Happy Mardi Gras!
Six months after Hurricane Katrina, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is much diminished, but not destroyed. The same sense of humor that helped us enjoy a Blue Roof Christmas and enabled us to chill with our homies in Chocolateville, brought us the most political Mardi Gras ever. Here are some floats from Le Krewe D'etat.
The Corps of Engineers, aided and abetted by decades of political corruption, let us down badly, given that sustained winds in the city of New Orleans were only category 1 strength. If the levees had not broken, things would have been back to normal around here after the downed trees had been picked up and roof damage repaired, flooding would have been minimal.
Aaron Broussard, my Parish President, personally provided an estimated $3 to 5 billion dollars worth of flood damage with his decision to leave the pumps unmanned. He followed that up with a shameful, dishonest performance on Meet the Press. There is now a recall effort to get him out of office.
There is also a recall effort to get rid of Governor Kathleen Blanco, who would probably make a fine second grade teacher but not much more. And the contenders lining up for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's office seem limitless.
What would a post-Katrina parade be without a looting reference? This resident probably enjoyed that float the most.
You can see the entire photo album for this parade here.
I heard on talk radio today that some idiot named Star (
perhaps that was redundant) complained about us having Mardi Gras on whatever useless talk show she's on. Aside from the fact that an essential part of the character of our city is such that we NEED to laugh at tragedy, we also needed the revenue - an estimated $170 million dollars that was honestly earned, not redistributed tax dollars. It will take time, but we will rebuild. This is just one more step toward getting back to normal, and it's a very welcome one.
Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!
Added: Paul from Wizbang, another NOLA local, has some excellent commentary on this year's Mardi Gras:
I didn't want Mardi Gras this year at first. Not because I thought it was a bad idea but because I just didn't feel like it. Thankfully, people with a larger view of things were making the decision. Because Mardi Gras is more than parades and beads, Mardi Gras is political speech. It has always been the way we in New Orleans lampoon the ruling class. And this year -much more than most- we have plenty of lampooning that needs to be done.
Posted by Laura Curtis at February 28, 2006 12:26 AM
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|# February 28th, 2006 8:23 AM kris|
|What great pictures Laura. Thanks for sharing! |
|# February 28th, 2006 10:07 AM Laura|
|The recovery is going so badly... These pictures were taken in January, and a fair chunk of the city still looks like this. It's our own fault - MS pulled themselves together politically, and they don't have corruption problems to the extent that we do, so they're making better progress.
So even though I'm no longer a huge Mardi Gras fan, I really enjoyed this. A little slice of normal in a city where they now roll up the sidewalks (even the fast food places shut down) at 8pm.
|# February 28th, 2006 11:19 AM james|
if it were up to me, the city wouldn't be rebuilt at all. all this that happened will happen again, it's just a question of when.
|# February 28th, 2006 11:30 AM Laura|
|There will be earthquakes in CA and tornadoes in Kansas. Not to mention the whole coast of FL. Willing to give all that up too? |
|# February 28th, 2006 12:24 PM Laura|
|Admittedly, I'm defensive. I've lived in lots of places but I was born here and I love this city. But aside from sentimentality, please remember that between the oil and the port functions, southern Louisiana, especially New Orleans, is a HUGE contributor to the national economy. We produce 25% of the natural gas and 30% of the oil in this country, and we are the #2 fishery in the nation, providing a major source of protein for millions of Americans every year. Because of a jerk politician 50 years ago, instead of the customary 50% of tax revenue from offshore drilling, we get ZERO. America needs New Orleans; we contribute more than we take.
Hurricanes can't be prevented, but the major problem here was corruption and laziness that led to a failure to prepare adequately. And that can be prevented if we summon the political will to do so.
|# February 28th, 2006 12:26 PM james|
|that's true, disasters will happen other places as well - though the locations of those aren't predictable. i'm not advocating the abandonment of coastal areas, and i understand that new orleans is an historic city. but come on - it's below sea level. the katrina disaster was predictable. i remember hearing speculation about how horrific a new orleans hurricane would be years ago.
i suppose that i'm not against people choosing to return to and rebuid new orleans. what i am against is federal money funding that rebuilding. the cost of living in a place should underwrite the risk involved with living there. florida gets slammed with hurricanes every year. it's predictable. there should be no federal money for hurricane victims, only state money. if a state can't afford to rebuild, then it needs to raise its taxes.
it's a grave injustice that 270 million people in "the rest of the country" are forced to rebuild florida each and every year.
it will be a great inequity for the people of the nation to be forced to pay out billions to rebuild new orleans every few years.
|# February 28th, 2006 12:33 PM james|
|on a related note - i'm told that because of katrina, soldiers serving in iraq aren't getting their full combat pay. (my brother is shipping out iraq in a few days) |
|# February 28th, 2006 12:52 PM Laura|
|The location of the other disasters IS predictable; that was my point. It's a sure thing that there will be fires, mudslides and earthquakes in CA next year, for example. If you mean *precise* locations, well no, but I'd like to remind you that nobody knew where Katrina and Rita would hit until they did, either. And this is the first major hurricane we've had since Betsy back in the 60s.
That sucks about the combat pay in Iraq - completely unacceptable and I will be writing my congress critters about it. Also, your brother will be in my prayers. If you send me his contact info I'd love to send care packages; even if he's going to get a bunch of stuff from family he can always pass stuff on to others in the unit.
On the payouts to rebuild: I'm not in complete disagreement with you. IF: