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« Still standing | Main | It's not political; it's moral! »


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mrs. norman maine

I'm not sure I would villify Hastert, simply for opening the subject up to debate. Do dozens of wrongs make a right? In other words, just because we know that cities have been built where they shouldn't in the rest of the country, and development is eroding our shorelines -- should we now say that it would be unfair be to make a new, New Orleans adhere to a higher standard?

But, but, but -- There is reason to believe a rebuilt N.O. would be even more vulnerable in the future. Buffering channel islands appear to have been wiped out, and I would think that the wetlands would continue to be vulnerable to development, not to mention the disruption by all the heavy equipment it would take to rebuild the city.

When all is said and done, even a re-engineered New Orleans would still be a city in a bowl that would continue to be vulnerable to hurricanes.

Believe me, it was the city of my imagination, a pilgrimage I always promised myself, and I do find myself buying into the vision of New Orleans rising again -- not an institutional, futuristic city, but one with the same spirit, all of its secret gardens and Cajun mysteries reseeding themselves within a few years. It's a beuatiful thought...

And yet, Hastert's question is a fair one, I have (and I hate to) say. What is the best thing to do for the survivors? Is it really to make them believe that they can move back and never face those ravages again? Or is it to simply to face reality and move to higher ground?



Groucho Marx is your man for bulldozing people:

Mrs. Teasdale (with high regard): I've sponsored your appointment because I feel you are the most able statesman in all Freedonia.
Firefly (insulting her): Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say! You cover a lot of ground yourself. You'd better beat it. I hear they're gonna tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

- Duck Soup (1933)

Holdie Lewie

Mrs. Maine,
Here's where I see a flaw in your thinking: You don't understand the reason that New Orleans exists. It's a port. It's at the mouth of this country's biggest river. It has a reason to exist beyond its charm and its cultural value.

The Heretik

If one looks at things in context, humanity is not rational, nor do I think it be too much so. Venice and the Netherlands defy water and reason. Los Angeles defies lack of water, earthquake, and reason. San Francisco defies earthquake, "morality," and reason. New York defies everything. Like New Orleans, all of these places are ports of commerce, but even more they are ports of the spirit, harbors for the spirited homeless, ever witnessing the passage of peoples, jumping with the joy of life.


Amazing. Simply amazing.

Over at PK we've shoved the "relief efforts and important blog posts/articles" links to the top.

I'll be including this one.


Wonderful, compassionate post, as I have come to expect from you. And kudos for pointing out that curiously, we're not averse to rebuilding things in Florida, which is getting hit on a regular basis these days.

mrs. norman maine

Holdie -- Thank you for pointing out to me that New Orleans is a port. What a revelation that is! My point was that the well-being of that great city's inhabitants (especially its most vulnerable ones) should be a higher priority than restoring its mythology.

Your point seems to be -- what? That commerce trumps humanity?

And as Dr. Phil might say: How's that port workin' out for you these days?

Exiled in NJ

Great post, Heretik! I was going to liken it, and Lance's words to an essay by Sir Kenneth Clark, but then I saw a Yahoo headline: "Bush Vows to Fix Flaws in Recovery Effort"

Flaws, errors, mistakes. I have this picture in my mind of him trying to say these words, speech coaches telling him how to form his lips to spit them out....some film keeps coming into my mind where someone must admit a mistake but I can't place it. Anyway, now I confidently predict we are ready for the millenium.


Mrs. NM,

Personally, when I think of GWB trying to say he's made a mistake, I get a flashback to Happy Days' Fonzie: "I was w- ... I was www-- ... I was--I was wwwWWRONG." It was a running joke that he would visibly strain with the effort, dragging the "W" word out by sheer will. So it is with Bush the Lesser.


I agree we should not bulldoze this place, in fact we should INVITE all the former residents back into what is likely the most contaminated, largest toxic waste, superfund disaster site in this country, and well known to be second largest oil spill (first being Valdeez oil spill). It could actually be the first place in this country where we can actually PROVE that cancer cluster do occur in these situations, something we had difficulty proving in Toms River NJ and Love Canal. Oh, not too mention, I you like mold on everything. Toxic Life strangling Mold. Since it will be everywhere. Yes, move Back. In fact, we might as well spend $200 billions on this place just so we can say that we did we could do just to save Gumbo!

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