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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Would This Happen Anywhere Else?

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        Last week's storms are already this week's memory in Chicago.

 

        Water is receding in southwestern Wisconsin, and there's no doubt that by this time next year, one will be hard-pressed to see evidence of the high water that enveloped five counties and swamped communities like Gays Mills and Soldiers Grove.

 

        Even towns completely wiped off the state map by twisters in recent years are back and thriving.

 

        Why, then, is New Orleans still a mess, two years after Katrina?

 

        A major U.S. city is decimated by a horrific hurricane, bad preparation and tragically slow relief efforts and it still is, by most accounts, a town  that's largely in ruins as the second anniversary of the event approaches.

 

       And, no one seems to care.    

 

       In fact, some get upset when the subject is even broached.     I remember NBC's Brian Williams almost apologizing for follow-up stories before they ran in the months after Katrina, to the point where he actually took time one night to explain WHY the coverage was so important.     He did so in the face of numerous viewer complaints, claiming NBC spent too much time on Katrina and saying that it was time to move on.

 

      Move on, indeed.

 

      MSNBC has an article today on it's website that tells of the good that followed Katrina, along with plenty of detail about the bad.    And, trust me, there's plenty of that, including dire predictions about what happens the next time a storm like Katrina comes along.    Amid all the new levees and water control systems is the continued erosion of the floodplain that surrounds the city, and with that, less protection.       Putting a city largely below sea-level wasn't a smart idea in the first place, but it's been done in other parts of the world with great success.      Why can't we?     Or, is it a question of do we even want to?

 

      I can't imagine this happening if it were Providence, Rhode Island that got hit...or Boston.     Can you imagine parts of New York City being left fallow after such a natural calamity?      You can almost see the prime-time fundraisers now, star-studded events meant to raise funds to restore one of America's great cities.

 

     Why doesn't New Orleans qualify?

 

     Too southern?

 

     Too inherently corrupt?

 

     Too...French?

 

     Too...black?

 

      Too...poor?

 

      As the second anniversary of Katrina approaches, please take a moment from your busy day of websurfing, YouTube gazing and computer solitaire to remember the absurd tragedy that played out for all the world to see two years ago.      Recall the shame you might've felt, seeing a U.S. city wallow and flounder like it was in some third world nation--a place where America would gladly and instantly send help.

 

      Then, think about why it isn't gladly and quickly going there now...two years after the fact.

      

 

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