At the same time, however, he has given us a framework on which to keep building our case against our local government - a government that Cerasoli himself has compared to that of a developing country such as Sierra Leone - and to eventually bring it to light, rotting extremities and all. We cannot leave that foundation to decay. That is not an option.
That wall of the entity that is "the city of New Orleans" will most likely deserve its own museum at some point in the future:
As Cerasoli started luring a pedigreed, experienced staff, he also started trying to understand the machinery of New Orleans municipal government.
He found few answers, and an ever-growing list of questions. Just figuring out who runs what has proved an immense challenge, with a government splintered into scores of agencies, commissions and quasi-governmental nonprofit groups, some with separate dedicated tax-revenue streams, their own auditors and scant scrutiny.
So far, Cerasoli has put together a list of 140 such city entities, including such curiosities as the Delgado-Albania Plantation Commission. His inspectors found records of a New Orleans Planetarium Commission, created in 1986, but couldn't confirm whether it still exists, or ever did.
"One main goal has just been to simply identify the entity that is the city of New Orleans, " Cerasoli said. "Nobody can give you an organizational chart."
So Cerasoli and his team have started one on a wall inside their office in the Federal Reserve building, a project he said might take years to accurately complete. Cerasoli cannot say whether the "vastly decentralized" structure, unlike any city Cerasoli has ever come across, leads to any specific wrongdoing or failures. But he said it surely makes it tough to track government and thus provides countless opportunities for chicanery.
"I call it the shadow government, " Cerasoli said.
Really, folks, we have to keep doing what we're doing. We cannot take this pressure off the people and the agencies that are supposed to help us, not hurt us. Keep voicing that support for the office Cerasoli worked so hard to get started. Don't let the city tie up its funding. Make sure that this man's replacement keeps up the good, hard work.
And it might be exaggeration on my part, but I think this man gave us a taste of what contact with a true "lamed-vavnik" is like.