General Question

mzgator's avatar

What can the residents of New Orleans, Louisiana do to help rebuild their city?

Asked by mzgator (4140 points ) August 14th, 2007

The two year anniversary of Katrina will be this month. Not much progress has happened there since the storm. My husband and I go down there at least once a month and help out all we can. It seems that the city is stuck in a non productive rut. What do you think would help out? The city is a great place with some great people. It is just filled with so many problems

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9 Answers

nomtastic's avatar

the city should secede from louisiana.

gooch's avatar

I go there quite often to gamble at the casino. I feel the they need to help themself by fighting crime so tourism can return to one of the greatest tourist places I have ever been to....and I have traveled alot. The history there is awesome....the music, the food, the culture, the architecture, its almost like being in another country yet they speak English...kinda

nomtastic's avatar

no... there actually are a lot of efforts underway. check out common ground health clinic (www.cghc.org) and new orleans acorn for starters.

GD_Kimble's avatar

Local, state, and federal officials need to be FINALLY taken to task over the (mis)management of relief resources. Having done that, turn the efforts over to people that will be held publicly accountable.

kevbo's avatar

Speaking as a former resident of the metro area, I don't think there's going to be an effective government response, and with respect I don't think anyone is going to be held accountable in a meaningful way.

Pre-Katrina, New Orleans' public infrastructure pretty much sucked with no real impetus to make improvements. In addition to being a poor state, it's very much a place where the rich take care of their own and the poor are left to fend for themselves and scrap for whatever meager services are available. For example, my private, Catholic high school had completely restored its entire campus within one year of the disaster thanks to a generous alumni network. So if you're able to afford the $5,000/yr tuition, your kid can go to a great school. Otherwise, your looking at a chronically underfunded and now flood damaged public school. Both will be underwater again, anyway, without comprehensive work on the levees, which requires a federal and state response.

But, we have a Bush administration that can't seem to get much done anywhere despite emptying the national treasury (and who has clearly turned a blind eye to NOLA), and then we have a state government which has held on to the French legacy of using public office for private gain, and then we have a city that could barely provide services to begin with (which had been obscured, I think, by the aforementioned private social networks).

Even if there is a turnaround on the national level and New Orleans gets some attention, I really think that the money that goes into rebuilding New Orleans will continue to be diluted by state and local government corruption or just plain bureaucracy. Private interests in New Orleans will continue to maintain and rebuild their institutions (although this will be more difficult with the economy the way it is), and the poor will continue to fend for themselves. Not that this hasn't been happening for the past 200 years or more of the city's existence.

I hate to say this, but probably nothing much is going to change unless another big one hits. Then, maybe, elected officials and the city's populace will either really ---- or get off the pot.

I don't mean to be a pessimist. I love New Orleans and what it gave to me in my years growing up. To me, the irony of a wrecked New Orleans is of astronomical proportions. Of all the places in the world, this one has music, food, and culture, that you can't find anywhere else. Moreover, this is a place where the people for the most part can't in their lives imagine living anywhere else. I mean even through all the crap they've endured (and with an even weaker levee system), they still hope. Having had the Saints to cheer for, they're experts on hope.

@mzgator, thanks for bringing this up, for doing what you are doing to rebuild and for giving me an opportunity to vent my spleen on the issue. I wish it was different, but like many New Orleanians can't imagine what that would look like.

Seems like the Times-Picayune agrees. Here's today's front page story... http://blog.nola.com/nola/2007/08/katrina_aid_goes_toward_posh_c.html

mzgator's avatar

Kevbo you are so quite welcome. Anything I can do to bring attention to this great city that alot of people have forgotten is good news for me. I am in love with NOLA...New Orleans Louisiana. I was not born or raised there, but have come to love the people, the food, the music and everything about her. The people are some of the greatest I have ever met in my walk of life. I do not speak of the rich. I speak of the everyday sort of folk who grind out each and every day in the great city of New Orleans. Each has their own story. Each one is different and special in its own way. There seems to be a unique love of people and life. Yes, there is beauracracy in New Orleans. Yes, this is Louisiana, however, the true people of the city have touched a place in my heart that I will never forget. New Orleans has made me a better person. New Orleans has made my daughter a better person. She has embraced New Orleans as I have. I want to see New Orleans rebuild and become better. Out of all of the bad press...there are still great people there. People who want to work for a better future. People who want to keep the magic of New Orleans alive. As long as I live I will do everything I can to keep New Orleans alive and prospering so that my grandchildren will be able to love this great city as I have. There is so much history in New Orleans. There is a great saying that New Orleans was built on the back of slaves and whores. The lowest of the low as society would say have made this a greaty city. It seems that the "lowest of lows" are the only one who have returned...it is my hope and sincere prayer that these "lowest of lows" turn this magnificent city into a place that our whole nation can be proud of. I will continue volunteering, helping and praying into this city and the people do something the whole world will notice and be proud of. We do not need Bush or anyone else to do this. We need a giving and loving and proud presence of hard working individuals willing to work hard and make the changes needed to make this possible. New Orleans is more than a party town. Partying there is fun. The people there are going to find a way to make it happen, although it may take a while. Keep New Orleans in your prayers and the people too,as we will be doing something special. If you want to do something to help...visit us.....I am. I will be going to NewOrleans tomorrow. I will be there until the weekend. Eating, Shopping and hopefully making a difference. 14 years ago I spent my honeymoon there, in a rented hotel room,paid for by my mother in law. We were just starting out, and money was very tight. I thought I had died and gone to heaven to get to spend a weekend there. Now, life has been good to us, we try to do all we can to do our part to help there. My husband was one of the first volunteers there trying to get people out after the flooding. Each time I go and see the overpass near the Superdome, I cringe thinking that in America people died like they did there in the heat with no food and water. As I said, Keep this great city in your thoughts and prayers. No matter what the press says, the people, at least the majority of them, are great hard working people who just need a chance. I am hoping that their chance comes soon before it is too late.

kevbo's avatar

I will, and again, thank you.

To answer your question, what those good people should do is gut and rebuild Louisiana politics.

hossman's avatar

The fact that none of the local or state politicians were run out of office by the voters after Katrina tells me none of the politicians fear the voters (or they are confident they can continue to control them) and any money sunk into New Orleans will disappear into many pockets. I really hate to suggest the involvement of the federal government in issues more appropriately addressed by local or state governments, but the only way anything significant has a hope of being done in an effective and efficient manner would be if it was controlled by one of the federal bureaucracies less prone (and boy is this a relative concept) to incompetence and corruption, say the Army Corps of Engineers. But every time the federal government (of any Prez's administration) has tried to move forward, the local and state politicians have insisted everything be channelled through them (they know a fatted calf when they see one). You'd think y'all live up here in Chicago the way your elected officials can make money disappear.

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