Sunday, May 14, 2006

Getting Our Footing Back ...

By this time next week many of us will talking about how the New Orleans mayor's race turned out. Is there anything left to be said about it? The candidates have each tried to demonstrate that they have a plan, that theirs is the right one, and that they can get more done than the other fellow.

The race has drawn international attention but I don't think that this is due to the candidates' titanic struggle. The candidates are both capable gentlemen committed to public service, but the Katrina story dwarfs this race, politics, and the mechanics of governance.

A major city in the richest country in the world is crippled, due largely to governmental malfeasance, and aggravated by governmental impotence. The media are baffled as to what today's headline should be, and a mayoral race seems as good a thing as any.

The real story doesn't follow the daily news cycle; the gist of it is considerably less tangible than regular progress reports on levee reconstruction, and on the racial composition of the electorate. How do you convey community spirit, frustrations of trying to get anything done, and discouragement caused by the glacial pace of reconstruction?

My friends and cohorts are mostly 60-ish, and we find ourselves seriously considering leaving the area. Any sense of disloyalty to our home town is outweighed by the toll of everyday life; this is not the way to spend our golden years.

Katrina led us to cashing out our house, furniture and clothing. We evacuated with only what fit in our car. Like many, we want to see what happens this hurricane season before deciding whether it makes sense to build or buy another house.

Many of the people we talk to have adopted a similar wait-and-see attitude. But even then, of course, there will be another hurricane season each year. Still we need to be spared this season just to get our footing back.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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