How much more time is needed?
President Bush cautioned against placing too much importance on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's Gulf Coast strike, saying a long, sustained rebuilding effort is still needed.
"It's a time to remember that people suffered and it's a time to recommit ourselves to helping them," Bush said Wednesday. "But I also want people to remember that a one-year anniversary is just that, because it's going to require a long time to help these people rebuild."
Yeah, people suffered and people are still suffering.
"Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" –House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005Federal emergency officials claim the New Orleans levee system is storm-ready, despite the less-optimistic views of other political leaders and engineers.
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." –President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, while touring hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005
"I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving." –Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sept. 6, 2005
"I think we're in good shape," Don Powell, the Bush administration's coordinator of Gulf Coast rebuilding, said Sunday. "There's no question in my mind, we're ready."
The head of the Army Corps of Engineers is not so sure.
Here's a good read from the Boston Globe called "A Year of Tears in Louisiana."
President Bush spoke from the city's Jackson Square and promised that ``we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities."
A year after Katrina, the storm's victims have yet to see Bush's promise fully realized. For a variety of reasons, federal aid has been slow to reach people who have huge mortgages on useless homes. The Corps of Engineers has yet to take responsibility for its role in the disaster and has missed its own deadlines for shoring up the city's damaged flood-protection system. Meanwhile, the city's recovery grinds along, and half the city's population has yet to return -- and may never.
New Orleans is like a 2nd hometown to me. Although I grew up about a 5-hour drive from there, my parents would haul me down there at least once a year for as long as I can remember... and before.
I fondly recall many meals at Brennan's, Commander's Palace, Tujaques, Felix's, and of course, beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde and the Morning Call when it was still located in the French Quarter before moving to suburban Metairie in the 1970s.
As a child I had chocolate milk instead of coffee. I still vividly recall how the milk would be served in the single-serving carton with a straw. I remember the tin shakers of powdered sugar and the sound of them when tapped against the marble countertops.
I also remember the stench of Bourbon Street at the age of 7 when I passed a topless-bar and briefly caught a glimpse of a woman's breasts.
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? I sure as hell do and I want the city brought back to life.
It's time for some heads to roll.. starting at the top.