Never Say Never

July 1st, 2007

I never thought that an article in the national press purporting to feature the pioneering spirits of New Orleanians returning to the most ravaged neighborhoods against all odds, exhibiting the enormous resolve of “ordinary” citizens to restore their homes and their dignity whether deserved assistance comes or no, could raise my hackles. But leave it to Adam Nossiter to prove me wrong. I don’t have it in me right now to go over the article in detail and how, in the guise of shedding a faint ray of light on the triumphs and struggles of New Orleans citizens, Largely Alone, Pioneers Reclaim New Orleans presents the opportunity to highlight the worst of what’s happening here and confirm a stereotypical hopelessness arising from the citizenry’s boundless ineptitude. Which isn’t to say that the crime rate, the state of public schools, and the planning leadership aren’t abysmal or bordering on it, but the article conveniently neglects to illustrate the of citizen-led efforts to decry and confront those problems the same way citizens confront the restoration of their physical homes. I’ll leave one particularly pungent quote to make my case: “only about one in five [Road Home] applicants – most of them entitled to it – have actually received money” (emphasis mine). Most of them entitled to it. What a pithy summation of the worst sort of condescension. Thanks, Mr. Nossiter, for your gracious observation that New Orleans isn’t mostly frauds and thieves.

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