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 New Orleans's Future??

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BT

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New Orleans's Future?? Tue, 02/21/06 6:20 PM (permalink)
There have been lots of discussions about whether New Orleans could or should be rebuilt, about who should pay for it etc etc blah blah. I say it's a given that it will be and the rebuilding ultimately will be celebrated. In this vein, I was reminded today that in 2 months it will be time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the destruction and resurrection of my own town, San Francisco, when I ran across the following (edited) bit in the Wall Street Journal:
quote:
San Francisco Remembers
By DAVID LITTLEJOHN
February 21, 2006; Page D8
San Francisco

How, and why, do you celebrate the centennial of a disaster? Did Chicago send up fireworks to celebrate the hundredth year after the 1871 fire? Will New Orleans pull out all the stops to party in 2105? (Ed. note: My bet--they will)

For some reason, the earthquake and fire of April 18-20, 1906, which destroyed more than half of San Francisco, left 200,000 of its 400,000 people homeless and killed (historians differ) between 500 and 5,000, has been regarded as a proud piece of local legend almost from the start. People who survived it grew smug about their fortitude; people who missed it felt deprived. Within weeks, tinted postcards, stereopticon views, souvenir albums and guided tours of the ruins and refugee camps were offered for sale across the land. In the words of a local bard, which capture well the tone of the time,

From the Ferries to Van Ness you're a Godforsaken mess,
But the damndest finest ruins -- nothin' more or nothin' less.


(Ed. note: I live on Van Ness)

In the century since, there have been any number of attempts to rewrite this rose-tinted story. Revisionist historians have shifted the epicenter (early geologists got it wrong), increased the death toll, attacked local businessmen and politicians for trying to cover up the facts, blamed this group or that for the poorly built structures and rotting water pipes that compounded the disaster and tried to make all of us feel guilty about the fate of the local Chinese population.


The photo of the skeletal remains of City Hall:

But the proud, jovial image persists. The 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance has already posted on its Web site -- two months in advance -- a list of 85 exhibitions, conferences, lectures, carnivals, walking tours and media shows designed to celebrate the anniversary. Live performances will include a new memorial symphony, play and ballet. History San Jose, a local historical society to the south, is responding to San Franciscans' pride with an exhibition entitled "It's Our Fault Too." The Society of California Pioneers plans to mock the exaggerations of 1906 media with a show it calls "Shake, Bake and Spin."

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is currently displaying, under the subtitle "A Disaster in Pictures," more than 100 photographs taken during and after the earthquake and fire. The justification given by curator Corey Keller for showing these historical documents in a modern art museum is that they provide an insight into the history of American photography (one of the museum's specialties), which was undergoing significant changes at the time. A few of the photographers represented, moreover, clearly strove for picturesque, painterly effects in their images.

Both of these arguments have merit. Included here are a few of the thousands of anonymous snapshots of the fire and the ruins taken by owners of the easy-to-use Kodak "Brownie" camera, introduced in 1900. New inventions made possible continuous 360-degree panoramas, and four-foot-wide bird's-eye views of the whole city taken by George Lawrence's giant camera, hung 2,000 feet in the sky from a string of 17 kites. Master photographers like Arnold Genthe and Willard Worden created wonderfully composed and toned images of instantly nostalgic-looking ruins. Genthe's are made all the more powerful because of the remarkably real-looking people he often captured in the foreground.

In fact, although the dozen panoramas here of the burning or leveled city remain breathtaking, and a few iconic images -- the City Hall skeleton, the Call Building on fire, two houses tipped off their foundations -- have not lost their power to seize, the single finest photograph from 1906 is one of Genthe's. In it, two nattily dressed African-American couples glare at the camera, while the street alongside them plunges down through Chinatown to the white smoke of Downtown on fire:





Now if the Federal Guvmint and local politicians will only get out of the way . . . .

 
#1
    The Travelin Man

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    RE: New Orleans's Future?? Tue, 02/21/06 7:41 PM (permalink)
    That's funny...but, I didn't see any mention of a federal bailout to resurrect the city of SF in that report.

    I can't imagine how a city could thrive 100 years later without the government pouring millions of dollars into its rescue.
     
    #2
      BT

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      RE: New Orleans's Future?? Tue, 02/21/06 8:19 PM (permalink)
      quote:
      Originally posted by stevekoe

      That's funny...but, I didn't see any mention of a federal bailout to resurrect the city of SF in that report.

      I can't imagine how a city could thrive 100 years later without the government pouring millions of dollars into its rescue.


      Not sure what you think is funny but the Feds poured almost no money into resurrecting SF. The one thing they did do was use troops to keep order in the immediate aftermath of the fire. But that stage is largely over now in New Orleans. I've read a number of recent articles about the difficulties people there have had getting permits and other government approvals to rebuild. In 1906, nothing like that was needed. You got the money; you could rebuild--and much of the money was made available locally by the predecessor of the Bank of America whose vault full of gold and banknotes survived.

      As I've said before, one significant difference is the matter of the levee system. For good or bad, there's nothing the Feds could do about SF's unfortunate location on a major fault line, so no money for "fault repair" was needed to boost the rebuilding process. In New Orleans, the Feds did build and maintain the levees prior to the disaster and they need to fix them to at least the pre-existing standard. But other than that, I think they are proving to be more of a problem than a help.

      Still, I didn't post this to make a political argument. I posted it to emphasize my conviction that no matter what impediments get put in its way, New Orleans will come back and someday will likely celebrate the disaster as an important part of its history.
       
      #3
        V960

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        RE: New Orleans's Future?? Tue, 02/21/06 8:53 PM (permalink)
        NOLA will be back, what a concept that it won't.
         
        #4
          1bbqboy

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          RE: New Orleans's Future?? Wed, 02/22/06 1:40 AM (permalink)
          What does "back" mean? The French Quarter will survive, but New Orleans was poor before, now much more so, with natives scattered across the land. What jobs and housing are there for people to come back to, and what incentive is there for anyone to invest?
           
          #5
            The Travelin Man

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            RE: New Orleans's Future?? Wed, 02/22/06 1:53 AM (permalink)
            quote:
            Originally posted by BT

            quote:
            Originally posted by stevekoe

            That's funny...but, I didn't see any mention of a federal bailout to resurrect the city of SF in that report.

            I can't imagine how a city could thrive 100 years later without the government pouring millions of dollars into its rescue.


            Not sure what you think is funny but the Feds poured almost no money into resurrecting SF.


            That's kind of what I was getting at...funny as ironic, not funny as "ha ha." I knew that the Feds put very little money into the rebuilding of SF. The bulk of it was done by industry and, for that matter, didn't happen overnight.

            quote:
            Originally posted by BT

            Still, I didn't post this to make a political argument. I posted it to emphasize my conviction that no matter what impediments get put in its way, New Orleans will come back and someday will likely celebrate the disaster as an important part of its history.


            I am not really trying to make this a political argument, either. I was in New Orleans last week, and as I posted in another thread, I wouldn't care if the place were ever rebuilt. What bothers me about the area is the overwhelming sense of entitlement that has permeated since this NATURAL occurrance. I have never seen more people screaming for what they are "owed" by the government. I think that the government is hesitant to fund people rebuilding their homes right back in the path of tragedy.

            But, compare and contrast two different 100 year old tragedies -- the San Francisco earthquake and the Galveston flood of 1900. In 1900, Galveston was the thriving city in Texas: http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~geol108/yoon/galveston_flood_1900.htm#intro2

            quote:
            Galveston, Texas was the proud home of Texas' first post office, telephones, and medical college. The island-city and port, known as the "Wall Street of the Southwest" was responsible for the export and trade of cotton for most of the southwestern United States. Galveston was a city on its way up. The population was 37,789 and steadily growing, huge mansions filled the town, accompanied by fine churches and prestigious schools overlooking the calm Gulf of Mexico.


            How come the great city of Galveston didn't get the full faith and backing of Federal help? Wasn't there the same financial incentive to rebuild Galveston?
             
            #6
              BT

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              RE: New Orleans's Future?? Wed, 02/22/06 3:31 AM (permalink)
              quote:
              Originally posted by stevekoe

              I was in New Orleans last week, and as I posted in another thread, I wouldn't care if the place were ever rebuilt. What bothers me about the area is the overwhelming sense of entitlement that has permeated since this NATURAL occurrance. I have never seen more people screaming for what they are "owed" by the government. I think that the government is hesitant to fund people rebuilding their homes right back in the path of tragedy.

              But, compare and contrast two different 100 year old tragedies -- the San Francisco earthquake and the Galveston flood of 1900. In 1900, Galveston was the thriving city in Texas: http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~geol108/yoon/galveston_flood_1900.htm#intro2

              quote:
              Galveston, Texas was the proud home of Texas' first post office, telephones, and medical college. The island-city and port, known as the "Wall Street of the Southwest" was responsible for the export and trade of cotton for most of the southwestern United States. Galveston was a city on its way up. The population was 37,789 and steadily growing, huge mansions filled the town, accompanied by fine churches and prestigious schools overlooking the calm Gulf of Mexico.


              How come the great city of Galveston didn't get the full faith and backing of Federal help? Wasn't there the same financial incentive to rebuild Galveston?


              On your first point, I think we probably agree completely. I cringe every time I hear somebody from N.O. get on TV and whine about what is not being done for them (not for the city but for THEM). I probably don't have a lot of company in believing that people who decided not to buy flood insurance should not get Federal grants to rebuild (loans, maybe) and that, in fact, most of the Federal money should go solely into building a strong levee system and wetlands restoration. But I do think impediments should not be put in the way of people rebuilding where they want with their own money. Still, my point remains that over time, it will happen. There are simply too many attractions to the area for it not to. And some of the people living there in 10 years will be people who did NOT live there before Katrina because the usual picture is that once rebuilding gets seriously underway, there will be money to be made that will attract people from other places. Of note in this regard was a news story today that N.O. is seriously considering not letting folks move back into restored public housing unless they HAVE A JOB. This is being done, not on some kind of moralistic grounds, but simply because there isn't enough housing for the people needed to fix the city and they can't afford to have non-workers occupying what there is.

              As to the contrast between Galveston and SF, I believe the difference is not Federal money but the fact that the Houston Ship Channel was constructed (OK--maybe Federal money WAS involved there) allowing Houston to become the port for that part of the coast which Galveston formerly had been. I actually saw a TV discussion of this which pointed out several geographical issues about the water depth and other factors that made Galveston not an ideal port facility and made shippers happy to go elsewhere once they had a choice.

              By contrast, San Francisco Bay is an unparalleled harbor, though ironically, the same thing ultimately did happen to SF when the main cargo port operations ultimately moved to Oakland. The reason that happened was that it took an extra day to move cargo down the peninsula and then eastward by rail from San Francisco than from Oakland. Also, San Francisco was and is a union-dominated labor market and the SF stevadores' union blocked installation of large cranes and other automated machinery until it was too late and Oakland, which did have such machinery, had stolen most of the business.
               
              #7
                EliseT

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                RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 6:38 AM (permalink)
                If I lost my home, my neighborhood, my pets, possibly a loved one, and everything else dear to me, and I was still standing in the middle of rubble and desolation after so many months, you can bet your ass I'd be whining to anyone that stood still long enough.



                 
                #8
                  mr chips

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                  RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 7:27 AM (permalink)
                  The federal government did pour defense money into San Francisco and San Francisco might not have been rebuilt in the same way if Los Angeles and Oakland had been the economic and cargo shipping powerhouses they are now. San Francisco was also the economic powerhouse on the west coast.
                  Galveston lost out because Houston was next door and convinced Congress it was less vulnerable to hurricanes. The federal money went to Houston instead of Galveston and I think a similiar fate awaits New Orleans. Bill and BT have been on the money/
                  The French Quarter will be back(Galveston is a wonderful place to visit if you were not in one of the Vietnamese refugee camps there) but the city of New Orleans will be a different place than it once was.
                   
                  #9
                    BT

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                    RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 2:03 PM (permalink)
                    quote:
                    Originally posted by EliseT

                    If I lost my home, my neighborhood, my pets, possibly a loved one, and everything else dear to me, and I was still standing in the middle of rubble and desolation after so many months, you can bet your ass I'd be whining to anyone that stood still long enough.



                    PLEASE--I don't want to start a flame war. But I have to say that they are fully entitled to complain all they want. It just won't accomplish anything. It won't get their homes and businesses rebuilt and it won't convince others to give them what they want. I have a lot more sympathy for--and inclination to try to help--the hardworking folks I see on TV shoveling debris out of their once-nice homes all up and down the Gulf Coast than I do for the folks in Houston or Atlanta complaining that, after 6 months, the Feds aren't going to be renting them a hotel room any more (the Feds ARE going to be paying their rent, mind you, but they will have to go out and find their own vacant place). It really is time to accept what has happened and start trying to help yourself. THAT will get New Orleans rebuilt.
                     
                    #10
                      BT

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                      RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 2:12 PM (permalink)
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by mr chips


                      The French Quarter will be back(Galveston is a wonderful place to visit if you were not in one of the Vietnamese refugee camps there) but the city of New Orleans will be a different place than it once was.


                      Different, yes. But not necessarily worse. This thread got me thinking: Is there an alternative to New Orleans as Houston was/is to Galveston? Baton Rouge, possibly, but I don't know and from what I do know and have heard, don't think, that there is any practical replacement for the Port of New Orleans. San Francisco is now mostly a tourist town and financial center (most of the downtown high rises are filled with investment companies and lawyers). In New Orleans, the tourists, the oil industry and the port are more than enough to create the economic muscle to promote rebuilding of the city. Whether all the poor people will return is another question and whether, in their own interest, they should is highly debatable. So is whether New Orleans is better or worse off if they don't. But the people with money and the middle class will return because there will be jobs and money to be made and work to be done that probably can't get done elsewhere. That's why people came back to San Francisco and not so many came back to Galveston.
                       
                      #11
                        The Travelin Man

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                        RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 9:36 PM (permalink)
                        quote:
                        Originally posted by EliseT

                        If I lost my home, my neighborhood, my pets, possibly a loved one, and everything else dear to me, and I was still standing in the middle of rubble and desolation after so many months, you can bet your ass I'd be whining to anyone that stood still long enough.


                        Elise, the big difference is that you wouldn't be standing in the middle of the rubble and desolation. You would have done something about it long before now.

                        Life is happening all around many of these folks while they are standing there and waiting for "someone" to bail them out. For me, that is even harder to watch than the initial catastrophe.
                         
                        #12
                          The Travelin Man

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                          RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 9:52 PM (permalink)
                          quote:
                          Originally posted by BT

                          Different, yes. But not necessarily worse. This thread got me thinking: Is there an alternative to New Orleans as Houston was/is to Galveston? Baton Rouge, possibly, but I don't know and from what I do know and have heard, don't think, that there is any practical replacement for the Port of New Orleans. San Francisco is now mostly a tourist town and financial center (most of the downtown high rises are filled with investment companies and lawyers). In New Orleans, the tourists, the oil industry and the port are more than enough to create the economic muscle to promote rebuilding of the city. Whether all the poor people will return is another question and whether, in their own interest, they should is highly debatable. So is whether New Orleans is better or worse off if they don't. But the people with money and the middle class will return because there will be jobs and money to be made and work to be done that probably can't get done elsewhere. That's why people came back to San Francisco and not so many came back to Galveston.


                          My point about Galveston was only to say that cities come and cities go -- some by way of natural disaster and some by way of natural selection. The Buffalos, Detroits, and Pittsburghs of yesteryear are being replaced by Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Atlanta, and Santa Fe, NM as the places to be. You can be ahead of the curve or you can stay there until the last Denny's closes -- but, folks that are about my age are not looking to move TO Buffalo anymore.

                          If the Galveston destruction happened today, they would likely be rebuilt to the city's former self -- and, without turning this into a political debate, I do think that it is because the city would get favorable political treatment. Louisiana, on the other hand, has always had what was regarded as a very corrupt state and local government system. Rebuilding there could be akin to pouring money into an economy like those in the Caribbean. For all the cruise ships that pull into the port at Nassau, and for all the money the folks on the ship and the cruise lines, themselves, leave behind in tourist dollars and dockage taxes/fees, how is it that every person on this island (a rather smallish population, mind you) is not living a relatively wealthy lifestyle (think Bermuda, for comparison's sake). They're not -- most of the place is dirt poor because of corrupt government. My thinking is that pumping money into New Orleans will have the same effect.

                          Maybe a better example for me to have used to compare to New Orleans is Charleston, SC. Their economy is booming less than 20 years after Hurricane Hugo -- and I will put the amount of damage done by Hugo up there with the damage done by most any storm. Galveston was a better comparison for San Francisco solely on the time frame involved.
                           
                          #13
                            BT

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                            RE: New Orleans's Future?? Thu, 02/23/06 10:10 PM (permalink)
                            But maybe the rebuilding won't--or shouldn't--include writers (or drunks):
                            quote:
                            February 23, 2006

                            Welcome to New Orleans: A Confederacy of Drunkards
                            By STEVE GARBARINO
                            February 23, 2006; Page D8
                            New Orleans is no place for a writer. It'll kill you if you don't get out fast. At best, if you stick around, you'll become "one of them," an unofficial mayor of a local watering hole (ed. note: all apologies to Mayor Al ), yammering tales to ball-capped stragglers instead of writing them down, a character in your own rewrite.

                            I know. I was one of them more than a decade ago, and found myself yet again, several weeks after Hurricane Katrina had hit, navigating through the muck made by melting ice bags on the rum-caked floor of Johnny White's Hole in the Wall in the French Quarter, instead of filling reporter's notepads, up to my knees in sand bags and human debris in the ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. And then, as if it were just another day in the hard-partying city, I moved on to Molly's at the Market, a writers' dive on Decatur Street, already open for business without electricity, packing in FEMA workers, New York cops, Marines and yes, reporters, from everywhere.

                            Like the thousands of tourists currently falling upon the rebuilding port for Mardi Gras Week -- with the last Pat O'Brien's chug-a-lug on Frat, or Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28 -- many of the country's most famous novelists and playwrights came there to drink, get drunk, fall down and stumble off, with no remembrances of things past.

                            For writers, then and now, New Orleans is a "go-cup," what locals call plastic glasses carried out of bars, onto streets, into cars. You drink it up, take it away, and write about it at a later day. Elsewhere. Hopefully.

                            Of course, the literati were, initially, on loftier missions. Dressed in their new seersucker suits and cracked Panama hats, they were on quests for an Olde World aura that mirrored their sense of "character" and "place," guiltless debauchery that read to them "grist," a break from boring hometowns and the blah-blah sophisticates of New York City. They craved local color and resident eccentrics ("I could list hundreds of them," said Truman Capote) to cram their pages. Like an upturned manhole on St. Charles Avenue, it sucked them in, one by one, feeding the hole.

                            None of them needed enabling. The giants of pre- and postwar past were mostly avid drinkers already. It is the literary sport and they excelled at it, including such visitors and short-term residents as Mark Twain, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, Walker Percy, William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac (who tellingly called the city "the washed out bottom of America") -- not to mention locals like Lillian Hellman, Capote, John Kennedy Toole, long-timer Sherwood Anderson, Andrei Codescru (who recently published "New Orleans, Mon Amour") and, yes, Anne Rice, a reformed alcoholic and born-again Catholic.

                            All were and are smart enough to know there was something there. Long before Hurricane Katrina whooshed hundreds of those other kinds of writers -- journalists -- to its septic-tank banks, there were a thousand stories to tell in the City Care Forgot, which boasted a red-light district called, of all things, "Storyville." And the city -- with fodder as rich as etouffe (excuse the obligatory food cliché) -- inspired some to tell them; writers who at first claimed in their quill-penned letters that they'd never been "happier" or had more "fun" anywhere else.

                            Some managed the job. In 1912, Sherwood Anderson left his family and his lucrative career as the president of a roof company in Ohio for New Orleans, with his second wife, and stayed until 1919. "Writing like a man gone mad," he diarized. That is, when he wasn't fornicating and drinking at Aunt Rose's whorehouse.

                            It must have been more "fun" for him to enable Hemingway (ever so briefly in the city) and then Faulkner, who had followed Anderson there as one of his disciples from his native Oxford, Miss., and lived with his mentor in a French Quarter side room on and off until he bounced around from one "seedy apartment" or boardinghouse to the next.

                            While Faulkner managed to bang out his first two novels ("Soldier's Pay" and "Mosquitoes"), living in a French Quarter attic that he reached by climbing balustrades instead of using the door (romancing the profession, always), he didn't last long there. He wrote while drinking whiskey and water in a cup. Afternoons, he walked and walked, as did Capote, Williams and, later, Bukowski (who wrote, "I could piss away my life" there). At night, Faulkner pounded "massive quantities" of liquor, and crawled home from opium dens and other holes. "Old, getting more so," he wrote, as the blisteringly hot days blurred.

                            Tennessee Williams sent his laundry home (as did Faulkner), which returned with small checks from his mother. He was "crazy" about New Orleans and set many of this plays there. But he equally feared what he could become staying in its confines permanently, calling it a delusion of freedom, and eventually found New York a far more grounded realm. Moving regularly in the Quarter, he lived in shared rooms, and served meals, washed dishes and wrote "rather badly, or not at all. Washed up?" he opined. "No!"

                            Capote returned to his hometown when he was 19, and found himself living in a "decrepit roach-heaven apartment" in the Quarter too. He sat for hours on park benches, observing the freaks, while "yawning and scratching and talking" to himself. Mardi Gras gave him nightmares.

                            New Orleans really got to posthumous Pulitzer Prize winner Toole. He took his life upon returning from New York to live and teach in his hometown. As his drinking increased and, as his students at Dominican College observed, his behavior and dress became more peculiar, he finally gave up on getting "A Confederacy of Dunces" published -- and life itself. In 1969, on a road trip back from Georgia, where he was visiting the home of Flannery O'Connor, he pulled off the side of the highway in Biloxi, Miss., and fixed a tube from his exhaust pipe into his car. The end. Or the beginning. After Walker Percy (whiskey, neat) got hold of the food-smeared manuscript, "Dunces" was finally published in 1980, winning him writing's most-coveted honor.

                            Those who survived New Orleans walked away with stories better told in barrooms than on paper. Mark Twain, always as large as his writing, brawled with sailors, was thrown out of whorehouses, crashed steamboats, and grifted drinks at high-society Garden District parties thrown in his honor. In New Orleans, he became his own performing monkey.

                            The difference between New York City, the major writing capital, and New Orleans is that New York expects one to produce, while this "Deadwood"-on-the-River doesn't care what one does. It is a city lacking in discipline, or drive. (Katrina, as awful as it sounds, exacerbated that apathy.)

                            It is also a bipolar place. If you live in its confines -- probably now more than ever -- you will find that each day you either have the "blues," or Dixieland. There's no in-between. "Cocktail Hour" looms.

                            Little was expected of me when I briefly worked as a staff reporter at New Orleans's Times-Picayune, where I got quietly fired for a bad attitude and failing to note my whereabouts on a newsroom chalkboard, which I found insulting. (Maybe falling, besotted, on top of a revered writer at an Audubon Park concert didn't help either.)

                            I took advantage of the pace, while writing for the society-minded "Vivant" and "Living" sections stories on school-uniform proposals and hurricane-chasers. When an interview with Bob Dylan -- a new resident to the city -- was potentially up for grabs, no one jumped on the assignment. It was a less-ambitious time for the paper, and for me.

                            Bicycling the secret alleyways, taking in the smells of rotting camellia blossoms and of red beans simmering from every single house each Monday. Jogging the desolate de Chirico-like streets of "bad" uptown neighborhoods. Drinking in a different bar every night, "observing" the scene in black blues clubs with leaking tin ceilings. Taking drives in my Pontiac on the Spanish-moss-canopied thoroughfares with frozen Scorpion go-cups in hand. Making out in the decrepit Lafayette Cemetery No. 2. Drifting off to sleep on my historically preserved apartment balcony off Magazine Street's Antique Row. Hosting crawfish boils with someone always playing guitar. There was no time to work on "the novel" -- let alone daily feature stories.

                            I began to become a "regular," one of them. The writing would come. But it didn't. And I finally realized that moving to the perfect environment to write in -- New Orleans, Storyville! -- was a calamitous mistake, a pipe-dream notion, as immature as romanticizing the "drinking life" as so many in the city do. I'd have done better setting up shop in my sister's suburban Philadelphia basement-turned-den, blindfolding myself, à la Jonathan Franzen, as I type. Nice and boring, no "color" to divert. I got out.

                            Mr. Garbarino is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.
                             
                            #14
                              EliseT

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                              RE: New Orleans's Future?? Fri, 02/24/06 1:03 AM (permalink)
                              All I'm saying is, no one really knows what is happening down there, or how they themselves would react in that situation unless they have actually experienced it themselves. You can't know what people are doing to help themselves during the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day that they are not on camera. Words like "whining" sound inflammatory and judgemental when used to describe survivors of a major disaster.

                               
                              #15
                                azure

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                                RE: New Orleans's Future?? Fri, 02/24/06 3:07 AM (permalink)
                                I wonder if any of you really have a clue about what is happening in New Orleans. Elise, it seems that you are the only one really thinking here, with any sensitivity at all. Indeed, I think many of us would be doing a lot more than whining if we found ourselves battling with insurance companies so many months after Katrina, when everything we had was washed away, when our loved ones' lives were lost or forever changed.

                                We've heard from some on this topic who believe that those in the Gulf region "too stupid to have insurance" should not be helped. Really? Were you complaining about our sending aid to Tsunami victims because they should have had insurance? I am just a little amazed by all the holier than thou judgemental drivel spewn about by insensitive, uninformed people who like to hear themselves sputter. Get some facts, go there and see for yourself...do something to tame your ignorance...or, dare I say, help someone in need.


                                 
                                #16
                                  The Travelin Man

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                                  RE: New Orleans's Future?? Fri, 02/24/06 9:36 AM (permalink)
                                  quote:
                                  Originally posted by azure

                                  I wonder if any of you really have a clue about what is happening in New Orleans. Elise, it seems that you are the only one really thinking here, with any sensitivity at all. Indeed, I think many of us would be doing a lot more than whining if we found ourselves battling with insurance companies so many months after Katrina, when everything we had was washed away, when our loved ones' lives were lost or forever changed.

                                  We've heard from some on this topic who believe that those in the Gulf region "too stupid to have insurance" should not be helped. Really? Were you complaining about our sending aid to Tsunami victims because they should have had insurance? I am just a little amazed by all the holier than thou judgemental drivel spewn about by insensitive, uninformed people who like to hear themselves sputter. Get some facts, go there and see for yourself...do something to tame your ignorance...or, dare I say, help someone in need.


                                  I don't know if you mean "in general" or in this particular thread, but the only place the word "stupid" appears before now is in your post. I have seen other discussions that said that people were too poor to have insurance -- I don't recall reading "stupid." Unless that is some kind of connection that you'd like to make?

                                  I mentioned in another thread that I do know a little about what is going on in New Orleans (not a lot, mind you, but definitely a little). I was there less than two weeks ago and saw first hand some of the devestation that still exists in that area. Further, the town in which I live was hit by two Cat 3 hurricanes inside of a month two years ago, causing significant damage to the area. Our beachside residents are STILL dealing with the same issues related to insurance, rebuilding, and blue tarps on the roof more than EIGHTEEN months after the storms came through here. Was it as bad as New Orleans, no....but, to use your example, if you were dealing with the problems, wouldn't you be just as upset?

                                  The problem is that there is a pervasive air that New Orleans NEEDS to be rebuilt -- and that the government (excuse me, but that is OUR money, it doesn't come off a printing press...well, it does, but that is a separate discussion) is EXPECTED to help them recover.

                                  My only points in my previous posts in this thread were that if the people that I saw and heard in New Orleans 10 days ago spent more time trying to fix things that were wrong and less time waiting for a handout, things would be progressing by now. I don't just mean the citizens -- I mean their knucklheaded mayor and anyone else who can MAKE a difference.

                                  Keeping this as on track as possible, people in great cities who face disaster don't wait for someone to throw handouts at them -- Chicago, San Francisco, Charleston, and even New York City after September 11, 2001.

                                  Are you really going to talk about people who need to "go there and see for yourself" and compare things to the tsunami devestation in southeast Asia in the same paragraph? Have you been to Phuket since the tsunamis, thus giving you reason to think that the people there are also STILL waiting for the same handouts that New Orleans is waiting for? If you have, I apologize, but my guess is that there are not too many readers of the discussion threads here that have been to that area of the world recently.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    azure

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                                    • Location: raleigh, NC
                                    RE: New Orleans's Future?? Fri, 02/24/06 10:04 PM (permalink)
                                    Stevekoe, I think what I most object to is your repeated characterization that New Orleaneans, in general, are all just sitting around waiting for a handout (I counted three times in your last entry). Are there some desperate people who feel entitled to help from our government? Absolutely. But what many feel entitled to is what they see their own government regularly sending abroad but not providing them...but promised them. Didn't the government promise those most unfortunate trailers and tents, food, potable water until they could get on their feet...a place to exist so they could go back to work and start to rebuild their lives? Shouldn't we honor our promises?

                                    I'm a third generation New Orleanean. As such, I am more than familiar with knucklehead (and really dirty) mayors, governors, policemen, et. al. I grew up with the big bowl boogie man lurking in the shadows: loathing hurricane season, hearing adults talk about that one day when the mother of all hurricanes would come and the levees would break and we'd all be under water. This is a personal devistation on many levels. Fortunately, none of my family lost their lives...but the collateral losses are a nightmare. The domino effect has changed everything. People I know are not sitting around waiting for anything. But still, very little gets done because of the political log jam on every front. Living in an area that has sustained any hurricane damage, I assume you understand what it is like trying to negotiate the maze set up by flood insurance companies and what percentage of one's loss is actually realized.

                                    Everyone has an opinion. The bottom line for me is that New Orleans must be rebuilt. But rebuilt with all of its natural vulnerabilities taken into account. And finally a sound levee system that works.

                                     
                                    #18
                                      BT

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                                      RE: New Orleans's Future?? Fri, 02/24/06 10:50 PM (permalink)
                                      quote:
                                      Originally posted by azure

                                      I wonder if any of you really have a clue about what is happening in New Orleans. Elise, it seems that you are the only one really thinking here, with any sensitivity at all. Indeed, I think many of us would be doing a lot more than whining if we found ourselves battling with insurance companies so many months after Katrina, when everything we had was washed away, when our loved ones' lives were lost or forever changed.


                                      Please lets not get into a "more compassionate than thou" flamefest. Insensitivity, even if clearly manifest, does not make an argument or point of view wrong. If you think somebody is saying something untrue, please state why you think that and what you think the correct position is--not just say the other person is "insensitive".

                                      I am all in support of people doing ANYTHING to help themselves in this situation, even if it's only battling an insurance company. I am rapidly losing my sympathy for people doing nothing but waiting for somebody else to "help (them)". I saw three ladies on TV tonight complaining about there being a Mardi Gras (an event which brings lots of money to the city which it can certainly use). They were apparently living in a house being paid for by a charitable organization and, although apparently healthy, did not appear to be working. This at a time when the main difficulty being experienced by New Orleans's tourist industry is lack of an available work force. Do I have sympathy for them? Not much.

                                      But all this aside, my original thesis was that in spite of all, New Orleans as a thriving American city will be back because most of its citizens ARE hard-working and there will be other hardworking Americans who go there to sieze the opportunity to rebuild and the money to be made in that process.

                                      quote:
                                      We've heard from some on this topic who believe that those in the Gulf region "too stupid to have insurance" should not be helped. Really? Were you complaining about our sending aid to Tsunami victims because they should have had insurance? I am just a little amazed by all the holier than thou judgemental drivel spewn about by insensitive, uninformed people who like to hear themselves sputter. Get some facts, go there and see for yourself...do something to tame your ignorance...or, dare I say, help someone in need.



                                      Again, absolutely nothing said to refute the point of view you don't like; just name calling and finger pointing. Sad, really. I'm not sure who used the phrase "too stupid". I argued that if they didn't have insurance, they shouldn't be made "whole" by the government. I did NOT say they were stupid. But I'm a taxpayer. If they get government money, some of it will be mine. Like all taxpayers, I have a right to say whether I think this is a proper use of my money. I don't. And it's not just being mean. There's a concept in economics called "moral hazard". Essentially, it says if people are bailed out of bad decisions they've made, they will make more bad decisions because they will believe they will be bailed out again the next time. I think that's true. Sorry if you don't agree. But so far you haven't made much of a case for your viewpoint.

                                      Oh yes; tsunami victims. Well, it's irrelevent to the topic under discussion, but I supported aid to the tsunami folks ONLY because I think we need to win as many friends in the Muslim world as possible right now and aid both to tsunami vicitms in Indonesia (the largest Muslim country there is) and earthquake victims in Pakistan (an important ally) can help. Had it not been for that factor, I would have thought there are too many good uses for that money in this country (including building an adequate levee system for New Orleans) to be sending it overseas.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        BT

                                        • Total Posts: 3589
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                                        RE: New Orleans's Future?? Fri, 02/24/06 11:26 PM (permalink)
                                        quote:
                                        Originally posted by azure

                                        Stevekoe, I think what I most object to is your repeated characterization that New Orleaneans, in general, are all just sitting around waiting for a handout (I counted three times in your last entry).


                                        Did he say that? I didn't understand he was saying that and I'm certainly not. But while we admit that most New Orleaneans are working to do what they can for themselves and their city, you have to admit that some are just sitting in a hotel room being paid for by someone else and demanding they be given some undefined form of "help".

                                        quote:
                                        Are there some desperate people who feel entitled to help from our government? Absolutely. But what many feel entitled to is what they see their own government regularly sending abroad but not providing them...but promised them. Didn't the government promise those most unfortunate trailers and tents, food, potable water until they could get on their feet...a place to exist so they could go back to work and start to rebuild their lives? Shouldn't we honor our promises?


                                        Now we're really getting somewhere. We seem to agree that it's disgusting to see American aid being given to people overseas that isn't being given to people at home. But what was really given to people overseas? A tent? A few months worth of food? Medical care? I think most New Orleaneans affected by the hurricane have gotten at least those things. Many got $2000 which is far more than the value of per capita aid given to tsunami or earthquake victims overseas. Many have gotten 6 months of free hotel rooms and will continue to get aid to pay rent. In other words, they ARE getting (or should certainly be getting if they aren't) everything that other Americans affected by disasters, whether it's earthquakes in my own San Francisco (where I went through the 1989 quake), midwest tornadoes, upper Mississippi floods or FL hurricanes (which blew the roof off my sister's house in Daytona--my 87 y/o Mom had to lend her $30,000 for repairs and 1 1/2 years later the house isn't completely fixed) have gotten.

                                        quote:
                                        I'm a third generation New Orleanean. As such, I am more than familiar with knucklehead (and really dirty) mayors, governors, policemen, et. al. I grew up with the big bowl boogie man lurking in the shadows: loathing hurricane season, hearing adults talk about that one day when the mother of all hurricanes would come and the levees would break and we'd all be under water. This is a personal devistation on many levels. Fortunately, none of my family lost their lives...but the collateral losses are a nightmare. The domino effect has changed everything. People I know are not sitting around waiting for anything. But still, very little gets done because of the political log jam on every front. Living in an area that has sustained any hurricane damage, I assume you understand what it is like trying to negotiate the maze set up by flood insurance companies and what percentage of one's loss is actually realized.

                                        Everyone has an opinion. The bottom line for me is that New Orleans must be rebuilt. But rebuilt with all of its natural vulnerabilities taken into account. And finally a sound levee system that works.




                                        Now we totally agree. New Orleans must be rebuilt. But I started this thread to go further and say I have great certainty it will be because that's where the economic imperative lies. And that economic imperative relies on only two things: (1) The Federal government spending the money necessary to ensure that the city is adequately protected from future storms; (2) private resources including insurance money to do the actual rebuilding once there's reasonable protection in place.

                                        We all accept certain risks. I live in a city that was flattened 100 years ago and which, everyone who lives there knows, will be again. We call it "The Big One" and at every tremble we wonder if that's going to be it. I recall in 1989, it started with a little shaking, something we have all the time. But it got worse and worse and then everybody wondered, is this finally IT, THE BIG ONE? We all ran outside when the shaking stopped and looked up to see the sky blood red from an obvious huge fire (the marina District), but we got no news for 3 days and had no electricity (and hence no news), no water and no food except what we had on hand. Personally, I got pretty drunk when a neighbor insisted I share his wine cellar, but the next morning I started cleaning up. Then, when the power came back on we found out it had been what everybody began calling "the sort of big one" (the Bay Bridge, a critical traffic artery, was not repaired for many months and 57 people had died under the flattened freeway) but not "THE BIG ONE" which will come some day yet. I have taken precautions. I have what insurance I can get. I have a mortgage so as not to have all my assets tied up in my house which will likely be destroyed. I know where I will go to live (if I survive and can get there) and so on.

                                        One more thing--I think cities under the kind of threat that New Orleans and San Francisco share are more fun in a "live for today because who knows about tomorrow" sort of way and that's why many of us chose to live there.
                                         
                                        #20
                                          azure

                                          • Total Posts: 98
                                          • Joined: 6/30/2005
                                          • Location: raleigh, NC
                                          RE: New Orleans's Future?? Sat, 02/25/06 11:41 AM (permalink)


                                          One more thing--I think cities under the kind of threat that New Orleans and San Francisco share are more fun in a "live for today because who knows about tomorrow" sort of way and that's why many of us chose to live there.


                                          On this we totally agree. There is a certain spirit in the Crescent City that must go on. After all, New Orleans is "the city that care forgot"
                                           
                                          #21
                                            sizz

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                                            • Location: San Jose, CA
                                            RE: New Orleans's Future?? Sun, 02/26/06 10:18 PM (permalink)
                                            New Orleans will never be the same ....not even close to what it was before the storm..........
                                            The French Quarter will be well fortified to protect it from the river but the rest of the city and it's people are gone forever. The new New Orleans will take on a Disney Land atmosphere and nothing more then what my dear friend BT would label as a "Tourist Trap"
                                            I have and will live with my memories of what was................... I'm not going back.
                                             
                                            #22
                                              stevencarry

                                              • Total Posts: 359
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                                              • Location: San Rafael, CA
                                              RE: New Orleans's Future?? Sun, 02/26/06 11:13 PM (permalink)
                                              BT, Are from San fran or Green Valley (Las vegas) or both, or a different GV ?
                                               
                                              #23
                                                BT

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                                                • Joined: 7/3/2004
                                                • Location: San Francisco, CA
                                                RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 12:59 AM (permalink)
                                                quote:
                                                Originally posted by stevencarry

                                                BT, Are from San fran or Green Valley (Las vegas) or both, or a different GV ?


                                                I have lived in SF for 24 years, but in 2001 I finally got sick of the winter rain so I got a little place in Green Valley (south of Tucson, AZ) and I hide out here in the desert during the rainy season now. We haven't seen a drop since October. But I figure it'll be safe to return by the end of April, so I'll be back to the Bay then. Looking forward to some soup dumplings and Tom Kha Gai. That sort of stuff isn't easy to get here.
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  BT

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                                                  RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 1:06 AM (permalink)
                                                  quote:
                                                  Originally posted by fpczyz

                                                  New Orleans will never be the same ....not even close to what it was before the storm..........
                                                  The French Quarter will be well fortified to protect it from the river but the rest of the city and it's people are gone forever. The new New Orleans will take on a Disney Land atmosphere and nothing more then what my dear friend BT would label as a "Tourist Trap"
                                                  I have and will live with my memories of what was................... I'm not going back.


                                                  Nah, Frank. More like a "little boutique city" like the one with which we are both familar. But frankly, that's OK with me. As long as the tourists come, I think the food tradition will continue. From what I gather, the folks in South Louisiana outside New Orleans have always sneered at the food in the city and they will continue to, but they will nurture it whether they want to or not. So we can all keep going there to eat.

                                                  What I fear may die is the music because, unlike the food, that has come largely from the poor of the city and the poor is what may be missing in the future (again, like my own "boutique" paradise). Many of them are finding greener pastures (and better benefits) in Houston and Atlanta and other places and may never return.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    azure

                                                    • Total Posts: 98
                                                    • Joined: 6/30/2005
                                                    • Location: raleigh, NC
                                                    RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 1:24 AM (permalink)
                                                    special...
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      stevencarry

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                                                      • Location: San Rafael, CA
                                                      RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 1:38 AM (permalink)
                                                      BT I am staying out of the NO forum because it is too tender, but I feel your pain if you miss coconut,lemongrass,chicken soup probably from Khan Toke Thai House but seriously as dry as the desert is we get some of our best weather in the winter. Yes it is raining now but last week it was 70 degrees and I was forced to put the top down. In fact most of Jan. it was blue skies.
                                                      Do you not have any memories of SF nicer in winter than summer ?
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        BT

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                                                        • Location: San Francisco, CA
                                                        RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 2:10 AM (permalink)
                                                        quote:
                                                        Originally posted by stevencarry

                                                        we get some of our best weather in the winter. Yes it is raining now but last week it was 70 degrees and I was forced to put the top down. In fact most of Jan. it was blue skies.
                                                        Do you not have any memories of SF nicer in winter than summer ?


                                                        Memories of SF nicer in winter? A few, but just ran across this for Monday 2/27:

                                                        quote:
                                                        In addition to the coastal flood and high wind watches, the weather service reported that a high-surf advisory will go into effect at 6 p.m. today and remain in place until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

                                                        A powerful winter storm is expected to hit northern California today, generating 18-foot swells at its peak Monday, according to the weather service.
                                                        .

                                                        By contrast, here it will be

                                                        quote:
                                                        Monday...Mostly sunny. Highs 78 to 83. Southeast wind around 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

                                                        Monday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows 49 to 54. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south after midnight.


                                                        Ho, hum. That's the same as every other day. Maybe I should go to the pool. What do you think?
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          stevencarry

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                                                          • Joined: 2/18/2006
                                                          • Location: San Rafael, CA
                                                          RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 2:31 AM (permalink)
                                                          You have the same problem both places.
                                                          No seasons.
                                                          I want four seasons and I can't afford the Four Seasons.
                                                          I have this fantasy of Asheville N.C. having four but I have never been there.
                                                          Face it, when you're in the pool you'll have a fantasy of bundling up in front of the fire!!!!!!1
                                                          Let's get back to food. How is the Indian/Cambodian/Vietnamese/Sushi/Woodfired Pizza/Thai/blahblahblah down there ? enjoy the chile verde,amigo.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            BT

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                                                            • Joined: 7/3/2004
                                                            • Location: San Francisco, CA
                                                            RE: New Orleans's Future?? Mon, 02/27/06 2:51 AM (permalink)
                                                            quote:
                                                            Originally posted by stevencarry

                                                            You have the same problem both places.
                                                            No seasons.
                                                            I want four seasons and I can't afford the Four Seasons.
                                                            I have this fantasy of Asheville N.C. having four but I have never been there.
                                                            Face it, when you're in the pool you'll have a fantasy of bundling up in front of the fire!!!!!!1
                                                            Let's get back to food. How is the Indian/Cambodian/Vietnamese/Sushi/Woodfired Pizza/Thai/blahblahblah down there ? enjoy the chile verde,amigo.


                                                            You have struck THE nerve. Here in Green Valley, there is a food choice between mediocre American and Mexican. There's some pretty good "comfort food" (think chicken fried steak) a short drive away. And a bit further--in Tucson--there's a small selection of Asian places including a pretty darned good Indian place. But the couple of Thai places still have to serve Chinese standards because too many of their customers really don't know what Thai food is. As Mr. Chips can testify, it's only 40 miles to the border (Nogales) and I sometimes go to Mexico for Mexican--and I know a couple places where it's very good.

                                                            What kills me is that just before I came down here in the fall, I discovered a place only 2 blocks from my SF condo that has what may be the best potstickers I've ever had--and I really, really LOVE any form of Asian dumpling (see my report of my recent NY trip wherein I stuffed my face with dumplings for several days). Here I am reduced to using the frozen ones from Trader Joe's (at least we have THAT--in Tucson).

                                                            Ashville definitely has seasons. Actually, it's a great place. I've never lived there but I went to school for 4 years in Durham, NC which also has seasons. In Durham (pronounced to rhyme with "germ"), unlike Ashville, there's the very hot summer season, the pleasant spring and fall and the "ice storm season". They don't get much snow but the ice storms are awful. Ashville, on the other hand, has cooler summers and real snow sometimes. Lovely. Oh, and then there's the BBQ (and summer vegetables).
                                                             
                                                            #30
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