My son, the world's youngest backseat driver, is bugging me about ten years too early on what will happen once he gets his driver's license...
"Will I be driving this car, Mom?"
"Yes, honey, if this (thirteen year old) car is still running."
"How will you get to work, Mom?"
"Well, I'll drop you off, then I'll go to work."
"No, Mom, I'll be driving this car. What will you do?"
(rolling my eyes skyward) "HELP. ME."
To invoke Christopher Hallowell's metaphor for each hurricane season here, the storm gun off the coast of West Africa is locked, loaded, and ready to fire upon the Gulf Coast when it is least convenient for us.
Really, the last thing we need is an opinion in a nationally known news outlet telling us how much of a shiny, happy, recession free Shangri-La we New Orleanians live in. How we've supposedly chased out anybody who might help us because we like the way things are. I can't think of a bigger load of bull than that assessment, especially when I think of the thankfully departed Setback Czar and his preference for self-promotion over true action. Hell, we shoulda looked further south for true inspiration and real change in this city's recovery.
We should also be looking a little closer to home and using a magnifying glass...right now, there's a guy down the street jackhammering into the pavement and wearing no goggles or earplugs to shield his eyes and ears for another day. Too many recovering folks here are in the same boat regarding their health: fewer physical facilities and less care for chronic problems, rising health care costs and insurance company runarounds, with "relentless stress" superimposed atop it all from trying to rebuild one's life nearly four years on - all are ensuring that too many people are doomed to little more than basic survival here.
I wouldn't wish that existence on anybody.
And I certainly would not glorify it for all the money in the world.
Did I mention how crazy I'm getting from the heat? I'm damn near certifiable at this point. Don't mess with me.
Update, 3:27 PM: A response to the NYT opinion piece:
Last time I checked, most people in the region are neither Mardi Gras Indians, nor musicians. Somehow between the second lines, my neighbors and I also do things that people in other parts of the country do, things like work, worry about expensive or non-existent health care, pay bills and try to find good public education for our children.
The biggest problem of the story, however, is its reinforcement of the false notion that New Orleans is somehow immune from the recession. While I agree with his pronunciation that “the gyrations of the Dow, the collapse of General Motors, the prospect of regulating credit default swaps -even the collapse of the housing markets – mean little to most New Orleanians,” I would argue that people here feel the repercussions of these things in the form of empty storefronts, stalled development and tightfisted banks.