People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Requiem for the Crescent City?

Posted by schroeder915 on January 12, 2006

Many of us have been predicting for months that this would happen without swift action:

The passing of our most distinctive city, so prominent in American imagination and lore, became official Wednesday.

Is it really a requiem for the city we once knew and loved?

The reason the old New Orleans is dead is that the people who made it special are gone and there is no path for them to come back. I doubt there’s anywhere else in this country you could find so many black people who look white or so many white people who sound black. I know there’s nowhere else you could find all the Creoles and Cajuns, nowhere else you could hear that odd New Orleans accent that sounds more like Brooklyn than Biloxi.


9 Responses to “Requiem for the Crescent City?”

  1. Mixter said

    Incredibly sad, this. Sigh…


  2. Mr. Clio said

    This guy is, simply put, full of shit.

    1. If people don’t come back, it’s not the Commission’s fault. It’s the NIMBY people’s fault. It’s the fault of Old Money New Orleans that has refused over decades to invest in black New Orleans. It’s the fault of scratch-brother-in-law’s back politicians (black and white, over MANY years) who make it hard to get things done.

    2. We ain’t dead yet. I find it offensive to hear him say that the people who make this place special aren’t back. I’m here busting my ass. So are a lot of others.

    3. What is this asshole’s alternative? Build it back just as it was? He reminds me of the white guy from Lakeview who wants to just build his place back with his insurance money, no questions asked. With no plan in place, good luck getting insurance in the future, Mr. Big Stuff.

    4. Thanks for the link, although the stress it causes my heart just took three years off my life.

  3. Schroeder said

    Yeah, this is very sad.

    I’m not a fan of Eugene Robinson’s pieces on New Orleans. I don’t think he really knows what he’s talking about. The rhetorical flourishes suggest a very fine writer, but the defeatism kills me. I understand that the terminal imagery might shock some elected leaders into action (and I do a fair bit of it myself), but he’s on the national stage. Could he be more critical in the specifics instead of just writing off the city as he’s done over and over?

  4. Schroeder said

    And, by the way, I was having a conversation a couple of days ago with someone who was recalling an interview with Bill Clinton. Clinton said that there’s no question New Orleans will survive and be rebuilt — it’s really just a question of whether the United States government will be a part of the process and make of New Orleans a model for the future. Will the Bush administration and Congress stop pointing the finger at Louisianians to cover for their own incompetence and cronyism? Will they embrace the sort of optimism and courage that Clinton always displayed. Whether you like Clinton or not, it’s impossible to argue that he wasn’t one of the most intelligent presidents this nation has ever had, and that he was always able to take a difficult issue and sell to the American people an optimistic outcome. Bush on the other hand … well, nothing more be said.

  5. Tara said

    I haven’t lived in New Orleans for 16 years now, but I still consider it home. My heart is there, and despite the devastation, I want to move back more than ever if only to be one more voice lent to saving the city’s soul as much as possible. Mr. Robinson’s editorial is beautifully written, but I have to wonder if he has been down to NOLA since the flood? I have, and I see people who are fired up, angry, excited, and ready to move forward. I see people who want to do what they can for their negihborhoods, and I see people who want to help less fortunate neighborhoods resettle. I see black people, white people, and every color in between, all with the same goals: to rebuild their homes and move on with their lives.

    Until there is a cat. 5 levee committment, it seems to me that all other plans are moot. They can build green space all they want, but without proper storm protection, that too will flood. Are we too proud as a nation to learn from the Dutch??? I know Blanco is over there right now, and I know there are bids out for the Corps and all sorts of other builders of levees, but if the corps fucked up the existing levees, why on earth would we allow them to build new levees? It seems like we should pay the Dutch engineers to come here and build the levees for us.

    I wish I could be there to attend the planning commision meetings and the upcoming forums at Loyola. I don’t know you, Schroeder, but I appreciate your blog and the information you share here. I am up the road in Birmingham, AL, and I do what I can: from donating all the money I could spare to the salvation army, animal rescue, and other organizations, volunteering at the shelters that opened here immediately after Katrina, to taking in my displaced friends while they figured out their next moves; I’ve even adopted a resuced kitty that wound up in an Alabama animal shelter, and as far as I know, I am the only person driving around town with a “Make Levees, Not war” bumper sticker and a ReNew Orleans sticker on my car. This is the most conservative place on earth — I think — and I get a lot of stares, like I am in the wrong town. It floors me that people think this is just a New Orleans issue. It’s a national issue, people, wake up and smell the goddamn coffee and chicory!

    Schroeder, if you are ever passing through Birmingham, let me know. I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee to say thanks. Your blog has been an essential part of my days for a couple of months now. I appreciate your and your efforts.

  6. Schroeder said

    Thanks for the encouragement tara.

  7. Schroeder said

    And tara, thanks for so courageously promoting the cause of rebuilding New Orleans.

  8. Polimom said

    Eugene Robinson has always had a strong slant. Prior to the New Orleans writing, though, I’ve found him to be pretty good – even when I didn’t agree.

    This, combined with the other day (I got mad at him then, too), are a bit much, though.

    Gonna have to pull him off my regular reading list, I believe.

  9. ashley said

    To paraphrase a line from Sam Kinison:

    Much like a dog that’s been fixed, Eugene don’t get it.

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