I'm not sure who to listen to now. First reports of Hurricane Katrina told us of an unprecedented disaster. The feds' slow response told us they didn't think it was such a big deal. But Big Brother evactuated the city anyway. Then reports of rapes, suicides and child murders at the Superdome, gangs of looters patrolling the streets ... quick descent into chaos. Send in the troops--whatever National Guard we have left. Patrol the streets. Make not one, but two visits by the president to show his "compassionate conservatism." Forego the photo-op filling sandbags to fix the levy. Reagan did that one already. Keep out the press. Lock down the city. Avoid and discourage photos of the dead, of the muck, of the grime, of the catastrophe. People don't want to see that on the news. They want bunnies, ponies and puppies. Happy news. Let's make it all happy, because then we can be happy, too.
Then, scare us again when some desk monkey orders up 25,000 body bags. Tell us it will take months before people can move back into the city. Then, turn around and open up the upscale neighborhoods so the rich people can go back in and secure their homes. Oh, and don't forget the French Quarter. They've got to open that back up so we have time to clean the turds off the street in time for Mardi Gras. They need those tourist dollars. Sure, everything will still smell like shit, but what do sorority girls care when they're two sheets to the wind on Hurricanes (appropriate name for a cocktail by the way) and flashing their tits for beads while frat boys videotape them hoping to be the next big Girls Gone Wild producer.
I remember my trips to New Orleans. Just a block off Bourbon Street, it could get ugly if you didn't have your wits about you. Now, it could get ugly and get your feet covered in 200 years worth of sewage. Yep, let's get the parade routes back in shape so we can show how stupid we are moving back into a doomed city. Let's rebuid it to look like its former self--below sea level--pumps running continuously to keep it dry and continue to invest in an infrastructure that will most certainly sink again during the next storm surge.
The best thing for New Orleans right now, and this may sound callous, might be for another big hurricane to come in and destroy it completely. This is not about wiping out a modern Sodom and Gomorrah--we still have Las Vegas for that--but about wiping out this country's biggest money pit, one that will continue to suck up charity money, disaster relief and our taxes for generations to come. That and the fake war on terror.