The news coverage from the US gulf coast just overwhelms the senses. The disaster caused by nature and exacerbated by the incompetence of all levels of government is staggering.
I was lucky enough to travel to New Orleans last year on business and I found it to be one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited. The juxtaposition of the excesses of the French Quarter and the gentility of the outlying parishes was striking. New Orleans, like any large city has its urban problems and Katrina laid these open for all the world to see. The “haves” got the hell out and the “have nots” were left to fend for themselves with devastating and tragic consequences. How these people will ever rebuild their lives, only time will tell. It’s safe to say that the process will take years.
Word comes that the tourist district will probably be open for business within 60 days. Good for them, the economy must start rolling even if it’s fueled by drunken frat boys trying to entice women to show their assets for cheap beads. But what of the residential areas with their stately old homes and quiet tree lined streets? Sadly, most of these will be leveled and cookie cutter boxes erected in their place. A lot of history will be consigned to the dumpsters and the world will be a little less picturesque. Lake Ponchitrain will be a cesspool for years and the environmental impact will be enormous.
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