Why I don’t feel sorry for New Orleans

Oh my, where to begin? Let’s try a list of the reasons :

  1. Their mayor, Ray Nagin. A recent quote of his – “You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair.” Very tactful indeed, Mr. Nagin. That will rally the country for your cause.
  2. The city is BELOW SEA LEVEL. Read that carefully. Below sea level. As in New Orleans sits lower than the sea. It was a stupid place to build a city, it was a stupid place to live, and it was stupid for the residents to stay there once they were old enough to realize that the city sat below sea level.
  3. It’s been a year. Time to move on, folks.
  4. Many had no flood insurance. See #2. Your city sits below sea level, yet you elect not to pay for flood insurance? Pure stupidity.
  5. Many had no insurance at all. Let’s see… your city is below sea level ( yes I realize I keep pointing that out ) , and located by the Gulf of Mexico – home to many hurricanes each year. What could possibly go wrong?
  6. They’ve had a ridiculous amount of assistance from the government. Quite frankly, the US government should have only been expected to come in and help evacuate and clean up the aftermath. That is all. There is no reason to house people who elected not to have insurance. Especially for such an extended period of time. A month? Ok, I’ll buy that. 6 months? 8? 10? Really now. It’s time to get a J-O-B and move on with your life.
  7. They insist on making excuses for everything. The government didn’t help quickly enough. They would’ve moved more quickly if the residents were white. I say, think before you speak, folks. You had access to a television or radio. You knew there was a hurricane coming – it didn’t come from nowhere. You chose not to leave. You chose not to pay $49 for a Greyhound ticket. You chose your fate, not the US government.

Many people keep harping on the fact that the majority of New Orleans residents were very poor, and I don’t dispute that. I ask, however, why were they poor? Were they victims of circumstance, or rather victims of themselves and lack of drive? I know many people who grew up with very little, and turned out just fine. Being poor is a choice, not a condition. Not everyone can be rich, but everyone can improve their financial situation, if they want to.

Rebuilding the city of New Orleans is foolish. It is nothing more than a colossal waste of money. It’s not a matter of if another hurricane will hit – it’s simply a matter of when, and how bad.

17 Comments

  1. Mark Folse said

    August 28 2006 @ 7:40 pm

    1. Most of the city is not significantly below sea level. Can you read a topographic map?

    2. Can’t count, either.

    3. It’s been five years since 9-11. Time to get over it.

    4. They had no flood insurance because the goddamn federal levees were supposed to protect them. New Orleans has the highest flood insurance participation of anywhere in the U.S.

    5. Many is a funny word. Most people here had insurance, and those who didn’t have renters policies pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. It must be nice to be you and not have these problems.

    6. All of the money spent so far has gone to FEMA and their contractors. Total number of people receiving direct rebuilding assistance to date in Louisiana as of last Friday: two.

    7. Excuses for what? Figuring out how to rebuild a city of a half-million people with no federal assitance is a bitch. You’re welcome to come down and participate in the process before your post your opinion. Yes we complained about the FEMA response, because the mother lovers at FEMA came down here during the PAM Hurricane exercise and told everybody, “don’t worry, we’ve got that handled.” All of the hurricane plans (almost certainly including those for coastal Texas) are premised on locals/state hold out for 72 hours and the calvary comes. The calvary didn’t come. And man are we pissed about it. If you have information that Greyhound had buses available to move 50,000 people on the weekend before, please share it. My understand is they did not.

  2. leroybrown said

    August 29 2006 @ 5:26 am

    1. All the information I could find indicates that most of New Orleans is, on average, about 6 feet ( or roughly 2 meters ) below sea level.
    2. See #1
    3. There’s a fundamental difference here. 9/11 was an attack directly on our country and what our country stands for, by foreign terrorists. The victims had no warning, and no choice in the matter. Hurricanes are natural disasters, and provide plenty of warning to potential victims. Some choose not to heed such warnings.
    4. Sorry, you could build a wall 500ft high around my city.. if it was below sea level you can be damn sure I would own flood insurance. Period.
    5. I’ve spent a good many years living paycheck to paycheck. I fondly remember eating chewing gum for dinner. Yet I had the intelligence to pay for both renter’s insurance and flood insurance. These things should not ever be considered optional, with the exception of flood insurance if you live in the Rocky Mountains.
    6. “Victims” have been given a place to live for months. I cannot fathom how it would take more than 2 weeks at absolute most to find a job, and rent an apartment. It is not as difficult as it seems. $6/ hour is better than $0/ hour, every time.
    7. Again, rebuilding the city is a colossal waste of money and effort. I am sure you will disagree, and I’m sure I would too if I was a resident. This is one of those situations where I think it would be best to cut losses, and rebuild the city elsewhere.
    The cavalry didn’t come? Well golly, I assume that means people might actually have to fend for themselves, and not depend on the government to survive. Imagine that.

  3. humidhaney said

    November 25 2006 @ 2:27 pm

    Rebuild the city?

    Who ever asked to rebuild the city?

    All we have asked for it assistance protecting the city in terms of levees and wetlands.

    Why protect the city?
    Oh I don’t know. The Port. The Gas that flows through southern LA and NOLA which is the reason for the erosion of the wetlands that protect us from hurricanes in the first place. Part of American history. Thousands of Americans living in an area that was promised to be safe and not vulnerable (the levees and canals destroyed the city, not a hurricane).

    Well, we are not leaving so I guess the levees and wetlands will need to eventually be addressed.

    And about the stupid folks who did not leave the city . . . Why didn’t the rescue workers at ground zero wear masks when they were cleaning up and looking for bodies? Didn’t they think for a second that what they were breathing in could be bad for them? A painter’s mask costs about $1.00. And now they are all sueing the city. So sad. What a waste of tax payers hard earned money.

    Too dumb to cover their mouths. They trusted the government when they said it was safe to live in the city, I mean, breath the air.

    Silly New Yorkers.

  4. mark c said

    November 25 2006 @ 2:59 pm

    “6 feet (or roughly 6 meters)” Hmmmm…

  5. cb said

    November 25 2006 @ 8:19 pm

    The primary reason for building a *port* city at or below sea level is so that boats have ready access to the sea–the port of New Orleans is located where it is because of river conditions particularly favorable to navigation. The reason for locating a city at the port should be obvious. Also, it is a verfiable fact that not all of the city of N.O. is below sea level.

    500ft walls sound great–any Americans whose lives involve petroleum products and who use products that enter the country through the Port of N.O. are encouraged to call their representatives and advocate for this on New Orleans behalf. Most New Orleanians would probably settle for flood controls comparable to those of other industrialized nations, i.e. that are effective.

    I think the current correct number of people who have recieved direct financial assistance towards rebuilding may be three.

    Regarding issues of poverty, the evacuation, governmental assistance, as well as the specific matters addressed previously in this comment and others, it may be worthwhile to quit not feeling sorry for New Orleans (and the rest of the Katrina-affected Gulf)and acquire more reliable information on these matters. The betrayal of the American citizens of this area is tremendous, continues, and most likely will have a negative impact on the wellbeing of the nation’s economy and citizens if such ignorant attitudes prevail.

    Also, fuck Nagin, he’s a tool.

  6. E.J. said

    November 27 2006 @ 11:15 pm

    Wish I had seen this when you first wrote it. Coincidentally, a day after you wrote this, I wrote about why N.O. deserves more respect, which is great because I don’t have to waste too much time responding to this.
    http://noitsjustme.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

    People from N.O. to the million dollar homes on the MS Gulf Coast had no flood insurance because their insurance companies told them they wouldn’t need it; and since we’ve been paying much higher premiums since Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, it wasn’t all that loony of us to expect higher HURRICANE premiums to result in compensation for HURRICANE damages.

    Combined, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama have received 16% of the total monies contracted out for disaster recovery. Indiana is #1 in revenue received from those contracts and Virginia is #2. In short, all that money you think the U.S. gave us to rebuild is elsewhere. Ask your President or your Congressperson about it.

    Also, how much of your info do you get from New Orleans news sources or objective reports by places like the Brookings Institution? At least you titled this appropriately — “Random CRAP.” Maybe you should stick to posting your opinions of Mike Tyson, Courtney Love and bridal gown sales.

  7. Leroy Brown said

    November 28 2006 @ 6:51 am

    Re: Humid Haney
    The people at Ground Zero should have worn masks – absolutely. However, the primary difference there is that those people were trying to save the lives of others. They were there for a noble cause. The people who stayed behind in New Orleans were lazy. They didn’t feel like getting out of the city. Big difference…. laziness vs trying to save a life.

    Re: Mark C
    Thanks for catching that typo- fixed.

    Re: cb
    Nagin is a tool. Worthless as a human being, let alone as leader of a city.
    Also, how has New Orleans been betrayed? Is it because they haven’t been given enough handouts? Wonderful logic. People are poor because they choose to be. Or rather, because they choose not to change it. Many people grow up poor and decide that’s not how they want to live their life, and they go on to make changes and live a successful life. I do not see ‘growing up poor’ and ‘living in a poor town’ an excuse for anyone. Do something about it if it bothers you.

    Re: E.J.
    So if the insurance company tells you that you don’t need a certain coverage, you simply believe them? If President Bush gave me a ring and said ‘Leroy, you don’t need renter’s insurance – I’ll take care of you personally if anything happens.’
    I would say Get F*cked Mr. Bush, I’m gonna keep my insurance. Insurance is my responsibility to have, and no one else’s. It is a well known fact that insurance companies will blame flood damage whenever they can – to get out of paying for the damages. That’s why you need flood insurance, especially in N.O.
    And FWIW, I’ll write about whatever the crap I feel like writing about. This is, after all, my website. And it’s called ‘random crap’ because that’s what this is. Crap. Of the random variety. Whether that’s about Mike Tyson being an idiot, Courtney Love being a crack whore, or New Orleans residents being the biggest bunch of whiners I can think of at the moment.

  8. Cosmeaux said

    November 28 2006 @ 2:49 pm

    Random crap? You have no idea what it is like in New Orleans these days. For the love of god, there are still areas that haven’t yet been thoroughly searched for bodies! The kinds of things that we have had to deal with truly take a toll on the populace – mentally, physically and emotionally. Maybe some folks need to whine, just to get it out. They’re just words, so get over it. That said, there are a hell of a less whiners down here than there are folks who are doing all they can, just to get by – however they can get by, and whatever it means to them to “get by”. Mant are tearing down their homes and memories, living in trailers, burying and mourning over lost loved ones, fighting with insurance companies that absolutely won’t pay, dealing with Nagin’s idiocy, helping their neighbors, and trying to make sense of the enormity and reality of the situation. Only you don’t hear about them – they’re too busy, and/or too proud to whine. Oh, and Leroy, I might add that if you should show your butt down here, somebody will soon be doing a second line. Figure it out.

  9. Leroy Brown said

    November 28 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    Cosmeaux,
    I don’t need to come to New Orleans. It came to me after the hurricane, in the form of the thousands of residents who moved to the city where I currently live. Strangely, these folks remind me quite a bit of many residents from my home town of Baltimore, MD. People with absolutely no drive and motivation, and people who make excuses for everything they possibly can, so they feel better about being complete failures as human beings. ( Note, these are just the folks I’ve personally met from N.O.. I do understand that not ALL N.O. residents are human garbage. Just every one that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with. )

    If you’re one of the N.O. residents who’s working to fix the city, good for you. Would you like a cookie? Personally, I think you’re wasting your time, because it’s not a matter of if but when another hurricane / flood will come and put you right back where you started.

    And I’ve said it before, but obviously I need to say it again… insurance companies won’t pay for flood-related damages if the person does not have flood insurance. Right or wrong, doesn’t matter. Everyone knows it. If there’s a way for the insurance co. to pin the damage on a flood, you can be damned sure they will. THAT’S WHY YOU NEED FLOOD INSURANCE. The smart N.O. residents were the ones who had all the proper insurance, evacuated when they should have, and used the insurance payoffs to rebuild their lives elsewhere.

  10. EJ said

    November 29 2006 @ 1:11 am

    Yes, it would be stupid to believe Bush if you weren’t paying him insurance premiums. OK, now one more time:
    Forget it. Soon enough, you’ll get screwed by them too, although it sounds like life has screwed you plenty.

    I think u were right on when you said you don’t like “people who make excuses for everything they possibly can, so they feel better about being complete failures as human beings.”

    Pretty much everything you’ve written sounds like excuses to justify why you’re such a miserable bastard? Or why it’s OK to see the world as a shitty place and hate people you don’t even know. Whatever it is, get help.

  11. Cosmeaux said

    November 29 2006 @ 7:47 am

    Did you figure out the “second line” comment yet? Probably not.

    You really don’t understand what has happened, although you announce opinions like you do. I guess that’s ok, since we live in a mostly-free society. The storm alone would have only knocked out power for a few days, and caused a bit of damage. How do I know? Because I was here throughout the hurricane. I was able to get out as the flood waters rose. The VAST majority of the city would have been ok, had the levees held. That water came about because of levee failure; our government built those levees, and told everyone that it was safe.

    Insurance companies here are not paying because they are complete and total bastards. Folks who have flood insurance are being told that the hurricane was a wind event, so they are not covered. Folks with wind insurance are being told that it was a flood event, so they’re not being paid, either. Imagine – a lifetime of paying premiums, and no payback. How would you feel? Perhaps like you wanted to WHINE a bit?

    200,000 homes were damaged. Along with that, schools, businesses, retail areas, parks, police and fire stations; almost everything that one would encounter in daily life was rendered useless. Can you comprehend how vast the destruction was/is? Or, how many poor souls, citizens of this country, under the same government as you, have had their lives turned upside down?

    My house did not flood, but was damaged. I’m one of the lucky ones. I was displaced for about four months, and found myself near your home town. Indeed, I even interviewed for a job at UMBC. They seemed like nice folks, but I couldn’t take the position there, because this place is home, and I truly feel that you don’t make a city a better place by leaving (perhaps, though, in your case it might be different – your home town might be better off if you went to live…say, on an island somewhere, by yourself, so no one could counter your bitter opinions).

    You know, come to think of it, you might want to take a look at UMBC, and get yourself some measure of education. Perhaps you could study Sociology, Urban Anthropology and Culture, or maybe Urban and Regional Planning. Then, you might find out what makes cities work, and why people choose to, and have the right to live where they do.

    In some self-righteous way, let me offer that I am trying to be part of the solution, while you are doing nothing but exacerbating the problem. We don’t need people turning against us. You don’t want to help, fine. That’s understood. Just don’t undermine the efforts of your fellow countrymen. We’re in this together, whether you like it or not.

  12. natec said

    January 28 2007 @ 2:28 pm

    Everyone had warning for Katrina. I was visiting my sister in Maryland the day before the hurricane hit the city, and the front page of the local paper had a map of New Orlean’s and the headline said GROUND ZERO. I remember thinking if I lived in New Orlean’s I would be leaving right about then. But, they didn’t and they paid the price. Lets face it, if there were not any Black people in New Orlean’s.. public opinion would have been something like “the dummies want our help? We GAVE THEM FAIR WARNING!!” I knew what was going on in Maryland for crying out loud. ……But, since it was a black area no one is allowed to say that (for fear of being rasist.the typical method used) But the USA should take care of those poor, poor people for the rest of their lives now. Meanwhile during the time since Katrina 500,000 Mexicans have came into the USA got jobs, got places to live and are doing well for themselves. STOP CRYING!!
    MOVE…..OR….GET A JOB!!

  13. Leroy Brown said

    January 29 2007 @ 10:04 am

    Natec,
    That might be the first intelligent comment left on this post. I don’t know if that statistic is correct, but if it is, then it speaks pretty darn loudly. 500,000 Mexicans have come to the United States – not from a different state, but from a different country. Many of them probably don’t speak any or much English, yet they’ve managed to find jobs and homes. There are still, to this day, Katrina ‘refugees’ who have no jobs, and live in housing paid for by the United States government. There is simply no excuse for that, and no one will convince me otherwise.

  14. E.J. said

    October 6 2007 @ 6:03 am

    natec and Leroy, the dynamic duo. Has it ever occurred to you two that it is impossible to totally evacuate 1.5 million people in less than 2 days?

    500,000 Mexicans CHOSE to leave their homes; 2 million people left LA & MS for Katrina, expecting to return in a few days and start picking up the pieces. The immigrants are probably better off economically than they were in Mexico; everyone here was financially devastated after being displaced. Maybe instead of standing firm on your vow that you won’t be convinced otherwise, you can visit for yourself and see what’s going on; or even read credible reports and books about the state of things. They’re everywhere to be found. Do yourself a favor and learn from us instead of…well instead of being your usual self.

  15. Leroy Brown said

    October 8 2007 @ 9:51 am

    You can come up with a thousand reasons why you *can’t* do something, or why it’s impossible. You only need to figure out one way that it is possible. I think the main problem with this situation is evident in your last comment.. excuses. No one is interested in saying “yup we should’ve done a better job getting our asses out of the city” or “we should get jobs quickly so we don’t have to live off the government longer than needed”.

    Instead, everyone, yourself included, is making excuses about why they *can’t* do things. I have packed up everything I owned and moved 400 miles away to a new city, with 12 hours notice. And that was without a big-ass destructive hurricane headed my way. I can only imagine that would have made me hurry up that much more. Oh, and I had a job the next day. Imagine that.

    No one is telling these people to move back to New Orleans. As far as I’m concerned, a devastating hurricane like that is pretty much final, and a good excuse to move as far away as possible. It’s just dirt folks – they have dirt elsewhere, in smarter places to build.

  16. E.J. said

    October 12 2007 @ 4:54 am

    “You can come up with a thousand reasons why you *can’t* do something, or why it’s impossible. You only need to figure out one way that it is possible.”

    As in your thousand reasons to revel in your shortsighted view of things even though it is possible you don’t have a clue?

  17. N said

    November 16 2007 @ 8:46 am

    Okay everyone, you are going to have your own point of view, which will be slanted toward your location, I get that. But let me pose a few questions…

    1. The reports were that poor people could not afford to evacuate. Why then were the city busses under water? And what kind of idiot Mayor leaves valuable buses in a low area? Some people refused to leave their pets? Well for goodness sakes, let them on the bus with their owners. And I would have ordered EVERY city vehicle taken to higher ground, but wait, that would require some common sense, and concern for the economy of my city.

    2. Why was the federal government blamed for not releasing funds fast enough, when regulations call for the Mayor, then the Governor to request them first? No wait, I think I know the answer to that one, everyone expects those people to be dumb as dirt, and the Feds should have skirted the law and come to in without an invitation? NOT!

    3. Why should anyone help those who insist upon building on sand? And that question includes those that are Federally insured and build on all of our coastlines.

    4. Why were the levees that were rated to a 3 blamed for Katrina? What was it’s rating???

    5. When will the lifelong victums become part of the solution? You don’t have money, well get out there and cleanup, you are getting your laundry done for free, free food, free rent, haul your hinney out the door each day and do something for YOUR community, you OWE it that much.

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