Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New Orleans: Reports of Death Exaggerated

My latest Voice "Note from New Orleans" on why the city is not dead yet:

Do I think the Times is wrong? Not exactly. It's absolutely true, as the Editorial Board wrote, that if this city doesn't get the federal help it needs, and soon, the recovery will be crippled. It's true, as they say, that stalling out on this aid, needed for the levees and the rebuilding, in Washington is a great wrong and a great shame and shows our nation's weakness-"a feeble giant indeed." It is a weakness most of all, as they say, that we appear, as a nation, to accept our leader's violation of promises made a mere three months ago. It's true, as they do not say, that the city's black diaspora is having the most trouble returning, and that what is really at stake is the death of a major black American city.

But they are wrong to suggest that it is within the realm of possibility to abandon this city. They don't understand how much of its spirit has already revived, that this absolutely devastated place already has 10 times the charm of your Houston, your Detroit, your Scottsdale, and even more so because it feels like a small town for the moment. They haven't driven the miles of abandoned streets in Mid-City only to come upon a FEMA travel trailer wrapped in white Christmas lights. They haven't heard the indignant tone of a woman with 13 grandchildren evacuated to Texas when she says, "Of course we want to come home. This is home."

No comments: