There was a time when I was sympathetic, but that was back before New Orleans—my adopted hometown and favorite city despite it’s problems—was the recipient of a golden opportunity but threw it away in the name of politics.
New Orleans has had problems for a long time. There never were too many jobs there, and the city was plagued with crime and poverty, particularly the areas around it’s numerous sprawling public-housing complexes, which ranked among the worst in America.
But then Hurricane Katrina came along and wiped out much of the city. And in it’s wake, New Orleans was given a priceless gift—a shot at a new beginning.
To begin with, everyone was evacuated from the city. Nearly every single person was removed. No one was deliberately left behind, including the thousands of useless layabouts and criminals in the public housing complexes. These people were redistributed among thirteen other states—in many cases put up in hotels or placed in local public housing apartments—and the city literally had the chance to start over.
First the clean-up and rebuilding began. For this, workers were needed and gladly accepted. Wages were high, but accommodations were scarce due to the damage that the hurricane had wrought. The city began working to rehabilitate enough residential space to house the workers who were necessary to rebuild the city. Had they just focused on this, they could have done like many of us suggested and simply rebuilt a smaller, more economically-viable city, populated mainly by people who were there to work. But politics soon reared it’s ugly head, and those running the city knew that they stood to lose in the next elections as any smart voter would hold them accountable for their numerous failings during the crisis. Worse—the political losses might even extend far enough up the ladder to affect the balance of power closer to the top of the ticket in this state which was narrowly but consistently controlled by one political party, the Democrats. The democrats knew that they could not win over people who had lost property and livelihoods due to their malfeasance, so they scrambled to dilute the voter base with more tractable, reliable voters. They reached out and called the welfare crowd back, knowing that this group of sheep would vote “Dem” on election day without giving it anything even remotely resembling a thought.
But to bring the welfare voters back, they had to give them someplace to stay. So the orders went out, diverting construction and rehabilitation projects away from market-rate units intended for workers and steering those resources into reopening as much of the old public housing properties as they could, and giving out Section Eight vouchers when that wasn’t sufficient. They ran around the country, trying to coax back every hood rat and Oprah-watcher that they could find, and even as the employers struggled to find enough housing for the workers needed to rebuild, the non-working masses were flooding back in, often getting priority for desirable housing. They weren’t interested in jobs and had no intention of helping rebuild, but they were sick and tired of living in places like Houston--where they were busy jacking up the crime rates just like they'd done in New Orleans--and the Democrats wanted their votes. So the scum were brought back, and the crime rate began to climb again. But what’s a little crime when Ray Nagin’s job was on the line? A little crime was acceptable if it meant that the criminals would vote him and his cronies back into power. And sure enough, they did. Nagin got re-elected, as did William Jefferson. Corruption and incompetency were unacceptable to many of those productive people who were working to restore the city but they did not matter to the criminals and welfare cheats who were brought back just to tip the election back to the Dems. The bad guys won, but now most of the people who had made New Orleans such a cesspool and who had actually been relocated were back again. And the city that almost rose from the dead has cancer again.
Now the city that only a few years ago had so much promise and opportunity for anyone who wanted to work is more violent than many third-world countries. It’s populated by losers like Darrion Scott, the seventeen year old mother of a two and a half year old, who stabs bus drivers just because she doesn’t want to follow simple rules.
NEW ORLEANS—Authorities say a woman who was repeatedly asked to fold up her baby's stroller on a New Orleans city bus refused, then poured milk on the driver before stabbing her in the chest.
New Orleans police and transit officials tell The Times-Picayune newspaper that the veteran Regional Transit Authority driver suffered a 4-inch deep wound but she survived.
Authorities say 17-year-old Darrion Scott boarded the bus with her 2 1/2-year-old baby and was asked to fold up the stroller. Authorities say Scott tore the top off the baby's bottle of milk and poured it on the driver before stabbing her.
She has been charged with aggravated battery.
The driver, Hanella Johnson, was released from the hospital Wednesday. She has been an RTA driver for 18 years.
Good job, Democrats. Thanks, Mayor Nagin. New Orleans was almost free of this sort of stuff before you fought to bring it all back. Post-Katrina, Darrion Scott was somewhere else for a while, and probably would have stayed somewhere else but for you guys working to bring her and thousands more like her back. The decent people who committed to trying to rebuild the city deserved better, but you put your political careers ahead of their lives and safety and you killed off a city that was in the process of being reborn, just because it was easier than trying to make amends for your ineptness or returning to the private sector.
CORRECTION: My first posting of this had former Mayor Marc Morial's name where Ray Nagin's should have been. I don't apologize as much to Morial as I do to New Orleans residents who have every right to at least have the correct mayor held responsible. Thanks to Bigezbear for pointing my error out. Mea Culpa. Or, in the words of Ray Nagin..."My bad".