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September 04, 2007

Katrina: Dollars and (Non)Sense

Last week, we observed the second anniversary (or would that be deathiversary?) of Hurricane Katrina. President Bush went to New Orleans and expressed all the right sentiments, blah blah blah. Pop quiz: Who wants to bet that once Bush is out of office, all this Katrina whining will cease?

It's been two years, and much of New Orleans is still a major mess. But let's face it, it was a mess before Katrina...Katrina simply gave some an excuse to put the blame for it on someone else than local leadership for a change.

John Hawkins expressed it very well last week in his Town Hall column:

Moreover, people lose their homes in this country every day of the year. If it isn't a hurricane, it's an earthquake. If it isn't an earthquake, it's a tornado. If it isn't a tornado, it's a fire. If it isn't a fire, it's a flood. Yet nobody sits and frets about John Doe, age 58, who lost his house in a flash flood two years ago or Jane Doe, age 60, who had her house blown away by a twister back in 2005.

But, we're all supposed to eternally sit around and weep tiny little tears of sadness for the people who really took it on the chin in a hurricane because they chose to live in a city shaped like a soup bowl on the coast. Let me tell all the citizens of New Orleans something that should have been told to them 18 months ago: it's time to stop playing the sympathy card and get over it.

Nobody is owed a living for the rest of his life because he had a bad break two years ago. Yet, we still have people affected by Katrina who have FEMA paying their rent. How sad and pathetic is it that these shiftless people are still leaching off their fellow citizens? Since when is being in the path of a hurricane supposed to give you a permanent "Get Out of Work Free" card?

As a fun little project (courtesy of husband-dude), let's take a look at how much federal money has been thrown at New Orleans as compared to what was thrown at San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake (note: this does not take into account charitable donations by private citizens):

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:49 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Government

Here's a heart tugger - NOT!

I work at an all black Catholic high school for boys on the south side of Chicago. 99.9% of all support to this school comes from white Irish Catholic Alumni. No black foundations, no black corporations, or no black individual philanthropists give a dime. They have all been asked - annually for the 14 years that I have been Director of Development.


This past year, a Catholic High School run by the Josephite Order asked Leo for help - these same individuals refused to offer to say mass for our kids. The Josephites have a guest house in Chicago where priests on sabbatical come to rest.

As Leo has no parish or religious order sponsorship, he could have used a vacationing priest to say the odd mass no and then.

This high school received National attention for its band and their snappy uniforms. They refused to encourage a vacationing priest to say a mass , but had no problem trying to put the bite on our generous - white Irish Catholic Alumni - I told them to pound sand.

Posted by: Pat Hickey at September 4, 2007 10:42 AM

Sorry - I was in full vent - The Josephite High School in Question was from New Orleans and their request was post-Katrina.

What a shower of gobshites!

I loved New Orleans - it is and will be a toxic soup.

Posted by: Pat Hickey at September 4, 2007 10:48 AM

During the flash floods of the beginning of August this year, we lost our car due to water getting in the tailpipe - apparently, my husband should have not re-started the car and let it dry out. He did not know this, car started up after going through water almost up to the car door windows (minivan) so he continued to drive it. Engine seized, needs a new engine which costs more than the car is worth. Needless to say, till WE can afford it (not the government), he is driving an old car that was at his mom's - we put almost a thousand dollars of OUR money into it. Granted, we did not lose a house, we lost a car, but that is the risk you take driving through a pond where the road usually is. I feel for these people, I sent $ after it happened, but yes, enough is enough. Most everyone has suffered personal tragedy but they get back up again and rebuild their lives. And it is a risk you take living below sea level. We opted for a house on a hill, neighbors on the bottom of the hill are forever running sump pumps whenever it rains. They opted to stay when warnings were everywhere to evacuate. The mayor did not use $ properly to build up the levees and he watched those school buses go under water when they could have been used days before for evacuation. Should be interesting to see how this one reads in the history books 25,50,100+ years from now!

Posted by: Jeanette at September 4, 2007 11:34 AM

How incredibly heartless can you be? You have no first hand knowledge of what the people of the Gulf Coast have been through. Yes, New Orleans was broken before the storm. It is an incredibly poor city with corrupt public officials. That does not negate the fact that people are hurting. Louisiana plays a major role in the nation's economy and history. You show your ignorance by not addressing the importance of the state. Furthermore, the city flooded because of poor construction and maintenance of the levee system that was built and controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Despite your ignorance, what amazes me is your lack of compassion towards the increased suicide rates, people living with depression and PTSD. You try rebuilding your life when your family, friends, churches, schools, hospitals, courts, fire and police stations have all been flooded and heavily damaged. Your support network that is normally there in times of trouble are gone. Because everyone is facing the same devastation. If you ask me. The people of the Gulf Coast are a mighty reslient bunch.

Posted by: at September 5, 2007 10:32 AM

Oh please! If the Katrina victims would talk about it from a neutral standpoint, then maybe I could have some sympathy. But it's always about the race-card with them, from the very start. Did you - anonymous commenter above - take a look at the stats posted in the "jump" from the post? The amount of money that has gone to just New Orleans is staggering; if their own state officials can't disburse the money in a timely or appropriate manner, is that the US government's responsibility? And what about the Katrina AND Rita victims in Mississippi? Do we ever hear about them and what they lost? NO! The focus is constantly on New Orleans.

Those people made the CHOICE to live in a bowl that sinks at a rate of about 1/4 to 1/2" per year; they choose to live in the shadow of levees holding back a raging river and huge lake.

Actions, meet consequences.

Posted by: Kris, in New England at September 5, 2007 11:05 AM

at, consider the following.

New Orleans is built in the Mississippi Delta - the alluvial soil is compacting and sinking through a natural process called subsidence. Twenty five square miles of the delta are lost annually year. There is less and less of a natural buffer to protect the city with each passing year.

The dams and channels needed to keep New Orleans in existence and functional as an economic entity have also accelerated landloss in the Delta.

The city is in a depression beneath sea level.

The course of the Mississippi River through New Orleans is itself unnatural - in the words of Oliver Houck "Human beings have tried to restrict the river to one course - that's where the arrogance begins."

Let us accept the following talking points, both taken from the National Geographic website.

1. Global warming is real. If we accept the predictions then the ocean levels can be expected to rise at least 6 meters in the worst case scenario in the following decades.

2. It is believed that global warming will make hurricanes of greater duration and intensity in the coming years.

I have all the sympathy in the world for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in my estimation - the most incredibly heartless and cruel action we can take is to encourage and aid people to return to New orleans. Do I need to elaborate further?

Posted by: husband-dude at September 5, 2007 02:04 PM

Please, heartless? No, just tired of people not rebuilding their lives. Do NOT judge others because they are not from New Orleans, you have no idea what other losses we have all suffered, regardless of ones geography. You don't know me, you have no idea what I have endured through my life. As you say, basically, in your post "walk a mile", well, maybe you need to take your own advice as well.

Posted by: Jeanette at September 7, 2007 08:07 AM

What about the hurricane that hit Galveston TX in 1900. Who rebuilt Galveston? The government?
No, the citizens did of course they weren't thrid or fourth generation welfare families.

Posted by: Tanzfleck at September 10, 2007 01:25 PM

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