08 December 2005

Bush and Clinton Visit the University of New Orleans: Show Me The Money!

Rubbed elbows with two former U.S. Presidents yesterday ...

Well kind of, but it's better than what most people were doing. I say that because the waterlines still served as a reminder while driving down Elysian Fields to UNO three months later.

Ironic if you look up that word Elysian Fields:
a dwelling for the blessed after death.

It is still hard to recollect some of the events that got us to where we are today. Images of casinos on Highway 90, washed out bridges, and levee breaches all come together which make it hard for many of us to remember. Is that due to trauma? Not believing whats being reported? Too much at one time? Hard to say, but even at the time all of this was happening no one could predict what would happen or where they would be three months down the line.

Shelia David most accurately portrayed the situation in the article about Hurricane Hugo in “Uncovering the Hidden Costs of Coastal Hazards”, when she mentioned that natural disasters impose more than economic costs. Natural disasters create tremendous social, psychological, and environmental hardships as well. People who once lived in a fast paced world before Hurricane Katrina are today faced with the reality of a slow recovery to the most costly natural disaster to ever wash ashore the United States coastline. People who once avoided certain races, social classes, or religious beliefs all found themselves in the same Red Cross and Social Service lines after the storm. The coastal communities of Buras, Yscloskey, D’Iberville , etc. that were very connected to the natural environment were simply removed from the landscape.

While thinking of this and listening to this press conference it was nice to learn that of the $100+ million in funds donated from people around the world:

$40 million would be split up between Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I don't know why when people want to give Louisiana a check other states some how get on the list. Don't get me wrong Alabama got hit hard last hurricane season and got billions for restoration. I didn't see Louisiana trying to get in on their money because some kids sand castle blew down in Grand Isle. So of the $40 million I'd like to see most of it allocated to Mississippi and Louisiana.

$30 million to universities affected by the storm. Wow sounds good. For the first time in my 7 or 8 years of higher learning (ha ha no I'm not a doctor) I might get some money for school. Oops read the fine print: $30 million is to spread out to 34 different universities. 34 different schools? You mean less than $1 million per university. Well you can bet I personally won't see any of that money. The best I can hope for is some of that money being used to get some more chair backs in the west upper of Tiger Stadium.

And my favorite: $20 million to "faith based organizations." I won't be too critical here because church organizations probably did a better job at pooling their resources to help people more effectively than the Red Cross and FEMA, but blowing 1/5 of the $100 million on church groups seems a little high.


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