26 January 2006

Mail Delivery and Reliability in the City of New Orleans

Something I forget to mention in the previous post--at last night's neighborhood meeting one person in attendance stood up and grilled Councilman Oliver Thomas during his Q&A over the current status of the mail system within New Orleans. In the now-populated residential areas of the city spared from the floodwaters mail service has yet to return to any semblance of normalcy. Since mid-December, we get mail delivered to our Carrollton house about once a week--sometimes twice a week when lucky. I personally have not seen a mail carrier or mail truck in my neighborhood since before the storm. When we do get mail, often times its weeks and weeks old. Apparently its still Christmastime as Christmas cards are still coming in. One friend who lives near me but in an area that did get inundated (but whose raised house did not get flooded) has not had any mail delivered to his home since his return in early October. He periodically goes to the local post office and picks up his mail--but as noted above the mail is often weeks and weeks old. Friends that live in Old Jefferson tell me that they are getting near-daily delivery but never with the same carrier and never at the same time of day. The mail is of course old and subscribed-to magazines are a no-show.

Reliable mail service is one of those basic things needed to conduct one's life--and even more so to conduct one's business and livelihood. Its also one of those essential services along with electricity, gas, water, sewerage, garbage collection, phone, cable, and internet necessary to retain our population and our businesses. My beef isn't so much with the delivery problem--its the reliability problem. If the postal service has labor shortage issues making it difficult to get carriers into the field to deliver mail at this time, I can live with having to pick it up at the post office until the situation is resolved. Just make this the official policy for the time being. The delay and complete unreliability of the mail is simply ridiculous--even with the catastrophic damages incurred throughout the area and to the local postal infrastructure (post offices and mail trucks flooded, etc.).

Can the Federal government do absolutely anything that resembles helping New Orleans and Louisiana? As I asked a while back in a posting, does the Federal government desire New Orleans to shrivel up and die? Are these repetitive screw-jobs intentional? The postal service situation presents yet another example of the kind of shit that will drive people away from this place because they cannot conduct their normal lives. As bad as the physical situation is in New Orleans (despite the "looking like the town I used to know" appearance from the window of a black Suburban between Louis Armstrong Airport and St. Charles Avenue) minor things such as working regular mail service can be the difference for some to gutting it out and making it work here or picking up and hauling ass to get as far away from this place as possible. Its been a rough five months--you'd be surprised what could be one's tipping point . . .

Oh, did I mention how bad cell phone coverage has been?


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