Sunday, September 18, 2005

Reopening the city


No One wants the city to reopen faster than I do. No one is a bigger proponent of bringing back New Orleans more than me. Its kind of hard selling wine without a wine shop or customers. I've been back to Mid City five times now (going back Tuesday) and I've been deep into Lakeview and Old Metairie twice. Its nothing pretty and its not yet suitable for human living. I badly want to do this thing (getting back) but I also want to do it right. Like many people, I have a young child's health to consider and I hesitate bringing him back until things are significantly improved from what they are now. The picture above was from the Picayune's website and it shows my street Dumaine (several blocks back from my house) looking towards the Bayou, although it could be any street in Mid-City that flooded. IF we are going to rebuild our city we need a reasonable, accurate time frame for rehabilitation of the city instead of these hurry up and wait announcements like we've had in the French Quarter that do nothing but deject us. Its like telling a kid on December 23rd that Christmas is postponed until further notice. Also, AB was very clear on what Jefferson's return plan was -get in, look around and get out. You'll be back in a month. I'm the biggest Nagin fan there is, but is Hizzoner's (now rescinded) re-entry plan a call to come back and stay or a call to come back and pick up. There is too much political ambiguity at a time when an entire city needs hard, concrete calls to action.

I actually thank
FEMA for being a voice of reason. In yesterday's on-line Picauyne "Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for the federal government’s Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, said federal officials are concerned with the timeline proposed by Mayor Ray Nagin to repopulate the city, which would begin Monday with a return to Algiers and then continue Wednesday with a return to parts of Uptown. Nagin's administration has already backed off on the timetable, saying it would take a wait-and-see approach for the schedule after Monday.
“What’s important to understand is that conditions are, in many cases, inhospitable,” he said. “It’s not like it used to be. People need to be aware of the safety and health hazards.”