Saturday, September 03, 2005

forward to normal

There's a lot of nattering in the media over how long it will take to get New Orleans "back to normal."

That's an easy one.

New Orleans will NEVER be "back to normal."

At some point in the indeterminate future, there will be a living New Orleans again. It will not be the same city. They aren't going to rebuild all of the poor black neighborhoods and bring all of their displaced residents back. They aren't going to rebuild all of the small businesses that were destroyed. There will be a NEW New Orleans and it will be flashier, more corporate, and superficial.

But, thousands and thousands of people will be gone elsewhere, forever. Many of them will never fully regain their precarious toehold on existence and there will be no help forthcoming for them the way that there will be for the large companies and the wealthiest individuals. The safety net in this country only seems to catch the really big fish and lets the little ones strain right through un-noticed.

New Orleans will never be "back to normal" because New Orleans is going forward to normal.

But buried beneath the fragrances of Cajun cooking, cigar-redolent Dixieland bars and the warm and aromatic musk of the lowlands of the Gulf of Mexico, there will always be a faint miasma of tragedy and opportunities wasted.

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