Entries for February, 2007

To everyone who doesn’t think repopulation is an issue; to everyone satisfied with a half-size New Orleans, who think it’s for the best economically, socially, and risk-wise; your fondest wish is about to come true – if you live anywhere on the East Bank, you too could be a participant in the grand “house swap” proposals promoted by the “clustering” crowd. Get ready to trade your Uptown townhouse, your Warehouse District loft, your Marigny Creole Cottage – whatever you call home right now – for whatever’s available wherever they’ll have you on the West Bank, because the White House is recommending that as much as $978 million be moved from East Bank Orleans Parish flood wall improvement, levee raising, and breach repair budgets to West Bank flood control projects, with no commitment to when, how or whether they’ll restore those funds. (Perhaps even worse, the Corps says that’s OK, because they weren’t going to be able to spend that money by the end of their fiscal year – September 30 – anyway. “They say they need more time to finish designing.” I beg your pardon? You can’t find any levee repairs projects to spend money on? Clearly they’ve assigned their best designers the job.)

Now, this isn’t to say the West Bank doesn’t have legitimate, urgent even, flood control needs. But as even Senator Vitter noted, this is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Read between the lines: “Why pay to protect the bulk of the city that’s basically empty, or horror of horrors, encourage people to come back to it?” In a classic example of the recency effect logical fallacy, funding will go to the areas that are “safe” because they weren’t utterly devastated all that lately. But also because they’re presently populated.

No repopulation effort, no more East Bank New Orleans. And Peter hasn’t got much more to steal, for Paul’s sake or anyone else’s.