three of my favorite places that may not exist anymore

Linette and I love New Orleans. It’s one of our favorite places in the world. I refuse to either confirm, or deny, but there’s even a rumor going around the internet that our daughter was conceived there, between shifts spent working at the Crimewave USA table during the New Orleans Independent Press Bookfair in 2003… Anyway, it breaks our hearts to think that some of our favorite places (and, worse yet, people) may be gone forever. Here, in way of tribute, are just a few snapshots taken during our last visit. The first is of me eating at a fantastic, little place called Mother’s. The second is of Linette drinking at one of the oldest taverns in America, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. And the third is a shot taken inside Ernie K Doe’s Mother In-Law Lounge.

I could go on for pages and pages as to why I think New Orleans is one of the few authentic places left in the United States (if you can get beyond the Bourbon Street titty squad, the petty criminals, and the wannabe vampires), and why what’s happening now is a catastrophic cultural loss for our country. I could also spend a lot of time ranting about the racism creeping into the media coverage, and fact that the city apparently had no contingency plan for evacuating those without transportation, or the financial means to leave. But, all that stuff, as well as the discussion as to whether or not it makes sense to rebuild, can wait until later. What’s important now is that we all open our hearts and homes to the survivors along the Gulf Coast (not just in New Orleans), and our billfolds to the Red Cross.

It’s especially important that we give money to the Red Cross now, as most of the immediate burden is going to be put on them… Our National Guard forces and other government resources, as we all know, are tied up in Iraq. FEMA has been decimated. And, our leaders are preoccupied with more important matters.

I linked to it up above, but here, in closing, is a clip from a letter attributed to a New Orleans rescue worker (via BoingBoing):

The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number — 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn’t leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn’t be able to get out. The resources — meaning, the political will — weren’t there to get them out.

White per capita income in Orleans parish, 2000 census: $31,971. Black per capita: $11,332. Median *household* income in B.W. Cooper (Calliope) Housing Projects, 2000: $13,263.

Now send some money. Please.

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  1. chris
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Yeah, saw the presidential pic on Boing Boing. But has anyone noticed how he appears to be striking a “fuck you” chord. So there you go people. BTW, it took that pussy more than 4 fucking days to show up in NYC after his beloved and oft cited 9/11 too.

    Maybe if he’s really lucky he can find some way to blame the levee breaking on terrorists, or better yet, unpatriotic folk.

  2. Teddy Glass
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    If you’re thinking about giving to other groups, check out Charity Navigator first. It’s a useful tool.

  3. Posted September 1, 2005 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I had an argument yesterday with a Libertarian. He feels no need to donate because people chose to live there and chose to stay…need to take responsiblity for their lives…blah blah blah. I argued with him but to no avail. My employer is matching contributions to the Red Cross and he can’t be bothered to give because he’s smart enough not to live near the ocean. I was beside myself with frustration.

  4. Jessica
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    So, by that logic, I guess we should just say “Fuck San Francisco” when the big earthquake finally comes. And, for that matter, “Fuck New York” the next time there’s a terrorist attack. If people want to live there, I guess they deserve what’s coming to them, right?

  5. Teddy Glass
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard the same thing from a few people. One likened the situation to the story of the “Sword of Damocles” .

    He said that if people wanted all the beauty and culture of NOLA, they should be ready to face the consequences.

  6. anonymatt
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    that ain’t no crime

  7. terry
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I have a business card from the Mother-In-Law Lounge in my wallet. I went to see a movie there that had a small part with Ernie K-Doe made right before he died. My friends Bart and Christy got out ok but their home they bought just a couple of years ago is almost certainly destroyed. It was a cool place with Spanish tile and old fixtures that they decorated with pictures of their friends. I know I’ll miss it so I can’t imagine what they’re feeling right now.

  8. chris
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Kathleen and Teddy,

    Just curious, do you know if this is the way they felt about other natural disasters or just this one?

    Also, is there such a thing as a Christian Libertarian or are the atheist by default?

  9. mark
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking about it today, wondering where people from New Orleans might feel comfortable, and the only place that really came to mind was Savannah… Maybe there are places in Mississippi, but, as I’ve never been there, I wouldn’t know… Anyone else have any thoughts?

  10. Ken
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    My sister has evacuated up to our house from Slidell. She got word that her 2nd floor apartment is okay but her job at the Stenis Space Center is probably going to be gone for a month or so. She is looking into being a temp at the CNN center. Not really her specialty. Anybody in Atlanta have a need for a person with mad GIS Analyst skillz?

  11. john galt
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure NOLA will soon be getting help from the people of SE Asia we helped out during the tusami.. Oh nevermind… I’m sure France will help.. oops nevermind.. Guess we’re on our own, I really don’t think they should rebuild the city, its kinda like rebuilding pompei.. Why spend billions rebuilding NO only to have this happen again next year? Move to higher ground.. Thats the sensible thing to do. This disaster has been projected for over 10 years.. It can’t be a party forever. I’m sure those guys on bourbon with the matrix board crosses feel vindicated now (they say the end is near, your gonna burn … etc).

  12. mark
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    France has actually offered to help, John, as have about 20 other countries. Venezuela even offered to help, and that’s just days after a former Republican candidate for the office of president said on television that we should assassinate their democratically ellected leader. I’d say that’s pretty big of them.

  13. mark
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Ken, I’m glad your sister made it out OK. And, Terry, I’m glad your friends did too… Thanks for sharing your stories.

  14. Posted September 2, 2005 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Galt,

    Or should I say “Superman,”

    Please let us all know where this impenetrable, indestructible, Fortress of Solitude is that you live in, so we can join you in safety.

    Clearly nothing bad could ever happen to your community, as you’ve found some sort of magical (though not moral) ‘High Ground’ from which to judge the intelligence of metropolitan design as it applies to a city that has stood intact for the past three centuries.

    That this disaster has been predicted, only speaks poorly of our government’s management and leadership. Your assertion suggests, however, that it somehow reflects on the intelligence of the citizens of New Orleans.

    Your insular and selfish attitude, shared by the current (and most previous) administrations, are about to come around and bite all of us on the ass. I hope you can still get a few cynical comments in before that happens, as I for one enjoy marvelling at your Pollyanna attitude.

  15. Posted September 2, 2005 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    His fortress should be easy to recognize, it’s the one with one shining word, EGO, wrought over the entrance.

  16. Teddy Glass
    Posted September 2, 2005 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    In Defense of the administration, I’m told that Condoleezza Rice did cut her shoe shopping expedition a few hours short yesterday….. Or was it her tennis game that she cut short. Anyway, she cut something short.

  17. dorothy
    Posted September 2, 2005 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    john galt–you’re the dumbest fuck i’ve ever run across. and it’s you’re not your.
    you’re means you are
    your means belonging to you.

  18. Anonymatt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Having the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head ain’t no crime.

    I’m just adding that because Mark hadn’t understood my reference.
    But speaking of crimes, I had been thinking that FEMA director Michael Brown should be fired, but now I’m thinking he should be tried for criminal incompetence. I’ve seen him on the news and all he seems to be doing is denying there has been any problems with the response, and just generally entering a CYA mode. What a worthless piece of (Arabian) horse shit.

  19. Mark
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts exactly, Matt. His handling of this crisis has been terrible. Over the last five years, FEMA has been destroyed… So much for “protecting the homeland.”

    What a fucking joke that these assholes ran on a platform of “keeping America safe.” Hopefully, people are finally waking up to that. It’s terrible what’s happening in New Orleans, but, maybe, at the very least, it’ll make people see, finally, that there’s no substance behind the rhetoric. We are a weaker, move vulnerable country under this administration.

  20. Anonymatt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen this confirmed in the non-blog world, but if it’s true, it’s…well, by now I cannot even describe how low the administration has sunk.

    From a press release LA Senator Mary Landrieu sent out today:

    But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast – black and white, rich and poor, young annd old – deserve far better from their national government.

  21. john galt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 9:18 pm | Permalink


    I was astounded to learn that NO, a city under water had stood intact for 300 years… What about the hurricane in the 1800’s (you know before they started burying people above ground).. Thats why they have mausoleums now.. not just for the vampires… You have convinced me, lets spend billions to rebuild a doomed city.. why not improve the city or move it to higher ground so we don’t repeat this tragedy again?

  22. Anonymatt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I would assume that if they try to rebuild NO they would also improve it to be safer.

    I don’t know how you can relocate an entire large port city, which as a port necessarily exists near large bodies of water.

    Where do you suggest they put it? Near Atlanta?

  23. john galt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 9:41 pm | Permalink


    Why the hatred? All I did was question if it was appropriate to spend billions to rebuild a city that has a tragic geographic flaw… I’m sure your not an engineer… But if Brett is going to call me a polyanna for questioning the wisdom of rebuilding.. I’ll call him one for putting peoples lives and property at risk for no apparent reason other than to rebuild on a doomed site… We wonder why the Romans would have built a city under a volcano.. I guess its this sorta logic. Of course we do keep rebuilding SF and LA so maybe its just human nature to only look to the short term view.

  24. Anonymatt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 9:58 pm | Permalink


    I believe the Romans built “a city under a volcano” because of the strategic importance of the Bay of Naples. Everyone knows what happened to Pompeii and Herculaneum but dumb fucks still choose to live in Naples to this day.

    If we desert every piece of land that is prone to be hit by a natural disaster, we the fuck is left for us to go? Seriously, where are all the paradise lands where nothing bad ever happens that we can all easily relocate to?

  25. Anonymatt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    that should be “where the fuck is left for us to go?”, of course.

  26. john galt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    most areas could be hit with a natural disaster.. But building a MAJOR city where a natural disaster is not a probability, but a certainty is pretty stupid (I blame the french). If you live in Kansas (as Dorothy does presumably) you “Might” get hit with a tornado. If you build your house on the sand of the outer banks of NC.. You Will get washed away at some point. Its a matter or probabilities.. If you build on a floodplane what are the odds you’ll be flooded? If you build on a mountain what’s the chance of an avalance? I’m not an actuary but I told friends last year (when a hurricane just missed NO) that I wouldn’t buy property there.. just too risky. As for a location to rebuild what about Baton Rouge (the capital).. A port is neccessary there, but it doesn’t need to be a city of millions. Baton Rouge even has better food than NO (seriously)..

  27. john galt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    a blast from the past.. I’m glad we’re more sensitive now.. sorry for the rape victims..


    Looters found despoiling the dead were stood against the nearest wall or pile of debris and shot without hindrance of a trial. The grisly work of collecting the dead continued by torchlight. The workers were issued generous rations of bourbon and strong cigars. They breathed through handkerchiefs soaked in bourbon and smoked cigars to mask the smell.

    In the sweltering heat that followed the storm, decomposition was rapid. The bodies soon lost the rigidity of rigor mortis and had to be shoveled into carts. At times the fixed bayonets of the militia were all that kept many of the men at their work. Superintendents of the work gangs were finally given permission to torch the wreckage wherever found rather than try to extricate pieces of flesh from the ruins and cart them away.

  28. Anonymatt
    Posted September 3, 2005 at 10:39 pm | Permalink


    I’ve never been to Louisiana so I’ll have to take your word on where the best food is.

    Baton Rouge is right on the Mississippi and it appears to be prone to flooding:

    Adding thousands of people from New Orleans would just exacerbate the disaster when a 100 year flood hits.

    Can you name a “MAJOR” city that lies somewhere where there are no natural disasters? Once you have millions of people living in the same area, the potential for tragedy by natural disaster is always there.

    Traditionally cities were built on waterways because water had always provided the cheapest method of transportation, but in turn that leaves them vulnerable to floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc.

    Is there a major city in the US that is not located near a body of water?

  29. Posted September 3, 2005 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Galt,

    As for funereal relocations, here in Ypsilanti we’ve moved the town cemetery several times, for no better reason than aesthetics. Any metropolis will certainly make many alterations over the course of time, based upon various factors.

    I personally think New Orleans will rebuild, and perhaps they should adopt, as a symbol of their rebirth, something like…oh, I don’t know… maybe the Phoenix?

    Oops! Looks like another ‘doomed’ city already beat them to it!

  30. Ken
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    The reason the city is there is because of the markets that it supports. It is the largest port in the US and the fifth in the world. The reason the levees are there are to keep the river from moving; to keep the port where it is. It is the classic case of man trying to fuck with nature with disasterous results. Without the levees the mouth of the river would be about a 100 miles to the west of where it is now. The real reason the city will be rebuilt will be because the market will bear it. The country needs the port and they need it where it is. Maybe there won’t be casinos and conventions centers there when the redo it.

    On another note, I think we should clear out Seattle before that volcano that is Mt. Rainier blows.

  31. Dave Morris
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Now just because you live inland on top of a big rock doesn’t give you the high ground on this Ken. Well, ok. Maybe it does. That rock isn’t going anywhere.

    I’m not worried about Rainier. As far as volcanoes go, Bellingham, Vancouver and Portland are closer to volcanoes. Bellingham and Vancouver are close to Mt Baker. Portland is close to St Helens, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood. Portland also has a small volcano within the city limits. I think that most of the major cities out here would suffer only varying levels of ash as a result of which way the wind is blowing that day. The mud slides would only affect towns within the immediate areas. My opinion is that Hood will blow before Rainier based on the fact that an enormous area around it dropped a few inches a year or two ago.

    As far as major disasters out here, I think an earthquake is going to be the trouble maker. The Nisqually Quake a few years back damaged the Viaduct downtown. It is still in use and most everyone agrees that another shaker is going to take it down. The cost to replace it is in the billions of dollars. It is one of only two major North-South corridors through Seattle, both of which are already unable to support the current level of traffic going through. The Viaduct is along the entire downtown waterfront, which includes most of the Port of Seattle. It is on columns set into fill. It is three stories high and is double decked. The waterfront is a constant battle against tidal erosion ( my crumbling rocks that SDOT removed went into the sea wall to replenish the fill. ) Seattle knows that THE quake is only a matter of time. We know that replacing that damned Viaduct is nearly impossible. We also know that when THE quake comes, our goose is cooked. It will shut down the Port of Seattle and choke our N-S corridor, not to mention the loss of life when people get smashed between the slabs.

    There are a number of other cities whose goose is waiting to be cooked too. LA, for instance, is heavily dependent on water from the Colorado River and many people have been trying to make the point that there is potential for a major disaster if there is ever an quake or flood in Utah by Moab. There is an enormous amount of radioactive slag from uranium mines that has been left in large quantities not far from the Colorado River. It sits on a fault line. If that slag goes into the water, it effectively poisons the water supply to not only LA, but all the farms in Southern California that irrigate from the Colorado River. Bush cut funding for the removal of this waste to a safer area.

    On a similar note, when the Hanford site in eastern Washington starts leaking its radioactive waste into the Columbia, Portland will be a very undesirable place to live.

    And, as not to forget the topic, a few thoughts on New Orleans. I happened to catch a few images on tv of New Orleans and they were painting it as a war zone. Comparing it to, say, the WTO protest out here, it is very annoying to see what the media crops and zooms on as well as the emotional effect it produces. The people that were plundering stores should not have been the focus of the lense. It should have been on Bush for the lack of a national response to the crisis, to get the city under martial law and to provide services quickly and effectively so that the nonsense did not start in the first place. It should have been a tool for identifying needs. It is literally a crying shame. The crop and zoom image of looters painted an ugly representative picture of New Orleans at a time of great need for charity.

    Mark- Thanks for the charitynavigator link.

    Ken- There is a NOAA office down the way from us. If your sister can get a temp job there, she is welcome to stay with us.

    GW- You are negligent. Your conscience will eventually gain audience with you and the thoughts will persist indefinitely.

  32. Doug Skinner
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we should pause to jeer at all those people whose lives were ruined by the drought and devastating dust storms that hit the Southwest in the ’30s. If they were smart, they would have lived near the water, where there are no dust storms.

    By the way, where’s Cheney?

  33. john galt
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    another little reported aspect about NO.. The city has been sinking for decades (getting lower).. They have to pump out rain water to the lake.. Well when you constantly pump water you take some of the soil with it (sandy silt really).. The superdome has sunk a considerable distance since it was built (few feet if I remember).

  34. chris
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    John, I asked you a question earlier, I see your response now so never mind. Except, do you feel that the federal and state response was timely and appropriate?

    Your sentiments are odd. There werre obviously a large number of people unable to leave in the face of a potential, and realized disaster. And yet, you expected them to have the means to leave before this.

  35. Ken
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Dave, sorry about my comments about Seattle. I forgot that you and your whole family live out there!

    One thing I neglected to say about the Port of NO is that they are number one in the US in tonnage, not $, which would be NY/NJ.

    Atlanta isn’t as stable as you would think. We had a pretty good earthquake out here a couple of years ago. It was a trip.

    I think the danger facing Atlanta is another burning and march to the sea when Neal Boortz leads his sucession over the the fair tax.

  36. mark
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but after I graduated from college, I looked at a map of the US and started crossing places off, based on a few criteria. One of the most significant was the potential for there to be catastrophic events, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. (I also took into account insect species, availability of produce, proximity of people I wanted to stay away from, and about a dozen other things.) I ended up choosing Atlanta… I apparently didn’t recall from my earlier experience there (as a 4th grader) that the people were, for the most part, assholes.

    We moved a few years later.

    Now we live in Michigan, because of the fresh water resources, the proximity to Canada, and the great distance from either of the coasts. The ecomony sucks, the skies are grey, but I’ll outlive most of you when things really take a turn for the worse.

  37. chris
    Posted September 4, 2005 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Ha! We’re coming to live with you. Why do you think we’ve been subscribing to Crimewave? So you have the means to buy up some acreage for the bunkers.

    And yeah, where is Cheney? Weird you mention it Doug as I was wondering the same thing. In fact, has anybody seen this man alive lately? Our Congressman Rangle stated recently that the man seemed on the verge of keeling over. The most mysterious ailment presented was Dick’s spontaneous and intermittent grunting. Rangel was preemptively calling for Rumsfeld to replace Bush in case of…well I don’t know..a miracle maybe?

  38. mark
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Cheney’s probably in his office at Halliburton… I hear they’ve already gotten a bunch of the contracts to rebuild the infrastructure in Iraq.

    Either that or he’s feasting on the blood of the dead in an underground lair.

  39. Anonymatt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be so complacent in Ypsi, Mark. Or doesn’t the Huron River ever flood?

  40. john galt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    what about Boulder CO? I know they have some water issues, and that pesky Yellowstone Caldera thing (which if it goes the whole planets fucked).. I think you guys are missing my point, the whole coast is vulnerable, but civic planning and optimism (that a cat 5 was unlikely, The levees were only build to take at best a cat3) (levees, pumps) caused the situation they have now where flood waters cant recede. If they’re gonna build it back wouldn’t it be a good time to come up with something that would prevent this from happening, its a lot worse than on the rest of the gulf where your house gets destroyed and if they let you, you just build it back. The soil and ground water is going to be contaminated with all sorts of toxins, they’ll probably have to scape the soil like at a superfund site, and all those chemicals.. etc, they’re just gonna have to pump it all out into the gulf. I would refrain from eating oysters for a couple years, even the Apalachicola ones are going to be suspect.

  41. Anonymatt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


    OK, I agree with you on some of this. When they rebuild the city they should do so with a plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And they should have used an ounce of prevention because now they need several tons of cure. And that it will be extremely problematic to get rid of the contaminated water that’s in NO now.

    All coastlines are vulnerable, and if you go inland there’s other natural disasters that may occur. that’s why I thought your plan to relocate the city seemed naive unless you could specify a totally safe place to do so. (Which you haven’t, probably because there is no such place.)

    The big problem is that there were plans to strengthen the levee, but they weren’t enacted because of budget cuts to the Corps of Engineers. There was widespread agreement that a big hurricane could cause these problems in NO, but the Federal Gov’t is back in its “No one could have foreseen all these things happening” CYA mode. Not that State and Local Gov’t are blame-free either. There’s going to be lots of blame to spread around, but our Vacationer-In-Chief deserves all he gets and then some.

  42. john galt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    there were never plans to strengthen the levees to take a cat 5, even the corps has said that there wasn’t any plan in place that would have prevented this..


  43. Anonymatt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    There were strengthening plans that had been underfunded, although I cannot say that completing them would have saved NO from a category 4 or 5. Strock’s story indicates they probably wouldn’t have. Point taken.

    But this is the stupidest sentence:
    “Records show that corps funding for the Louisiana projects has generally decreased in recent years.”

    OK, so Strock says the War in Iraq didn’t contribute to the funding reductions. What did? Apparently, the funding just magically decreased on its own. No government people are responsible for the reduced funding, it just happened.


  44. mark
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s nothing a few more tax cuts couldn’t solve.

  45. john galt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    well, NO was probably the most corrupt city in america, you pour in 500mil, If 20% of it actually made it to any real project it would be a miracle, I’ve had friends (there were 4 of them) thrown in jail there for urinating during Gras (there arent any porta pottys, you have to stand in line for 30mins and pay 10.00 usually).. anyways the cops offered to let them out if they coughed up 200.00 each.. When they realized they didn’t have it, that went down to 50.00. SOmetimes you just can’t hold it:) It is things like this that give NO its distinctive odor.. aside from the horses and vomit.

  46. john galt
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Mark, you astonish me.. you point out the Govts. incompetence in the face of a disaster.. yet you still want to give them more money to fund that incompetence.. I guess they know better than you do. Please send a check to the treasury, I’m sure it will be put to better use by them than it would be by you.

  47. mark
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Or, here’s another idea, John – we could police government incompetence and hold our elected leaders responsible. Of course, that’s a lot harder than just tearing the whole system apart and going back to feudalism.

  48. Jim
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Yes, John, the current program to strengthen the levees, whose funding Bush slashed, was only designed to protect New Orleans from a category 3 storm. The scale for measuring hurricanes is based on wind speed and Katrina made landfall as a category 4; however, measured by its storm surge, Katrina was a massive hurricane, among the largest recorded. So Katrina may well have flooded New Orleans even if Bush had not failed to address global warming, to stop the erosion of Lousiana’s wetlands, to fund requested levee improvements, and to develop an adequate emergency response plan. Nonetheless, Bush’s actions without a doubt increased the likelihood that a hurricane would flood New Orleans, and they have increased the likelihood that another hurricane (even one smaller than Katrina) will flood New Orleans in the future. Furthermore, if the Federal government had aggressively pursued the Coast 2050 program developed in 1998 (rather than the much more modest improvements which Bush underfunded), enough progress might have been made to prevent the current flooding.

    The $19B price tag mentioned in this article is a lot of money, but it’s less than the cost of Katrina’s damage, and peanuts compared to the price of the unnecessary war in Iraq.

    The corruption of the New Orleans police and city government is irrelevant to the issue of flooding–flood prevention projects are done by the Army Corps of Engineers and other Federal and State agencies, not the city.

    FEMA was widely praised as a highly effective agency under James Lee Witt, while it has been dismantled and mismanaged under Albaugh and Brown. The events of the last week show the difference between competence and depraved indifference.

  49. mark
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Great comment, Jim. Thanks.

  50. chris
    Posted September 5, 2005 at 9:28 pm | Permalink


    I don’t know where you got your cut and paste from, but you are aware that the Army Corp of Engineers is a federal agency aren’t you? In fact, it is considered a civilian arm of the military. Meaning they are required to tow the party line.

    But what is your point?

    I am not so concerned about the front end of the fault but the back end. Are you OK with what you have read and heard regarding the aftermath of the flooding? Is this something that is totally acceptable and tolerable to you given the circumstances?

    Just asking.

  51. john galt
    Posted September 6, 2005 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    No chris I’m not happy with the suffering but it is a disaster… When you have a major disaster there’s going to be some suffering. I think they’re doing the best they can now.

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