Tuesday, November 15, 2005

State of New Orleans: Chaotic Neutral

Eleven weeks after Hurricane Katrina landed on our vanishing shore I can give y'all the following update...

Signs of progress:
• Clean-up of debris from in front of homes in some neighborhoods is progressing nicely, but there is always more... everyday there are new piles of debris.
• The state of Louisiana has taken over virtually the entire Orleans Parish School System... This is a VERY good thing.
• There is talk of eliminating the Orleans Levee Board.
• Shell Offshore is sounding as they may return to New Orleans (This is because a large percentage of Shell employees are Europeans - and Europeans hate Houston).
• If you squint while Uptown, in the French Quarter or in the Garden District it appears that everything is kind of normal... the exception being the huge general contractor convention that's in town.
• Major crime has dropped down to virtually nil.
• There are a lot of bars open.
• Well... that's about it for signs of progress.

Negative/Neutral Signs:
• Our electric company has gone into bankruptcy and is not receiving any assistance from FEMA... interesting, didn't the feds bail out our major airlines to the tune of several billion dollars after 9/11? Without a bailout... this entire city may go dark in a month.
• Our electric company has sent out electric bills to everyone that is sometimes 6x their normal bill even though many STILL don't have electricity.
• Under 3,000 individuals out of many many thousands of applicants have been approved for SBA Loans.
• Most stoplights still are not functioning - we are a city of four way stops, even at MAJOR intersections.
• The estimated population of this city is hovering around 100,000 - that's down from 450,000.
• Tom Benson is still trying to steal the Saints away from this city.
• Rumours abound that George Shinn, the owner of the New Orleans Hornets who are currently playing in Oklahoma City, may just keep them there.
• Ruth's Chris Steakhouse's corporate headquarters, which was founded in New Orleans, has fled the city for Orlando and may not even reopen the original restaurant.
• Emeril Lagasse, who built his reputation off this city and who has made a fortune off of this, plans to not open ANY of his restaurants in New Orleans and will move his corporate headquarters elsewhere. He has also fired all of his employees. What a tool.
• The New Orleans Fire Department was forced to lay off 1/3 of its firemen.
• Jefferson Parish plans to lay off 1/3 of its workforce.
• The state of Louisiana received a bill for 3.7 billion dollars from FEMA... basically almost a third of our yearly budget, when we already have a shortfall of a billion dollars this year alone caused by Katrina.
• Virtually every insurance company is refusing to issue homeowners policies in southern Louisiana including New Orleans, which means that no one can sell a home in southern Louisiana - remember that you can't get a mortgage unless you can get homeowners insurance.
• With all the heavy clean-up equipment cruising around, our streets are turning into jello.
• The feds are still only saying that they are going to rebuild our levees to withstand a Cat 3. This is unfortunate because most major New Orleans businesses will not return unless the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Government decide that they want to protect its citizens.
• The Dutch kick America's ass in providing flood protection for her citizens... read more about this here.

I have to stop here because I'm just getting depressed listing all of this. We're basically fucked down here unless the Federal Government decides that it really does care about its own citizens and decides to become visionary... So basically we're fucked.

Naw... not really. The people of this city will go it alone. Hey Republicans, Democrats and Bush why don't you go ahead and just tell us the truth that you ain't going to help us so we can stop hoping.


Blogger Lisa said...

Well, when I started reading that, I was getting agood, happy, positive feeling, then it abruptly took a southward turn. Damn. Thanks for the upadate since the stinkin' media has moved on from New Orleans...this is all so disturbing.

7:14 AM, November 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe me, a lot of us in this country are plenty disgusted with how how government has turned their backs on you guys - feel your pain.

I do have 1 questin though. According to an Emerils.com news release in early Nov - they do, in fact, plan to re-open their New Orleans restaurants. The news release also stated that they had re-opened the corporate offices. Where did you hear otherwise?


8:55 AM, November 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does this mean stacey is out of work?


4:15 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Ray in New Orleans said...

Emeril's web site says otherwise, and as of two days ago there were guys in hard hats working inside Delmonico.

If he did do everything you say, then yeah, fuck him, lifetime boycott, all that, but I don't want to vilify the guy based just on rumors. Next thing you know people'll be saying he was the one who was cutting little kids throats at the convention center.

5:59 PM, November 16, 2005  

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