Two years after the devastating floods that followed Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of New Orleans, and much of the Gulf Coast, has largely taken two paths: communities that have rebuilt themselves using private funds, insurance money and sheer will — and publicly funded efforts that have moved much more slowly.

Federal, state and local governments have struggled to speed up the release of funds and restore infrastructure. None of the 115 “critical priority projects” identified by city officials has been completed.

Translation: depend on yourself, you’ll be fine, depend on government, you’re $%&*ed.

A really good USA Today article actually, highlighting what number of folks have accomplished on their own in recovering from Katrina.


4 thoughts on “Katrina

  1. At the end of the day it is really the older parts of New Orleans, which were built on the higher ground and were never destroyed, seem to be thriving—and many people have fled for the suburbs. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/opinion/28katrina.html

    Also an excellent article http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/magazine/26neworleans-t.html?pagewanted=all in the New York Times Sunday Magazine article about the wild world of catastrophic insurance, Michael Lewis goes long way toward explaining what is going wrong:

    “Louisiana cannot generate and preserve wealth without insurance, and it cannot obtain insurance except at the market price. But that price remains a mystery. Billions of dollars in insurance settlements — received by local businesses and homeowners as payouts on their pre-Katrina policies — bloat New Orleans banks and brokerage houses. The money isn’t moving because the people are paralyzed. It’s as if they have been forced to shoot craps without knowing the odds. Businesses are finding it harder than ever to buy insurance, and homeowners are getting letters from Allstate, State Farm and the others telling them that their long relationship must now come to an end. “I’ve been in the business 45 years,” says a New Orleans insurance broker named Happy Crusel, “and I’ve never seen anything remotely like this.” An entire city is now being reshaped by an invisible force: the price of catastrophic risk. But it’s the wrong price.:

    Something to ponder…

  2. Oh man, that op-ed piece made me cringe. Very misguided. It’s all the government’s fault. The government must come to the rescue. Bah. I’ll agree that, as I posted, relying on government is usually a mistake.

    “We’re talking about poorly maintained public infrastructure.” – The levees, they’ve been around for years, maintained by the federal government. La. should have privatized that long ago, and should today. (But of course they won’t, and red tape and cost cutting will cause them to fail again in the future.)

    “Minneapolis bridge collapse” – Off topic but from what I’ve read, this was most likely the result of a flaw in its design, not poor government maintenance.

    “communities with poor access to health care” – Is healthcare a right or privilege? You and I would no doubt disagree on the answer.

    “decent schools” – I’d say privatize it, and they’ll get better. I think the trend in this country is to move toward private schools. I think that’s a good thing. We should change up our system, go with vouchers, let people choose where they send their kids to school.

    “jobs that pay a living wage” – What the huge hike in the minimum wage isn’t good enough for this guy? 🙂

    “lack of public leaders who have the ability to lead” – Well no surprise there. Blanco, Brown, the La legislature, and that stupid N.O. mayor, all loosers. Mississippi though has had very strong local leadership and is recovering much faster. You’re welcome to criticize Bush on Brown, I’ll be right behind you. But by in large, LA’s problems are the result of the people in that state electing bad leadership. That’s not the federal government’s problem. IMHO, that guy from the op-ed piece needs to realize this.

    “Insurance rates in the area have spiraled out of control” – IMHO, this is a really _good_ thing. It will prevent people from relocating there who can’t afford to maintain good insurance. On the insurance companies ripping people off, they are definitely trying to get out of paying premiums in cases where owners didn’t have flood insurance. That should be, and is being dealt through the courts through class action suits. But what is the Federal Government supposed to do? I guess they could regulate, but 9 times out of 10, that just pushed costs higher.

    In general, I think we just disagree on whether or not government is capable of having a positive impact overall. I think they screw things up more often than not. I like local over federal too, the smaller the governmental organization is, the more effective it can be. (And I believe our Founding Forefathers would agree.)

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