minutia press.
New New Orleans?

I've been intrigued lately by the possibilities posed by President Clinton concerning how New Orleans could be rebuilt. I have to admit that following Katrina, I had wondered what sane human would rebuild a city in that spot when it is so vulnerable to destruction.

So we're not always rational, but let's suppose we do want to rebuild New Orleans. What I've been hearing and am starting to believe is the extent to which New Orleans was a racially troubled city with more than any reasonable share of poverty.

While we don't live in biblical times, and I don't believe G-d has any personal interest in the preservation or destruction of New Orleans, Katrina has enabled the city to think about how it could reinvent itself. Kids' access to quality education could be improved. Better planning could be put into place so that those without cars could still have access to transportation and jobs.

Thousands of years ago, a prophet might have noticed the iniquity and inequity of New Orleans pre-Katrina, and that prophet might have proclaimed and foretold what transpired if status quo was maintained. We're pretty much a non-prophet country now, but Katrina did offer us a chance to do something much better with New Orleans.

Clinton pointed out that the dispersion of the poor from New Orleans has in fact on average improved the poor's situation, because as they settle elsewhere they are finding better job opportunities and living conditions.