I really am not in much of a mood to write about the Katrina “anniversary .” On one hand, there are so many words being written this week, what can I add? On the other hand, the national media is so freaking clueless it would take 3 days for me to make a post clearing up the misconceptions about the city in the last 2 years. And frankly, few readers care that much to read that much.
Suffice it to say the city is a freaking mess, the local government is worthless, the state government is worthless and the Feds are worthless as well.
The Feds claim they sent us 42 billion dollars (or some such crazy number) and the state retorts that yes, they did allocate the money but to claim some of it required (no joke) over a half a million pieces of paper for a single grant. Supposedly the state has claimed only a few million. – I have news for partisans on both sides. You’re all idiots, there are no winners in this battle, the whole thing if FUBAR. Both parties at all levels.
If your city is destroyed and you look to government for even the most basic of things government should provide… well, let’s just say you’ll be disillusioned. The government has -simultaneously- pissed billions of dollars down the drain AND not sent enough help to get anything of real note accomplished. (only government could do both of those at once) I could write a book to explain the hows and the whys of how that happened but for now I’ll give you one example:
Let’s say you owned a $200,000 home before the government flooded it. And let’s say it would take you $50,000 to get it fixed. The Feds of course won’t write you a check for 50 grand BUT they will buy you a $75,000 FEMA trailer for you to live in until you get your life together. And BTW after the FEMA trailers are turned in, FEMA is selling these $75,000 trailers for $600, so they are a total loss. (And for you bargain hunters, at that price you still don’t want them. Mail me for details.)
I now understand what people in Florida where saying right after the storm: FEMA should have given people a choice, a $75,000 trailer or $50,000 toward home repairs. They could have saved 33% and the city would be booming now.
But (some of you say) people needed temporary housing so the feds needed to provide it right? Not really. It took most people 4-6 months (or longer) to get a FEMA trailer anyway. In that time with $50,000 in their pocket, they could have gotten the house fixed. The concept of “emergency housing” was lost on the people who didn’t get their trailers for over a year after the storm.
Of course idiots all across the country would have whined like stuck pigs if the Feds came in and stared handing out checks. As a fiscal conservative, I tell you it would have been the best policy. By a mile.
That’s just one example of the thousands of how even when it seems some agency is trying to do something right, it usually ends up getting screwed up by the time it is all over.
(channeling Arlo Guthrie…) But that’s not what I’m here to write about…
As I said before my example, I really don’t have much to say about it so I’m going to re-run (above) the most important piece I ever wrote about the Great Flood of New Orleans and why Katrina didn’t flood the city. Long time readers saw it about this time last year. I hope even if you’re reading it for the second time, you think it was worth it.