Maybe I am a bit cynical but.... Fitch posts an interesting discussion on ESPN and the way they treat certain local teams, and I admire the post. Good stuff, really. But this LSU/ESPN-related posting generated 61 comments in 48 hours? I was amazed at the interest in a sports-related post, and the lack of comments generated by recent New Orleans recovery-related posts. By the way folks, this is what our politicians and government agencies are hoping for, a distraction that takes the pressure off of their efforts, or realistically their lack of efforts, to acheive any real recovery for metro New Orleans. Here are some items that deserve some discussion:
1. All New Orleans institutions of higher education posted substantially reduced enrollment this Fall. Some institutions, such as UNO, had dramatic decreases in enrollment. By the way, higher education and the college graduates are a key component of the economic, social and political future of New Orleans. If young, intelligent, motivated individuals are not returning to schools in the area, that will be a major long-term problem. Don't even get me started on the status of the LSU dental and medical programs!
2. I am flying back from Texas (sigh) and open the Houston Chronicle to read a story about Mayor Nagin's plan for rebuilding New Orleans. The plan is to not have a plan. He is hoping that individuals will come back and reinvest across all neighborhoods, overcoming all obstacles such as the banking and insurance industries and magically make New Orleans whole again. Who needs a plan? Plans are for losers.
Realistically, some people will come back, reinvest, rebuild and under Nagin's No Plan-Plan, be an island in their own neighborhood. No neighbors, limited infrastructure support, limited city support, and very alone. Sooner or later, utility companies will be forced economically to quit providing service to island homes in mostly abandoned neighborhoods. How is this planning? Comments anyone?
3. I am ashamed at myself for not doing a better job of cleaning up my own property and re-landscaping, etc. since Katrina. This is an admission of guilt. I continue to be amazed at how fast weeds and litter can take over fully inhabited properties since Katrina (all of my grass and shrubs died - now the invasives own the lawn!). Abandoned properties are really looking bad, and this is just the beginning. Wait until a few years go by. So, I am going to do better at taking care of the aesthetics of my property and I hope others will also commit to this. But the real problem will be what happens to all of the abandoned homes. What is the plan to take care of the litter and invasive vegetation taking over these lots and residences?
4. The insurance industry has not only substantially raised rates for homeowners and started to threaten cancellation of insurance in some areas, but they have also raised the rates of insurance on some industries in New Orleans so high that those businesses are not returning. The burgeoning film industry is an excellent example. I have been talking to some folks in the film industry and have discovered that since Katrina, insurance companies have made it so expensive to work in New Orleans during hurricane season that the tax breaks are not enough of an incentive to be here this time of year. Many scheduled productions have moved to other out-of-state locations, not because of the damage caused by Katrina, but because of the cost of insurance to do business in south Louisiana after Katrina. Another economic hit on a locally growing industry.
I am sure there are many other issues I missed that deserve discussion. Please let me know what other important issues related to recovery (or lack of recovery) I am missing out on. And Geaux Tigers!
TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Hollywood South, UNO, We Are Not Ok