Elegy

The first time I saw New Orleans, I was about eight years old, when my extended family went down there for the King Tut exhibit. I’ve probably been back a hundred times since: Sugar Bowls, Jazz Fests, Mardi Gras, and the old faithful, “What the hell–let’s go to New Orleans this weekend.” There was nowhere else quite like it, and very few places even remotely like it. I have a lot of friends from there, not all of whom are accounted for right now. It’s a city I know as well as anywhere I’ve never actually moved to, and a place I love more than most of the towns where I have set up housekeeping.

This week has been like watching an old friend die. Every horrible news story is another icicle in the chest. So much has been lost. So many have been taken. So little may be left. The long-term question we ask each other, over and over, is, “Can it ever be what it was again?”

The answer is, probably not. Some of the physical damage can be repaired or rebuilt. Much can’t be, or won’t be. The dead are gone, and the survivors will never be the same. Just who and how many people will return is a very open question. There’s no economy to return to; the city’s only remaining industry was tourism, and it won’t be fit to host a single tourist for many months. That doesn’t even begin to cover all the lost housing. Even if there were resources and the will available to rebuild every home (there won’t be, not by a long shot), rebuilding them will take years.

And among the harshest of the catastrophie’s side-effects, the very worst of the city has been on display to the world this week. Inept public officials, lack of planning and preparation, and the lethal unleashing of a hard-core criminal element so brutal, it’s been attacking aid workers who were the first to try and help.

Now for the really painful part, said not with anger, but with a heavy heart: As sad and awful as it is, Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular did a lot of this to themselves.

No, I’m not talking about the storm, I’m talking about:

1. The culture of corruption and general worthlessness that’s been nurtured by apathy and inertia for a couple of centuries. The city and state were responsible for levee upkeep–but every levee has its own state and local “commissions,” not to actually get anything done, but to spread around the money and patronage. It’s not difficult to think that an awful lot of the money earmarked for the levees was siphoned off in boards and studies and boondoggles. That culture also fed into…

2. The state of the NOPD, arguably the worst metro police force in the country. Was anybody remotely familiar with that department surprised when they saw New Orleans cops joining in the looting? I doubt it. Local police are the first line of defense in any disaster situation, quite literally the first responders, and the NOPD–no doubt with hundreds of brave and noble exceptions (they’re the ones who’re still at work right now; the worthless ones have bugged out)–was nowhere near up to the task. New Orleans’ political leadership has never been serious about cleaning up that department, which brings us to…

3. Crime. We’ve all heard urban legends about neighborhoods where “even the cops won’t go.” In NOLA, those weren’t legends. Some of the worst criminal elements in the country have been fermenting in that city for decades, and no level of government was willing to deal with that fact. Now they’re loose, and nobody short of the Army or Marines can handle them (and they’re now in the process of migrating out to the rest of the South; that’s an export we could have done without).

I actually think Mayor Nagin is a good guy, he’s certainly the first mayor in a very long time who even tried (although he didn’t achieve much) to do something about corruption down there. I can also understand his frustration. He’s smack in the middle of a horrific situation, and he can’t see any help coming his way yet–although he hasn’t helped himself any with stuff like telling people to go to the convention center, but not passing that info on to the feds. Americans expect to move mountains instantly; very few of us understand stuff like logistics and staging that have to work properly before any large-scale effort can even begin, much less succeed.

But none of that excuses the slow-motion breakdown of New Orleans. The fact that it got put on fast-forward last weekend is nobody’s fault; the fact that it went on for as long as it did, well, that’s another story. There’s plenty of fault there, and not a little of it laid at the feet of people like me, who fed off the frisson of a city with an edge of danger, where knowing the right local to call could get a friend out of lockup, a place where so many of the usual rules didn’t necessarily apply.

We’ve gotten a harsh reminder this week of why the rules have to apply. When the party stopped, the hangover was worse than we ever imagined.

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50 Responses to “Elegy”

  1. Donut Says:

    I hope that the situation in New Orleans can be used as a education oppurtunity for the rest of the country. The big lessons I see are:

    1. You cannot rely on the government to protect you. This has been true for a while, but a vast majoriy of people expect uncle sugar to help them out of every situation, from a bad investment up to rebuilding the house you built in a flood plain. The government has limited resources, other priorities, and when the going gets tough, doesn’t care about you as an individual.

    2. Be prepared to take care of yourself. 2 weeks supplies and rifles. Shortwave radios. Flashlights. Medical supplies. Unfortunately people that stock up for disasters get labled hoarders or survivalists (why is that bad?), but you can be cut off from civilization for any number or reasons that are beyond your control.

    3. Listen to engineers. If an engineer has a compelling case that something bad is eventually going to happen, you might want to pay heed. If you cannot get a group of people together to help you try and fix the problem, move. My wife and I once again looked at where we live, listed out the natural disasters that could befall us, and decided that we were safe.

    4. Last – respect mother nature. We are ants clinging to the surface of a tiny ball with a tiny air bubble. The largest force we can create is nothing compared to a normal thunder storm. We are completely at the mercy of the natural world, and when we get a chance to dodge a bullet, we should evacuate and dodge as quick as we can.

    Will americans learn from NO? Will media/government even discuss these kinds of things? After 9/11, and the lack of real change to our policies, values, and lives, I doubt it. I hope I can change, though. Time to go check the water supplies.

  2. Pursuit Says:

    Good post and spot on. I would only add, and I posted on this this morning, is that it is painfully obvious that the city did nothing to prepare for this disaster. Not only was the flood predictable, it was inevitable with the only question being when. No emergency preparedness plans. No forward stocking of food, supplies, boats. No reinforced command and control center. We can say the feds moved too slow, but when there is an unprecedented disaster and the feds are forced to start at less than zero, the people need to look at the failings of their state and local government.

  3. kevino Says:

    You are absolutely correct.

    Some of my friends are long-time residents of NO, and they have said for years that there is an attitude that allows corruption of the worst kind in all phases of state and local government. And the attitude is always that the Federal government will come bail them out.

    This is why the basic infrastructure for civil defense and disaster preparations has probably been paid for for years but never delivered. Somewhere under the water is the contract for engineering work that never got done by the company owned by the governor’s good friend. Radios out of power? No problem, the city paid for charging systems by the company owned by the mayor’s brother. I’m sure that we can find invoices for motor generators and fuel that was never delivered.

    Most of the state and local officials are corrupt and incompetent. The new mayor may mean well, but fighting corruption in NO is like bailing out the city with a bucket.

    Now, here’s the problem: everybody knows about NO’s problems. Everybody. Any FEMA official who announces that a certain action will be “coordinated with state and local officials” is an idiot. The Federal government has to take charge of this problem. State and local officials do not have a clue. Other than basic knowledge of geography, do not expect anything from these people. (Oh, I’m sure that they PAID for a disaster plan years ago, but they don’t have one.)

    Once the governor relinquished control informally a couple of days ago, President Bush should have sent in the Army and federalized the whole situation. They are going to own this mess anyway, and they might as well take charge.

    I voted for Bush twice, but he’s much too late. NO needs to be treated like a third world country. Expect no help from local authorities. Put boots on the ground, establish communications, and go. I want to see C-130’s dropping supplies of food and water. I want to see military heavy equipment building temporary bridges and clearing roads. And I want to see the US Army on every street corner with M-60s and snipers on the roof.

    Oh, and by the way, my rules os engagement are simple: firing on rescue workers or NO police who aren’t looting is a depraved act that endangers public safety. Shoot. Them. Dead. No warning. No arrests. Same rules of engagement as in downtown Bagdad: do not fire unless fired-upon, but once they start shooting, stop them.

    (As you can probably tell, I’ve had enough.)

  4. American Patrol Says:

    Kevino,

    If he would of sent in the marines last weekend, he would of be accused of using excess force.

  5. Whitehall Says:

    This post needed to be written.

    I lived in NO in the 80’s – the local government there has a hard time keeping it together on a sunny day. Under a thin veneer of Southern gentility lies a Third World mentality made worst by a sense of entitlement – there’s little middle class “glue” in town.

    The news reports (Scarsborough especially) seem to ignore the physical problems – bridges washed out, rails blocked, airports underwater, even water transport slowed. What is a reasonable expectation of a timetable for massive intervention in such situations?

    One of the things Americans love about NO is the decrepitude of it. It’s so different from a well-run “white bread” American city. Well, there is a downside and we’re seeing it.

    Yes, a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live (or die) there.

    That said, it will be rebuilt – flooding is a regular event there, albeit at lower levels. The people do have a distinct cultural identity that they won’t let be diffused.

    BTW, there are industries there, such as ship building and oil industry equipment. The rest of the country is going to need that in the years ahead.

  6. Irate Savant Says:

    Let us cease the partisan squabbling regarding which level of government has failed New Orleans the most. That they have all failed is a certainty.

  7. skymuse Says:

    “If he would of sent in the marines last weekend, he would of be accused of using excess force.”

    Only by the moonbats. If the President had a Mulligan Wand that could reset this whole mess they’d complain about that.

    Actually, the left ought to be ecstatic — a manmade city is now returned to its natural state.

  8. THE GALVIN OPINION Says:

    A TALE OF 2 MAYORS: RAY NAGIN IS NO RUDY GIULIANI

    Giuliani did such a good job on 9/11 that he made it look easy. Not every mayor can show strength and leadership in a crisis. The power vacuum and Mayor Nagin’s failures have reminded us that Rudy Giuliani was a unique city leader.

  9. Bigenwald Family Adventures Says:

    Levee Blame Game

    The Trib has a fair overview of the levee funding controversy. Basically, their has been a plan to upgrade levees debated since 1965. Some parts were completed, some parts weren’t. One of the parts completed recently was the 17th Street

  10. American Patrol Says:

    How do you rescue refugees when many of them are armed gang armed members and heroin junkies who have gone days with out a fix?

    This is the reality of ths situation.

    New Orleans its self has failed.

  11. Joe Says:

    After reading Hugh Hewitt and others, I’m appalled at the big government think being spewed out by so-called conservatives. New Orleans is a city that should have ceased to exist 50 years ago. Why not recognize that and spend the money relocation it’s ciizens elsewhere in the country, then sell the French Quarter to a private entity to make it into a Disneyland park like thing. Seriously, it’s time to face the reality that it will be much, much cheaper to write off NO. (Especially since there is absolutely no question that this will happen again and next time, it will probably be worse.)

  12. Daly Thoughts Says:

    Tolerating The Intolerable

    As has most everyone, I have been utterly shaken to my core by the lawlessness that has erupted in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina’s destruction. While thousands remain trapped in the city, literally dying to get out, the response has been hi…

  13. Below The Beltway Says:

    New Orleans: Its Not Just Katrina

    Will Collier posts an elegy for New Orleans and tells us why it wasn’t just Katrina that caused the destruction of a once great city

  14. kevino Says:

    RE: Accused of excessive force.
    Yes, and not just excessive force. By law, the Federal government cannot send in the army without the approval of the state authorities. When the governor asked for “troops”, I’d have put her on the spot in front of witnesses: “When you say ‘troops’ do you mean that we should request National Guard from outside the state or do you want DoD to handle this? Do you relinquish control of this situation?” If she had said, “Yes,” then you have authority (of a sort).

    Yes, some people are going to gripe. Nothing you can do about it.

    RE: “How do you rescue refugees when many of them are armed gang armed members and heroin junkies who have gone days with out a fix?”
    Great question. My answer: “By treating the situation the same way we initially went in to provide food in Somalia — very carefully, very forcefully, and with a lot of firepower to back it up.”

  15. American Patrol Says:

    Kevino,

    I agree. But I don’t think a single local, state, or federal agency had a Samolia plan for the aftermath of a Huricane.

    In the future when we have to rescue a mass of people, where 80% of them are nothing but a bunch a pathetic losers, we will.

  16. cirby Says:

    “Let us cease the partisan squabbling regarding which level of government has failed New Orleans the most. That they have all failed is a certainty.”

    Actually, that’s *not* a certainty.

    The big failure was local. There were no plans, other than “everyone has to leave.” There were no stocked shelters, there were no plans for continuity of government, there were no communications plans in place, there was no training.

    The second failure was at the state level. Absolutely no control, no real effort to plan, and no real effort to recover.

    The Feds? According to the entire history of disasters in the US, it’s not their job. The Fed job is to support and assist, and only step in when the locals are overwhelmed. And when the locals gave up, the Feds stepped right in and started working.

    The real problem in New Orleans didn’t come about until Tuesday, when the levees broke. By Wednesday, it became apparent that the state and local folks had blown it. By yesterday, Federal assistance started showing up, and it’s coming in by the thousands of tons today.

  17. bb Says:

    NO! Enough with the defeatism. Yes, N.O. is mired in corruption. Yes, LA is mired in corruption. Yes, most of the things you say about the circumstances surrounding the area are true. BUT, N.O. will come back. It always has and it always will.

    I am not some Tony Robbins wannabe telling you to walk on fire but now is not the time to start crying in our beer. Now is the time to roll up our collective sleeves and get to work.

    Anybody from this region will tell you that we have seen these things happen before. Maybe not on this scale, but hurricanes, flooding, disasters are part of our life. We will return.

    Have there been mistakes? I’m sure. Probably huge mistakes that will become clear soon enough. But right now my main concern is the safety of the survivors and then the rebuilding of a great city (and equally, a great Mississippi coast). If people want to bitch and moan about their red and blue state obsessions, let them do it on their own time. Right now we only have time to solve the current problem at hand.

    sorry for the rant but New Orleans is a national treasure and will not be lost.

  18. samja Says:

    read on nro’s corner blog that the armed thugs are gang members from the prison that was destroyed …

    this should be a good opportunity to get rid of all of them 🙂

  19. disgusted Says:

    bb,

    I understand the spirit of your post and truly hope the Gulf Region comes back, but if this is what New Orleans is all about, I hope NO *NEVER* comes back.

    The behavior of the thugs and criminals in NO has been a national embarrassment.

    I know it’s probably only “a few”, but the culture in NO is so terribly corrupt and immoral it must share some blame in breeding such disgusting lawlessness.

  20. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Donut
    RE: Be Prepared

    “Be prepared to take care of yourself. 2 weeks supplies…” — Donut

    I’d recommend 90 days. Look at NO. It’ll be months before things return to close to normal….

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. That includes

    [1] kerosene for oil lamps.
    [2] Severl oil lamps.
    [3] Water filtration equipment, available at any good back-packing store.
    [4] Good collection of homeopathic materia medica and a reference book.
    [5] Make the radio a solar-powered or hand-crank charging one.

  21. cirby Says:

    Chuck:

    Nowadays, I’d pass on the kerosene lantern, and get a good LED flashlight and a pack of batteries.

    I have an LED bicycle headlight. It puts out more than enough light to read by (more than any kerosene lantern I’ve seen), and gets a couple of hundred hours of light out of one set of 3 AAA batteries. It also doesn’t catch things on fire if you drop it.

    Modern tech is great. Small radios have better sound, weight much less, and get a couple of days off of one pair of AA cells.

    I *always* have a big stock of batteries, since so many things run off of them.

  22. Edward Says:

    Two problems with New Orleans that were not self-inflicted were thousands of their National Guard who would’ve helped people and maintained order are in Iraq and the federal government slashed the money to build the levies.
    I don’t know how many people are armed. I don’t know how many police were corrupt. But when you say you want an American city treated like a third world country you demean this country.
    Stealing is not a capital offense. Stealing food and water when you’ve been sitting in over 90 degree heat surrounded by floating dead bodies is natural. And I suspect everyone who is puffing out their chest saying Shoot Them Down would be the first to go for a weapon in the same situation so who are they to judge?

  23. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    Disaster Planning–Or Lack Thereof

    Neo-Neocon has some thoughts on New Orleans’ lack of preparation for a disaster that–in typical 20/20 hindsight–now seems inevitable:This lethal stew of prohibitive cost, corruption, competing ideas about what was necessary, and denial that something…

  24. Keith Says:

    New Orleans has been a filth city for decages and all Katrina did was flush it. Should have happened years ago. I agree with Denny Hastert, why should we rebuild it? Waste of money.

  25. RightNumberOne Says:

    Will,

    As a fellow Louisianian, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    My take on it wasn’t quite as “gentille” as yours.

    http://rightnumberone.blogspot.com/2005/09/let-blame-game-commence.html

  26. tgd Says:

    Edward,

    Save the lecture and the ridiculous Bush bashing. It makes you sound stupid.

    You know as well as everyone else that the thugs of New Orleans are taking big screen TVs, sneakers and jewelry. The thugs are carjacking folks, raping, robbing and murdering.

    When a city acts like a 3rd World country it should be treated like one.

    Shoot. Them. Dead.

  27. Sid Says:

    I am up to my eyeballs with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s ranting about the lack of help from the federal government. If he and his administration had adequately planned for this inevitable catastrophe and had provided for the evacuation of those unable to help themselves, then federal agencies would neither need to rescue thousands of stranded victims nor unfortunately have to recover thousands of bodies. It’s time for him to shut up, get out of his newly relocated, air-conditioned office, and get close to the action! The people of New Orleans don’t need their elected leader flailing around screaming for “Will Rogers,” they need him to provide civil, coherent leadership in this time of crisis.

  28. Edward Says:

    I didn’t even mention Bush just to keep it friendly you fucking prick but if you want to get nasty we can. And don’t call me stupid you fucking moron. The country you’re talking about is your own. Do you want to talk about why you don’t think it is? Could it be all the scary dark faces?

    I don’t know what they’re stealing and neither do you. And I’m not condoning it, I’m saying it doesn’t matter and you don’t set up snipers to shoot thieves.
    Asshole.

    I think we can both agree if here are 100 people stealing there are still 1000s that just need help.

    You do not send American soldiers to kill American people. You do not unleash your own army on your own country because the kind of soldier that will shoot an American is not an American.

  29. tgd Says:

    Edward,

    That might be the dumbest post I’ve ever read on the internet.

    Wow. Truly dumb.

  30. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: cirby
    RE: Lights!

    “Nowadays, I’d pass on the kerosene lantern, and get a good LED flashlight and a pack of batteries.” — cirby

    Those are nice too. I have some myself. But the good ole lamps burn more than kerosene. And how long do you think you can rely on batteries if things REALLY go ‘south’, e.g., Lucifer’s Hammer scenario?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  31. LNS Says:

    Chuck and Donut,

    90 days or even 2 weeks of supplies is a great idea for those who can afford it, but a lot of the people in trouble down there now can’t. What do they do?

    You can try to wash your hands of it, I suppose, and say ‘Well, it’s their problem.’ Every man for himself, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. But as you can see, it’s not just their problem, it’s OUR problem.

  32. John L Says:

    Anyone that actually grew up on teh Gulf Coast got the annual round of TV and newspaper stories telling everyone what to do at the beginning of every hurricane season. THAT was warning #1. They were all told they needed to stock food and water, batteries, flash lights, a radio, ammo, etc. They were all told what the evacuation routes were and asked to have a plan for where they would go. A full 48 hours BEFORE the hurricane came they were told to evacuate. That means take the supplies we’ve told you every single year to stock, go along one of the pre-planned routes out of here, and go to the place we told you to plan in advance for. If the people failed to follow these plans, or if they decided to ride out the storm, then they risk facing the situation we have today. Furthermore, although it backfired in the end, everyone who couldn’t do all of the above was told to grab what they could and stay in the Superdome. These were the plans. These were ALWAYS the plans. Those who followed them are displaced, but alive, fed and watered, and medicated if needed. Those who didn’t are suffering a nightmare scenario.

    And for those of us who have lived and played in New Orleans, I dare any of you to lie and say you didn’t expect the situation they have there today.

  33. John L Says:

    Edward,

    It is called maintaining order. It’s called martial law. Yes, you shoot to kill. When the situation is as bad as it is in New Orleans, the only thing you can’t let get away is order. If the person in the scope is taking more than food, water, or a pair of shoes (there is a lot of broken glass under that water) then they get one warning to surrender followed by a bullet.

  34. Jamie Says:

    Not simply to pile on Edward, but… A timid approach to looting will not stop it. And next time around, when the mayor says to get out of town because a hurricane’s on the way, how many more people will not go because they know that the police did not or could not maintain law and order, and they’re likely to lose all their possessions again?

    “All the scary dark faces” indeed. It’s only the armed scary people of whatever hue who hold no regard for their fellow sufferers, and who seek to capitalize on the chaos any way they can, who enrage me. We saw in NYC what a city that pulls together instead of tearing apart can do to rise from its rubble – and I freely admit that 9/11 is a blip compared to this, and I know that scale matters.

    Thank you, Texas, for everything you’ve done and will do for the dispossessed. Thank you, power workers for many states around, for working tirelessly to get the lights back on. Thank you, medicos from all over the country, for working in far worse than MASH conditions. Thank you, Guardsmen, for fulfilling your promises. Thank you, decent people of New Orleans, for being stoic in the face of disaster, and for helping out your unknown neighbors as best you can.

  35. Mike in Colorado Says:

    Wow, lots of 20/20 hindsight. I lived on the Louisiana coast for 5 1/2 years (left in ’98) and visited NO many, many times for business and pleasure. I liked Will’s post; it’s pretty much how I feel. NO is not all that different from other cities in many ways (the good, the bad and the ugly), but, at the same time, very different in many ways. From what I’ve seen of the current situation I doubt that it can be rebuilt to make it like it was, but maybe some change will be good. But it WILL be rebuilt, just like Chicago, San Francisco, Galveston, and a host of other places have been rebuilt. Everyone loves to point out how “they knew” this was going to happen, just like they know California will be sliding into the sea some day, fires will burn down half of LA, Miami will be washed away in a hurricane, Las Vegas will run out of water, etc. Stuff happens in the natural world and humans are pretty powerless against it. We hate to think of ourselves that way, so we endlessly engage in this second guessing process of shoulda, coulda, woulda. It’s interesting and entertaining, and it may even help a little, but not much. Better to concentrate right now on the present, not the past. There’s plenty of “blame” to go around, just like there always is.

  36. DB Says:

    GWB needs to put Giuliani in charge of NOLA.

  37. RightNumberOne Says:

    Edward,

    We need snipers set up to take the POLICE LOOTERS out in New Orleans.

    That’s how corrupt it is.

    And if you don’t think the police are looting in New Orleans, then you have your head up your ass.

  38. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: LNS
    RE: Supplies

    “90 days or even 2 weeks of supplies is a great idea for those who can afford it…” — LNS

    Shop at Sam’s Club. You can get 50 pounds of rice for $10.

    Lessee….50 pounds dried rice…that’s about 100 days worth of rice, for one person.

    Skip the crack habit for a couple of days and you can live for several months.

    “…but a lot of the people in trouble down there now can’t. What do they do?” — LNS

    Sounds like Piss Poor Planning to me.

    Now, that may sound callous. And God knows I’ve been called a callous SOB in the past. If you feel ike calling me that yourself…feel free. I’ve been abused by the best.

    But, it will not deny the truth. Then again, a lot of people laughed at Noah, too.

    RE: Not My Problem

    “You can try to wash your hands of it, I suppose, and say ‘Well, it’s their problem.’ Every man for himself, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. But as you can see, it’s not just their problem, it’s OUR problem.” — LNS

    Ever hear of a term called ‘discernment’?

    I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that a lot of those people called out to Noah in the Ark asking to get in. But did Noah let them in? You tell me….

    On the other hand, when the Spirit moves me, I act accordingly. When was the last time you picked up a hitchhiker?

    Then again, a while back I was waiting outside of Sakura Square in Denver for a Japanese market to open up. I needed supplies for an Alpha Course dinner I was preparing.

    Some guy, who had just thrown down a brown paper bag with some form of empty glass container in it, asked me for money. Three guesses as to my reply. First two don’t count.

    RE: Reality Check

    Louisiana needs to get its act together. So far that governor has done little, if anything. At least as far as I can tell.

    When they get their act together, then I’ll consider doing something constructive.

    Hope that helps…

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The truth moves on, by-passing those who reject or ignore it.]

  39. Chuck Pelto Says:

    P.S. My discussion with Donut was in terms of prior planning, for oneself.

    You can take it or leave it. At YOUR hazard.

  40. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Mike in Colorado
    RE: Why Bother?

    “But it WILL be rebuilt, just like Chicago, San Francisco, Galveston, and a host of other places have been rebuilt.” — Mike in Colorado

    The Corps of Engineers has been fighting a valiant delaying action for decades, up stream, where the Red River joins the Mississippi.

    Why?

    Well…because the Mississippi River wants to run down a different course to the Gulf at that point. All that silt build up is causing a LOT of back-pressure.

    There are several geologically tracked courses that Ole Man River uses to get to the Gulf. The one past Baton Rouge and New Orleans is just one of them. The river NOW wants to run down to the Gulf a hundred miles to the west of New Orleans.

    This is not necessarily a TOTAL disaster. It’s also an opportunity…..if we have the courage to grab it.

    Who was it, amongst the lefties in 2004, who said, “Change is good”?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  41. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: DB
    RE: Dictatorial Power to GW!!!!

    “GWB needs to put Giuliani in charge of NOLA.” — DB

    Then he can appoint a governor in every major city too. [Note: Why am I reminded of Star Wars IV. The Senate is disbanded. The Emporer is allowing the governors to rule their respective territories….]

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  42. MarsBlog -- News and Commentary on Space Says:

    Saying Something That Needs To Be Said

    Will Collier does it….

  43. Patrick Chester Says:

    Chuck: Well, the LLL keeps saying Bush is a dictator like Hitler. Maybe they really believe all the major decisions are up to him, and there aren’t any little laws that might just prevent him from, oh, using military units for police work and such.

  44. Samantha Neal Says:

    To: LNS

    I lived on the Gulf Coast for 15 years. My family wasn’t well off by any stretch of the imagination, but I can remember my mother begining to shop for supplies for hurricane season in early May, speading the cost out over a few paychecks so it wouldn’t hurt the budget as bad. By the time I was 9 I could list off the 3 major routes and 2 minor ones out of town that were the least likely to flood. We were taught in school how to read a tracking chart and how to tell if the hurricane was bad enough to require evacuating for. Opal in ’95 caught our area by surprise (When we went to bed she was a cat 1 that was “days” away, when we woke up she was a cat 5 that was 16 hours from landfall. She had weakened back down to a strong cat 3 /at/ landfall, but her surge and wave action was still that of a Cat 5) but even with folks caught on the road by Opal, we had nothing like the lack of preparations we are seeing in NO. This isn’t just the various governments at fault. At some point you need to start taking personal responsibly for yourself and your loved one’s safety.

  45. The bottle opener Says:

    Why everyone else is wrong about New Orleans

    While not a native, I have spent a fair amount of time in New Orleans. Indeed, the coverage on the television (particularly of the convention center, where I spent weeks Conferencing for a former employer) looks familiar in an I-think-I’ve-been-there-…

  46. Ken Says:

    “Stealing is not a capital offense. Stealing food and water when you’ve been sitting in over 90 degree heat surrounded by floating dead bodies is natural.”

    But shooting at rescue vehicles is damn well a capital offense. Our country can’t afford to let the animals that are stupid and vicious enough to do that out of the disaster area to infest other communities. They need to be shot.

    Shooting at the guys bringing food, water, and medical care is not a move brought on by desperation. It’s not a natural reaction driven by survival instinct. It’s a move calculated to prolong suffering and increase the hazard to yourself and everyone else with no other conceivable purpose, and for the safety of the entire community, it must be a capital crime.

  47. Robin Roberts Says:

    Edward, you are amusingly ignorant. Louisiana has thousands of National Guard – Governor Blanco sat on her hands for days. Just as Mayor Nagin sat on his hands both before and after. Nagin’s incompetent city government failed to organize an evacuation, failed to even keep track of places they had told people to go to for shelter, and watched as New Orleans police deserted.

    Nagin whined about not being sent 500 buses when his incomptent government had allowed hundreds of buses to sit and become flooded.

    Instead you want to blame the federal government who didn’t have the authority to make decisions for Nagin or Blanco and couldn’t act except through Blanco or Nagin.

    Grow up. The adults are too busy right now to pay attention to your filled diaper.

  48. The Moderate Voice Says:

    Blog Reaction To Hurricane Katrina

    It has been a week since the monster storm and story called Hurricane Katrina has been pitchforked into the headlines in the news media — and on weblogs.

    Here’s an extensive cross-section of reaction on “blogs” to the Hurricane. Link…

  49. Raptor Says:

    I visit VodkaP daily goes well with my morning coffee.
    Guess little eddie can’t see past his Liberial blinders.
    Looters taking tv’s,jewlery,etc are thieves of the worst kind shooting them is appropriate.You must have missed the videos of looting Cops.Shooting at rescue workers absolutly unforgivable and grounds for Summary Execution.Taking food/water and 1 pair of shoes is understandable and forgivable.Taking 1/2 dozen pair of Nikes is not.Who do you think should be held responsable for those city and school buss’ sitting unused for evac.Let me take a guess:How about the Mayor and Govenor.After all those buss’ come under thier athority.Whose responsability was it to stock the Dome and Convetion center with supplies and provide security:I believe that would fall under the perview of the Mayor and Govenor.Very few of the Gaurdsman deployed to Iraq are equipped and trained for rescue work.Kinda funny isn’t that the levies that collasped were the ones that were recently rebuilt.Why were they only built to catagory 3 specs.
    The Feds don’t get off scot free.Thier biggest mistake was,once it was obvious the Mayor and Gov.were shown to be incompatent at best,at worst criminally negligent.Then Preis.Bush should have declared martial law and Federalized the disaster.By chance,my Liberial little buddy(eddie),did you notice that as soon as the Military was cut loose 25,000 people at the Dome were evac in less than 12 hrs.

  50. SAHMmy Says:

    Folks Edward isn’t just a baby filling his diaper, and he isn’t just a liberal, he’s a MOONBAT.

    Pay him no mind.

    But if you want a chortle, go to his website. heh

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