Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is New Orleans an infant baby?


Why is it essential that we know if a tropical storm or hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico is in any way threatening The Big Easy? A casual observer would come to believe New Orleans is the only major city on the Gulf outside of Florida. The news reports make it clear that this must be the major concern regarding weather in that region. I've even come to expect the familiar refrain, ". . . hurricane XYZ, which is projected to enter the Gulf of Mexico threatening the Gulf Coast region including New Orleans". NPR is but one source setting this standard, but it is common to the other national news outlets in all media. No mention is made in particular of Houston despite it being over five times as populated or Mobile, AL, which is about a third as big. Once a trajectory is inevitably set for one of these or many other locations and only then, will we hear that community as part of the standard report.

Of course, it is because of Katrina, and of course, that doesn't make any sense. Look back to the title of the post. Is New Orleans a helpless invalid lying in wait for tragedy to befall it? Is this a commentary on our collective doubt that New Orleans as a community has corrected past mistakes and vulnerabilities? Does it say something about our general doubt in the ability of government at many levels to solve problems and learn lessons? I include in that the possibility that government may have encouraged bad decisions in rebuilding and repopulating New Orleans after Katrina.