(I posted this to First Draft but decided yo cross post it here)
Though I don’t post to or check the NOLA blog much anymore it was set up in a way that any comments are emailed to me. So I woke up this morning to find a new comment from the brave and elucidative “Anonymous” to a post about Mary
a New Orleanian fighting to hold the Army Corp of Engineers responsible for safe levees. Here it is…
Seems to me that Mary might be wasting her time. She would be more productive actually helping some old person clean up their house or even work to clean up her own neighborhood. She is tilting at windmills. It is hard to go through such a disaster but there comes a time to get back to reality and clean up the mess instead of waiting for us to come and do it for her. The levees will be fixed and since she is not likely an engineer how is she going to know if they were fixed properly? If I lived there I would get out instead of standing around in the sun with a worthless placard.
I suppose I should put down the chair and take the time to inform the obviously ignorant Anonymous...in fact all the anonyMouses who may be out there because more and more I am hearing similar things from them.
First…THE LEVEES ARE NOT BEING FIXED! Not to withstand another Katrina. Experts
(not non-engineer Mary) who know of these things have said that the work that is being done will only protect NOLA from a Category 3 hurricane. They wouldn’t even protect NOLA from certain types of Cat 3 hurricanes (which was the case with Katrina) much less a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. In fact the Army Corps of Engineers told Congress this week that they need another $6 Billion to protect all of the NOLA area from a 1 in 100 catastrophic hurricane. Upon hearing this LA Senator Mary Landrieu was so pissed off SHE walked out of the meeting
"If you say you aren't going to protect lower Plaquemines, what's next? Lower Terrebonne? Lower Lafourche? And then what, the middle parts?" asked a visibly angry Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., as she walked out of the meeting with Powell and Lt. General Carl Strock, commander of the Corps of Engineers. "Seven months after Katrina, they still don't realize they have a bill to pay. They don't want to pay it."
That’s Mary Freaking Landrieu for Christ sakes. A Democrat that has disappointed me so many times on her votes that I’ve wanted to throw a chair at her has grown a pair Post Katrina and is telling Bush’s boy and a general where to stick it.
Now Anonymous may question....what is this “bill” of which Landrieu speaks?”
Well Anonymous, my eager “cleaner,” sit down and take some time to read this
to learn that the levees were a federal project and the feds screwed the pooch resulting in the non cleaned neighborhoods of New Orleans of which you write. Yes people in Louisiana actually have the temerity to expect that the federal government should stand by their work and be held responsible when it fails. I’m sure in your neck of the woods the people are not so brazen. Why I bet if say due to poor engineering the overpass of the federal Interstate collapsed on your mother’s car you wouldn’t say a peep but rather get on over to the accident scene and start cleaning up. Of course one would allow you a modicum of time for the reality to come and go before we expected you to rebuild that overpass. Sounds ludicrous? Not anymore so than what you are asking of Louisiana residents. Do read on.
THE FAILED LEVEES DESTROYED 80% of NEW ORLEANS! We are not talking about a neighborhood here and there. We are not talking about a few downed trees to cut up and haul away. We Are talking about mile after mile of destroyed homes and complete loss of infrastructure and community. There are still areas with no electricity, phones, street lights or even potable water. Firefighters can not get water pressure to fight fires. Garbage pick up is spotty to none at all. The justice system is non existent. There were law students in NOLA for spring break trying to re-assemble the court docket as 7000 people languish in jails. Some have already served months more time than the sentence of their original offense would have been.
Individuals residents can not re-build the infrastructure of a city. It's why we have government remember? Tell me you don't own and maintain your own personal fire dept, police dept, sanitation dept, public works dept, legal system or school system.
Individual residents actually are in limbo from even rebuilding their own homes because FEMA can not get the flood maps completed. Flood maps determine the standards to which a house must be built. If you don’t meet the standard good luck getting a mortgage or insurance. FEMA can’t complete the flood maps without knowing how the levees will be rebuilt by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps can’t do the job without a decision from Bush and Congress. Anonymous do you get a feel for the bureaucratic red tape and outright buck passing neglect going on here? You say you “would go out instead of standing around.”
People are not standing around because they are lazy. It is because there is no leadership to remove these obstacles that individuals run into at every turn of the corner..… Federal obstacles. Even FEMA admits
they are holding up the re-building process. But it isn’t your problem, oh wait, unless….. Anon do you live in the United States of America? Yes? Well jeez I guess since it is your government, it’s your problem after all. That’s what that pesky “United” gets you in the the good ‘ol U
Finally to Anonymous the wise psychologist who says this…”It is hard to go through such a disaster but there comes a time to get back to reality”
…. IT ISN’T OVER! The disaster is ongoing and these people live in that reality everyday. Let’s say you can talk of getting back to reality after you go live in theirs. You can make such pronouncements after you live with the experience of……
--The needless death of family, friends and neighbors,
--The loss of your home with diminishing hope for rebuilding in sight
--The loss of your job as your company relocated
--The knowledge that up tp 400 bodies still lie in the rubble
of your city because the feds stopped looking October 3rd
--The loss of your church as the diocese or other such powers can’t afford to rebuild it
--The loss of your entire community and all that entails….your gas station, your grocery store, your favorite restaurant and coffee shop, your kid's school, your kid's park and soccer league, your friends and neighbors (who knows where they even are)
Anonymous, tell me true if this were your reality, if your city were to look like that and you and all your family were sleeping in your cars
because FEMA won’t give you keys to the trailer or hook up the electricity to it and you can’t stay in a rotting molding house on which you still must pay a mortgage and you have to drive miles to even get groceries with no money because you are out of work and you didn’t have a right to complain or feel sorry for yourself because everybody else has it just as bad or worse than you….tell me true now, if I told you to just suck it up and move on …. Wouldn’t you want to sock me in the jaw for being such an ignorant, callous idiot? Of course you wouldn’t do it as you’d find yourself in a NOLA jail for what is truly an indeterminent sentence. On second thought maybe you would as jail just may be a better “reality.”
So Anonymous I hope your comment wasn’t as drive by as your commitment to your fellow citizens of the USA and you get to read this. I hope you ponder on what I’ve written. And I hope you take some action instead of standing around waiting for others to do so. No I don’t mean go to New Orleans. Instead Go To Washington. A phone call or an email may suffice. Your government is not doing its job and if you can not or will not see that then just wait because the New Orleans Reality may well come to your town. Just don’t become disillusioned with America or depressed when YOUR world is destroyed and you feel abandoned by your government and many of your fellow Americans and left to wonder…How can this be happening in America? And if you aren't willing to help and fight for Louisiana then be a MAN / WOMAN and just tell them so. If they really are not a part of the UNITED States let them know. Maybe they can hook up with someone else. Maybe the French would like them back. Just don't bash the French when they decide to make you pay more for your food and gasoline that must come through Their port now. You had your chance.
Finally I offer the words and photos of Jose. He lived in New Orleans. Though he is Portuguese he understands what America is all about better than I dare say the AnonyMouses of our land do. However perhaps because he is Portuguese he says it much nicer than I.
at original posting.