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Giving Directions in New Orleans

I just got off the phone with a colleague of mine who was asking where he could get a part in a town where most everything is closed. So I gave him directions:

You go down until you see the brown truck flipped on its side. About a block past there you'll see the sign for the business... but they are closed. Go to the end of the block and in the empty lot, you'll see the trailer they are working out of. Pull into the lot and roll down your window. If the generator is running there is someone inside. If not, you'll have to call them. But they still don't have phones, so I'll give you the owner's cell phone number....

Trying to run a business with no employees, no building, no electricity and no phones. Welcome to New Orleans, 6 months after Katrina.


Comments (17)

I reckon bout this much whi... (Below threshold)
cbentpri:

I reckon bout this much whipped cream should do me.

The governmental response t... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

The governmental response to this catastrophe is criminal. I ran across a blog entry last night that describes what an exhausting experience it is to live in New Orleans now.
http://floodandloathing.blogspot.com/2006/02/katrina-fatigue.html#comments
The nation has been shameful in its lack of caring. The only thing that keeps my spirits going are the volunteer groups that come down to help the people gut their houses and the people taking a chance and coming to New Orleans on holiday. They represent the real Americans to me.

We haven't heard much about... (Below threshold)
Jess:

We haven't heard much about it in the news, in fact nothing lately so I have been wondering how it's been going there. Last thing regarding NO that I heard was Ray Nagin's dumbass comments on the chocolate city. Someone needs to fire that guy. Who the hell elected him? I'm afraid to ask.

>I have been wondering how ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I have been wondering how it's been going there

That's the problem. It ain't "going." For all practicle purposes New Orleans is the same today as it was 5 months ago except it is (mostly) dry.

What governmemt response di... (Below threshold)
Sindairian:

What governmemt response did San Fransisco get after the earthquake in '07? Or Alaska after the big one up there?

When did America change from doing it yourself to sitting on your butt waiting for some one else to do it?

If you don't like what is happening down in New Orleans, do something about it your self. Leave my tax dollars out of it.

Hmm, I must have missed the... (Below threshold)
BrianOfAtlanta:

Hmm, I must have missed the part about Paul begging for the Feds to come bail out him and the rest of NOLA.

Amen Brother!... (Below threshold)
Rhonda:

Amen Brother!

What help DID the gov bring... (Below threshold)
Paul:

What help DID the gov bring? Do you know?

How much did NYC get after 9/11?

How much did the midwest get after their flooding a few years back?

How much has Florida gotten in the last Decade becasue of Hurricanes?

Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Didn't think so.

>When did America change fr... (Below threshold)
Just Wondering:

>When did America change from doing it yourself to sitting on your butt waiting for some one else to do it?

You are absolutly correct... And I have a few more questions....

Why do all the people who live up north wait for the government to move the snow from the streets when it snows? Why don't they just move the snow themselves instead of waiting for goverment to do it?

And another thing....

What about all the people who expect goverment to pick up garbage in their neighborhood? What idiots. Why don't they take their own garbage to the landfill?.

The bastards just want goverment to do everything for them.

What about all the peopl... (Below threshold)

What about all the people who expect goverment to pick up garbage in their neighborhood? What idiots. Why don't they take their own garbage to the landfill?.

In my neighborhood, if we don't contract with a garbage service and pay for it ourselves, the garbage doesn't get picked up.

And yes, I do like it that way. It means if I don't get the garbage to the curb on time, I'm paying for service I didn't get. That's incentive to do my part.

If we had it as bad as they do in New Orleans, though, none of the contractors available to us would be able to handle it. Sometimes the deep pocket has to chip in to get it done.

Sindairian: If you actually... (Below threshold)
Phillip II:

Sindairian: If you actually read Paul's post, you missed the point. Sounds to me like this guy was doing an awful lot for himself. Do you have to run your personal generator to keep your business's lights on? If you don't, then this guy's probably doing a lot more for himself than you are. This is why we have government - to deal with things too large for individuals to do alone. New Orleanians pay takes, too, bud.

Did you see this USA Today ... (Below threshold)
Kelly:

Did you see this USA Today article, Has USA lost drive to rebuild after tragedies?
It has some interesting commentary. It does give this perspective, "Chicago and San Francisco weren't rebuilt without delays and problems. Chicago started fast, but construction stalled after the financial panic of 1873. San Francisco took about nine years to come all the way back. "There was no 'golden age' of rebuilding,"

Sindairian,You bre... (Below threshold)

Sindairian,

You break something, you're supposed to make good on it. The levees were built & maintained by the Corps of Engineers, a federal agency. Their incompetance and/or malfeasance is the reason we got flooded. Therefore, the clean-up is primarily an issue for the feds.

You go down until you se... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

You go down until you see the brown truck flipped on its side. About a block past there you'll see the sign for the business... but they are closed. Go to the end of the block and in the empty lot, you'll see the trailer they are working out of.

Sounds like directions we gave a few times on the ground in ODS when things were winding down.

It's a shame.

But, unfortunately part of the reality of such a disaster.

I spent last weekend in Dallas with a co-worker and friend who has been living in the "habitable" upstairs of his mothers house in N.O. while he waits for a roofing contractor to finally show up to fix the roof at his house so he can get started on repairing the rest. They are living in the upstairs of the house because the downstairs is gutted, no mold, but they had to rip everything out themselves and since they were lucky enough to not have a huge mold problem they could inhabit the second floor of a house that would be unacceptable anywhere else.

It has taken him until now to get a contractor that would even show up, three others didn't. He was also lucky enough to have a brother on the Texas-Louisiana border to live with his wife and two children directly after Katrina. Unfortunately, they were then in the direct landfall of Rita. They got to experience life without power and water once again.

This guy is one of the friendliest and most optimistic people that I have ever met in my life.

He still is.

But, I can see the strain and stress that he has been through in trying to take care of his family since Katrina in his face and in his manner. It's a look I'm not used to seeing in this country.

Before you start talking about your tax dollars, go see what really happened down there, the devastation, and remember that these are our countrymen. They deserve our help and our dollars. I don't care how long it took to rebuild San Fransisco or Chicago (where I am from). This is a different time. Our economy is much larger and stronger.

We should be able to do much better.

"Why do all the people who ... (Below threshold)
Darby:

"Why do all the people who live up north wait for the government to move the snow from the streets when it snows? Why don't they just move the snow themselves instead of waiting for goverment to do it?"

Just Wondering... Most towns and cities have local laws making plowing city streets illegal. It's one of those things that if people were left to do on their own it would never get done. Hence why you pay taxes, for street maintaince(Plowing, Sweeping), repairs, and things like that.

Somethings need to be ordered and government run. Doesn't always get done when you want it too or even done to the degree that it could be done too. But it does always get done.

Mesablue, Thank ... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Mesablue,
Thank you so much for your support. And I know that look. If any of you want to see it go to this link and click on the video "New Orleans Fuming". You can see the look on Councilman Oliver Thomas's face when they do a closeup at the end of the report.
http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/katrina/main500487.shtml

One of the problems facing ... (Below threshold)

One of the problems facing the entire coast hit by Katrina is a combination of the lack of available contractors and their collective profit drive, that will unfortunately keep individuals depending upon them to repair or rebuild their residences waiting indefinitely. The contractors in the area jumped on the big jobs right away--those moving in aren't interested in working for private citizens and waiting for insurance settlements; they're in it for the big money, too.

So you have folks like a good friend of mine whose house was flooded south of Mobile. He's been living in his downtown bar because he's only been able to three different contractors on duty for a grand total of five days.

Of course the other side of this coin is that people both need places to live and places to work. If houses are built without restoring the business district, they have no way to make ends meet. If the business district is rebuilt and up and running, there's nobody able to work, because they have no home. It's a catch-22 that won't be fixed anytime soon--look at the Florida panhandle a year and a half after Ivan, then multiply the destruction several times over....there are still tarps on roofs and boards over missing windows down there.

I said all that to get to my central point...the first and foremost concern of the federal government should be to establish nothing but the most basic infrastructure (in the case of NOLA, would include levees, pumping stations, sewage treatment and evacuation facilities, water, power, and gas lines, etc.) that makes the likelihood of a duplicate catastrophe less likely. In essence, it does no good to provide adequate housing or work to 100,000 people only to have it all washed away again this August. I am sorely disappointed that many individuals dont realize this, and choose to use their "15 minutes of fame" on the news blurbs to call for more individual compensation and assistance. What they're essentially calling for is for the government to build a skyscraper on a broken foundation.




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