Other Than ‘Because I LOVE The Place’…

…it really is hard to come up with a persuasive argument for rebuilding New Orleans. Yes, yes, we need the port and the French Quarter’s fun and intact, but the truth is there’s a whole lot of that city that was figuratively razed generations ago. By poverty and ignorance, crime and neglect. A fair amount of the folks who got on those buses won’t be coming back, because this is their ticket O. U. T., out. If you are determined to live on public assistance, or have known nothing else in your entire existence, you can as easily collect a check in Houston as in New Orleans. But if you’ve been trapped in that squalorous cycle, with big dreams that haven’t been ground out of you yet, that bus ticket to Houston and points beyond is your chance to grab at a new life. Don’t think those folks won’t. Here in Pensa/Bangla-cola, we’ve already got people saying “We’re staying.” If I had a house in the Garden District, I’d be back in a flash. Most probably, I’d also have means independant of the local economy to keep my lights on. But if you live in a ‘Ward’, why return? If you have a completely flooded upper middle class development home that has to be leveled and your job was underwater, I’ll bet you’re already casting around for opportunities in situ. You’ll get your insurance money, so why not see what’s happening at the local level where you’ve landed? After all, everything in every direction radial from New Orleans is high ground, and I’ll bet that sounds pretty damn good right about now.
I think the next few months will be illuminating not in terms of who’s rebuilding, but who’s willing to come back.

5 Responses to “Other Than ‘Because I LOVE The Place’…”

  1. Lisa says:

    We went to a refugee camp at Lake Catherine last night* and a couple of men that we spoke with said they weren’t going back. There was a family that said they were looking for a local house to rent, once the dad found a job, and the Red Cross workers said they thought only about 10% would go back.
    *(I have a distant cousin who was homeless in NO and the shelter where he lives was evacuated to Arkansas. My grandfather supports him as much as he can, and asked us to take him some money. So we did.)

  2. That’s what we’re seeing here and what I’ve heard in interviews with folks elsewhere.

  3. The site is strategically necessary so it will be rebuilt. However, it’s obviously no place for old people to retire.

  4. Dave J says:

    If there’s a silver lining, it’s that New Orleans may well wind up a better city, even though probably a smaller one.

  5. The Real JeffS says:

    I’m not surprised about this reluctance to return. However, I’m wondering about the demographics shift. How many voters will the Democrats lose in New Orleans? The state probably won’t lose many over all, but it could be interesting if the political machine in NO took a hit in its power base.

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