40% of the houses in Lakeview have been demolished, with rebuilders buying empty lots between two houses and splitting them so they can build something bigger. McMansions, anyone?

Is it my imagination, or is NO East actually making some serious progress? I tell you, when Wal-Mart reopens, things will start hopping out there again.

On the other hand, there's rampant crime because city services simply can't support a city of the same footprint. We had problems with blight BEFORE the hurricane. It can't go anywhere but downhill from here.

Nagin has been a total loss - no leadership whatsoever. Blanco, bless her heart, is a careful thinker who likes to weigh and measure things before she takes action, which was the LAST thing we needed when the levees failed.

What we need is some carpetbaggers. We'd be better off if there'd been a civil war and we'd lost.

Randy said...

Yeah, Ann, it's individual homeowners who are getting things done, but they can only do so much. I haven't been to Gentilly, but I drive through the East all the time. It's like a donut, with the Interstate going right through the worst part of it. Around the edges, things are getting better. Still, the population there is probably around 25,000, down from a prestorm 90,000.

There was an article in the paper the other day about the two states vis a vis the insurance companies. In Mississippi, the houses of a U.S. Senator (Lott), a U.S. Representative (Taylor), a few federal judges, and a good many other affluent, powerful people were flattened by the storm. These people can make noise and get attention. Also, Lott's brother-in-law happens to be a billionaire plaintiffs lawyer and the state has a gung-ho AG. The state has gotten involved in the Miss. homeowners' lawsuit against the insurance companies, and State Farm has settled on terms somewhat favorable to the homeowners. In Louisiana, by contrast, individual homeowners are on their own, and the Road Home program can't get its shit together to hand out the money it is charged with handing out.

Nagin's idea of leadership appears to be to gripe about other leaders' failings. That only pisses people off; it doesn't accomplish much of anything.

Ann said...

A guy on the faculty at Xavier wrote a blog post about his experience with the Road Home Welcome Home Center (abstract: he did not feel welcome.) With his permission and some minor editing, it was printed in the Times Picayune as a guest column last week.

New Orleans was at best a mid-major city prior to Katrina - maybe about the size of Birmingham, AL? Smaller? Jackson MS? All the things that made it special were unique to the city, and those things are largely still intact: uptown and the Quarter. So what's left to repair is what nobody cared about anyway except the people who lived here.

In a sense, I think, New Orleanians are victims of their own culture and traditions. Laissez les bon temps roulez...and if you have to get your ass in gear to fix things when their broken, well, maybe when we get around too it, baby.

Maybe what makes us special is what's sealing our fate.

Carpetbaggers. We need some carpetbaggers. Some people with lots of money to come in and buy up all the damaged property and fix it up and sell it back to us, so we can complain about how we got ripped off by people exploiting our weakness without having to do any actual work. Everybody wins :)

Randy said...

Well, Trump is building a 70-story tower in the CBD; perhaps he can come down here and make stuff happen.