July 4, 2008

Cutting Through the Katrina Krapola

New Orleans: The good old days

"You've got a mouth full of gimme, a hand full of much obliged." -- Bessie Smith, Gulf Coast Blues

[Written in January. According to Cassy Fiano in "New Orleans: Saints Needed" New Orleans has only gotten worse:

New Orleans was quite possibly one of the most uncomfortable and scary places I have ever visited in my entire life. It was like a haven for thugs, drug dealers, gangsters, rapists, and criminals. Does that mean that everyone there is a rapist or a criminal? Of course not, but it was awfully hard to distinguish who was just trying to act like a thug and who was the real thing.
As always, crapola rises.]

I don't know about you but I have had it with the legions of hustlers, grifters, drunks, junkies, pathics and drooling layabouts that keep waddling and teetering up to the public trough from that swamp of puke called New Orleans. The latest of an endless line of calls upon the kindness of strangers by these public-purse pimps is this little bit of chicanery: Katrina victim sues U.S. for $3 quadrillion

Hurricane Katrina's victims have put a price tag on their suffering and it is staggering -- including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion.

The total number -- $3,014,170,389,176,410 -- is the dollar figure so far sought from some 489,000 claims filed against the federal government over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

This chunk of legalized slunk trading may or may not include the Washington con job currently being floated in Swampy Bottom -- "Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number." But it hardly matters.

I've considered the matter of New Orleans carefully.

I've weighed the never-ending, and now maudlin, saccharine suffering of its people against my now limitless cache of compassion fatigue. They have been found wanting.

To be fair and just, here's what I propose we give New Orleans from this day forward. Nothing. Niente. Zip. Zero. Nada. And a full-scale barium enema just for asking for one more thin dime. Did you send money to this barrage of bozos? I did and I want it back. With interest.

The city and its long line of corrupt citizens and politicians have already managed to hoover $127 billion out of the federal government and that, as they say, should be enough for any cluster of crooks. On a per person basis that comes to $425,000 for each of the 300,000 fools still living in that pulsating pustule on the bayou.

Keeping that figure in mind, my policy is that the New Orleaners among us are paid up and paid in full as of today. Boys, girls, bozos, bad jazz musicians, and underemployed drag queens all, take heed. It is over. Take your toothless gums off the public tit. It is time for you all, like some overfed prolapsed Sumos who have double-dipped at the Hometown Buffet dessert table once too often, to belch, break wind, and move on.

Let's get cold-blooded about New Orleans. We've been far too nice to it for far too long. Nature, in the final analysis, may have been trying to do us a favor by flooding it. New Orleans is well past its sell-by date. The harsh truth is that New Orleans is more expendable than any other city of its size in the country.

As a city that is part and parcel of America New Orleans does exactly nothing to better the country and a lot to make it a crappier nation all around. I mean, just what is the big deal about this humid, festering, below-sea-level, rotting and clapped-out town with more STDs per capita than any other burg its size? Anne Rice? Vampire novels? A literary tradition that launched many millions of bad goth tattoos? A few blocks of mouldering and rusting antebellum architecture that oozes the tattered ghosts slavery and child prostitution? A cuisine composed of liquid pork fat, overweight oysters, and second-string animal parts so vile they have to be soaked in wine and then crusted with chile peppers and charred to a blackened husk? Don't even get me going on taking bad coffee and making it worse by dumping some chicory in it. Sludge has more savor.

Plus when you die of the clap, the booze, the food and the coffee, you can get a colorful marching band of off-key musicians to haul your body into an above ground concrete box so you can come sloshing back out with all the rest of the rotting dead the next time the water rises. The quaintness of it all just exceeds the mind's capacity to boggle.

All of those and more, yes. But the single thing that seems to be valued in New Orleans above all else is the ability to have a large schooner of raw alcohol poured into a plastic cup so that you can.... wait for it... walk outside the bar and onto the sidewalk... and never have to stop drinking. Wow! That's a quality feeling.

It gets better. When you are out "in the Quarter" (Quaint phrase, that.) on a "normal" night, you can walk around and drink with thousands of other drunks reeling and whooping and practicing their projectile vomiting skills on each other. During Mardi Gras you can do this in an absurd and ever-more obscene costume with hundreds of thousands of others as absurd and obscene as you. Man that's living. That's entertainment!

We've already poured billions over this raw festering sore of a city. The infection is still there and it gets more virulent by the day. And now we find that the denizens of this sewer want us to actually pay billions and trillions more to keep this chancrous old collection of corruption afloat? I don't think so. But con-artists don't stop conning until you stop them.

My suggestion to the Army Corps of Engineers is simple. The next time any of the poor sots of New Orleans come staggering up to the Federal Courts shaking the begging cup, blow all the levees and let the city drown its sorrows in the Mississippi.

Posted by Vanderleun at July 4, 2008 11:21 PM | TrackBack
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

What is WRONG with us! What you're saying now is lucid, contained and true. Meanwhile the money will continue to flow. There aren't enough politicians freezers to hold it all. Makes the bridge to nowhere seem like a sharp eyed bargain!

Posted by: Dennis at January 11, 2008 7:29 PM

Mr. Vanderleun,

As a lifelong and current resident of New Orleans, I appreciate your having taken the time to express your views about my city, although, frankly, your description of my mother's tomb could be considered intemperate.

I do, moreover, hate to think of you being out of pocket any funds on my behalf. If you will inform me, at the email address given, of the amount you contributed and the date of the contribution I will consider refunding it to you with, let's say, 10% per annum interest.

My very best wishes to you. I've enjoyed your blog on many occasions.

Posted by: Matt at January 11, 2008 7:35 PM

I wonder if this guy ever escaped the slave ship, and collected his $20,000?

Posted by: TerryH at January 11, 2008 8:50 PM

Simpsons did it!

Sorry, couldn't resist the South Park quote.

You have to admit: Matt Groening & Co. called it years ago.

New Orleeeans...
Home of pirates, drunks, and whores!
New Orleeeans...
Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
If you want to go to Hell, you should make that trip
to the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississipp'!

New Orleeeans...
Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile!
New Orleaaans...
Putrid, brackish, maggoty, foul!
New Orleeeans...
Crummy, lousy, rancid, and rank!

Posted by: Donna at January 11, 2008 9:25 PM

This piece is as good as it gets. As funny/horrifying as it gets. As hitting the nail on the head as it gets.

....only two words I might have tried to weave in an already perfect panoply of drunken, vociferous vocabularic descriptive procession: dildo and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Other than that, it needs to be sent to the Corps of Engineers Supreme PoohBah, the U.S. Congress, the Supreme Court and every Federal Court in the land as a second opinion.

Posted by: Webutante at January 12, 2008 5:36 AM

Wouldn't it be worth it in the end if we could somehow turn this Democrat-controlled city into an ally in the war on terror?

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at January 12, 2008 6:21 AM

Sounds like a plan to me!

Posted by: Bob at January 12, 2008 7:34 AM

Maybe it's time for a new t-shirt:

"Nuke Nawlens"

with the Super Dome and a mushroom cloud.

Posted by: tkdkerry at January 12, 2008 8:13 AM

Why waste good barium? Use sewage.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at January 12, 2008 9:28 AM

Posts like this are why you are the great god of the blogosphere!

Posted by: Fausta at January 12, 2008 12:41 PM

After looking at that picture I asked myself, how about putting houses up on stilts and selling boats? Water buses for those who use public transportation.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at January 12, 2008 2:13 PM

While I have not enjoyed this blog on many occasions, as a "New Orleaner" who lost everything in the Federal Flood, I will join Matt in reimbursing you for your contribution to the city.

Nice Ike quote, btw.

Also, this statement is one of many in this post that is wildly and intentionally false:

"The city and its long line of corrupt citizens and politicians have already managed to hoover $127 billion out of the federal government".

Posted by: oyster at January 12, 2008 5:00 PM

No reimbursement from you or Matt required but thanks for the offer. I'd prefer to get the two grand back from one of your elected politicians who stole it and not make any more waves for the benighted individuals of the swamp.

What strikes me is the use of the term "Federal Flood".... something the Federal government gave New Orleans is it? I was under the impression that Mother Nature gave the flood to the city -- oh yes the woebegone Army Corps of Engineers was at fault, right? Right.

Well, it is always something and it is usually better if people can turn around and say, "The Feds" did it, or "George Bush did it." Much more satisfying to have something temporal and nonlocal to blame than the vast paw of nature that cares not one whit and never pays up.

As for the 127 billion, click the link and see the source.

And given the long and storied history of local and state politics in NO and LA you cannot possibly want anybody to believe that there's not a land office business in theft and graft and diversion of public money going on.

It would be so untraditional.

Posted by: vanderleun at January 12, 2008 5:10 PM

I've written along these lines a few times myself and been called every racist, hateful name in the book, equating me with satan himself for my lack of "compassion"...I'm so glad someone with more influence than I has said the same things!

It's time these lazy thugs got off their bottom heavy behinds and did for themselves instead of wanting everyone else to do for them...talk about a microcosm of the "nanny state" in action...

GREAT article!

Miss Beth

Posted by: Miss Beth at January 12, 2008 5:57 PM

anyone for newt in 08?

Posted by: newt09 at January 12, 2008 6:31 PM

Tertiary syphilis is a terrible condition to live with 'eh?

As far as a refund goes, I didn't get a dime from you creatures so nothing is going out from my purse to you. We have rebuilt without your "help".

And for the STD, hooker and drunkenness cracks: it ain't us locals that pollute our beloved French Quarter, it's you yuppie moneyed fools coming down here to "let it all hang out" (however short it is) and spread your diseased ways in our city. (and you puke on our sidewalks because ya's can't hold your liquor.)

And BTW, it was a Federal Flood, set in motion by the ACOE working their tools reading Penthouse instead of doing their jobs that the American taxpayer paid them to do. As an engineer, I do see the failures of the ACOE's "research", judgments and lack of proper oversight.

Your words make me regret giving ten years of my life in service so that people like you can still live in Freedom and spread your sick ways.

Keep ranting. Desire to drown our city. Blow the levees to get rid of us, and we will blow the Port, leaving you to $12/gallon gas, freezing homes and a soaring increase in food prices that will empty your bank accounts.

You see, the Social Contract was never meant to include people like you.

Posted by: GentillyGirl at January 12, 2008 6:32 PM

Sorry, oyster, but I think that's the wrong approach. We should leave this godforsaken and ungrateful country and take the port and our oil and gas with us. And then we can cheerfully refund then all. I want no part of a country that would have these people in it.

Posted by: Mark Folse at January 12, 2008 6:47 PM

Dear Gentilly Girl,

Funny you should bring syphilis up, being from New Orleans and all, since one of the facts I found when dunking around on the web concerning the "problems" of the city is that New Orleans seems to be the regional distribution center for the affliction.

Trends 2003 - STD

Among the 25 cities with the highest P&S rates (see accompanying table and map), 14 experienced increases between 2002 and 2003. Of those, several experienced significant increases in both their syphilis rates and rankings, including New Orleans (a 178.9 percent increase), which moved from number 41 to 22;

And since that time it would seem that the city has been working hard and according to one of your local news outlet is now Number 1 in the nation. La. No. 1 in nation for sexually transmitted disease | Local News News for New Orleans, Louisiana | wwltv.com -- "Louisiana has the country’s highest rate of syphilis, according to a report released by the state Department of Health and Hospitals."

So congratulations.

As for all those damned furriners who keep comin' down thar and spreading it around, well, try not to be so accomodating that they leave it behind.

"Beloved" French Quarter? Getting a little long in the tooth for such passionate love, isn't it? A coat of paint and rustoleum would do it a world of good.

Blow up the port? We're shaking in our boots. Get cracking. Well begun is half done. God knows you've got the pocket money for it.

Posted by: vanderleun at January 12, 2008 7:03 PM

Mr. V responds:

"As for the 127 billion, click the link and see the source."

I don't need Larry Kudlow to soberly summarize an inaccurate WH "fact sheet" for me. "New Orleaners" have been constantly bombarded with the Bush administration's linkage of a large B.S. Fed expenditure number (80, 110, 127 billion) to the specific and unique case of New Orleans' repair and recovery.

That number is for the entire gulf coast FL,MS,TX,AL and covers costs associated with clean up and recovery for hurricanes Rita, Wilma and others. They count flood insurance payments (for which we pay premiums) as a "cost".

About sixteen billion has gone towards long term recovery costs, yet Bushies, Cokie Kudlow and you seem to think it all went to New Orleans.

Katrina hit Mississippi. USACE's poorly anchored I-beam canal walls failed when they should've held, and most of New Orleans was drowned after the hurricane had passed. It was the worst engineering failure in USACE history-- a Federal Flood.

Do some homework. By the way, it's "New Orleanians", not "New Orleaners". And whatever weak coffee you do drink probably comes through our port (among many other commodities and materials). We've introduced the rest of the country to jazz, the cocktail, poker, and the modern civil rights movement (Plessy).

Posted by: oyster at January 12, 2008 8:53 PM

Well, considering all of the pollutants 2/3's of the country pour into the Mississippi and Her tributaries that flow our way and destroy our fisheries, I guess it's only fair that you outsiders come down to our city and leave a "deposit" just as toxic.

You "New" Americans are just a bundle of laughs.

Posted by: GentillyGirl at January 12, 2008 9:15 PM

Hell, I've always loved NOLA and once even considered moving there (yes, there was a woman involved; there usually is). But I gotta admit, Gerard: you hit it pretty squarely on the head.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2008 9:19 PM

Before you condemn New Orleans, you just might want to spend a few minutes doing some basic research on shipping. The stretch of river water that includes New Orleans is the busiest port complex in the USA, and one of the busiest in the world.

Something like ten percent of domestic oil production comes out of the Mississippi Delta and funnels through the New Orleans refineries. Something like one-third of all US oil imports come through the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port and feed into the New Orleans refineries. New Orleans brings in large percentages of the US's net consumption of raw steel, flour, rubber, sugar, and coffee, among other things. You may or may not have noticed that prices of many products jumped right after Katrina, even more than the spike in gas prices could account for. That was because the Port of New Orleans and all the processing plants in the region were shut down for something like two weeks.

The most economical way to ship bulk materials throughout the central US is by river: the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Guess what city sits at the mouth of the Mississippi and is the logical transshipment point for all of those materials?

The second-most-economical way to ship bulk materials anywhere in the country is by railroad. Guess what port city has the best railroad network in the country, with no fewer than six class-A railroads coming into the city?

New Orleans is indeed a rotten place to put a city. Don't think our ancestors didn't know it. The only reason they built a city there is because they needed a city in the Delta, and all the other possible sites are worse.

Posted by: wolfwalker at January 13, 2008 5:28 AM

It's heart warming to see that compassionate mercy is still alive and well. Something tells me that you are going to get what you have asked for.

Posted by: Marco at January 13, 2008 5:50 AM

Your post is simply vile, ignorant and un-American. When did the citizens of this country sink so low as to turn their backs on their own?

Posted by: doctorj at January 13, 2008 6:39 AM

As one of the over half million evacuated a few months ago in California, I can't help but compare the two disasters.

I had a few hours warning to leave, as compared to weeks of warning given to the citizens of NO. The difference was, I took it seriously and acted as if my life depended on it.

We also had a functioning state government, that spent less time in making excuses and more in taking care of it's citizens.

Posted by: Kim at January 13, 2008 10:13 AM

When did the citizens of this country sink so low as to turn their backs on their own?

Real Americans are not money grubbing leeches that are too useless to earn their own keep.

Having been to NO, I see nothing worth keeping.
Blow the levees and let the River wash the filth away.

Posted by: goobersnot at January 13, 2008 11:02 AM

The problem here isn't particularly stiff. It's just that, like the denizens of many American cities in our time, Orleanos feel entitled to whatever they ask for.

Yo, New Orleans and Environs: You are entitled to nothing. Nobody owes you, and your whiny demands for largesse only make the rest of us resist the harder. Washington has already bestowed a great deal of public money on you -- and not just for Katrina reconstruction, but over the decades you've chosen to occupy that fantastically dangerous locale. People from all over this country have dug deep into their wallets to send you sustenance in your time of need.

We are offended by your elected representatives' demands. We are even more offended by the lawsuits being filed against the federal government for damages, after all the generosity Americans, both through the federal government and as individuals, have shown you.

If you don't want to be treated as surly supplicants, whip your public officials into line. Teach them tact and moderation. Teach them to ask, humbly, for succor, rather than to demand it as a matter of right. You have no right to the wealth of others, and your claims to the contrary offend us badly.

Wise up. More, grow up!

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at January 13, 2008 1:09 PM

You, sir, simply do not know what you are talking about.

Your facts are dead wrong.

As Oyster indicates, the dollar amount you cite is simply a lie told by the Bush administration so many times that you actually seem to believe it.

My house in the heart of the city of New Orleans is ABOVE sea level, as is a good portion of the city.

My city has an inspector general (we citizens made sure this is in place now) who will be lowering the boom regularly on attempts at corruption.

Does your city have an inspector general? Does your country? Do your president and vice president have anyone checking on Halliburton?

My state implemented a painfully slow housing recovery plan. Do you know why it was painfully slow? Because we bent over backwards (encouraged by genuises like Donald Powell) to ensure that there was no fraud and corruption. We've succeeded at that, but now our recovery has been slowed down by months and perhaps years.

Moreover, it was indeed a federal flood. Hurricane Katrina blew a portion of my roof off. Luckily, my house was spared from the flood that resulted from levee FAILURE (not overtopping). The levees failed, fell apart, in conditions that should not have caused failure. The levees were built and maintained by the federal government. Insurance companies (presumably headquartered in cities more to your liking) and citizens planned around a promise of sound levees.

If the levees are planned to be unsound, fine. Tell us that, and we will plan accordingly. But tell us. We New Orleanians (that's what we're called, you misinformed goof) and we Americans are owed nothing more than the truth.

You should come here and see what is going on. This is where the real American success story of the early 21st century is going on. I see it every day. Entrepreneurism, grassroots neighborhood activism, political reform, cultural preservation, cultural creation and re-creation, educational reform, healthcare innovation--New Orleans is where the real American renaissance is beginning.

I regret that you seem to want to miss it.

Finally, your comments on STDs are just gross. Your comments imply that you live a lifestyle that leaves one vulnerable to STDs. By all means, please be careful.

Posted by: Mr. Clio at January 13, 2008 2:07 PM

Amazing. I don't know what is more astonishing: the fact that your version of terrorism calls for the destruction of an American city, or that you're hiding behind a veil of Chrisianity to do it.

Posted by: ashley at January 13, 2008 2:29 PM

I find it amusing that in the course of your post "How Beautiful We Were" (Dec. 24), you mention that "We invented Jazz." (Your list, by the way, is intriguingly jingoed and inaccurate, but we'll let it slide. I am making a point-- as, no doubt, were you.)

You know where jazz was invented, right? That is, you know where the music came from-- where and how it developed? You know a little about how it came about? You know a little about where it remains a vital and ongoing part of the culture-- where it still provides a rhythm to everyday life, rather than being sealed within conservatory walls, or reduced to the status of honored, but bloodless, chamber music?

I'm just asking, because you seem awfully disdainful of the people who made (and continue making) this music. Is New Orleans America? Are these hustlers, grifters and drunks (without whom, by the way, Gen. Jackson never would have defeated the British...) worthy of inclusion as your fellow Americans?

If not, please stop taking credit for their accomplishments.

As a New Orleanian, I am proud to say that WE invented jazz, and if you consider us your brothers, then we're happy to share that achievement with you, as fellow Americans. We have shared unselfishly all of the good things we've invented. If you're not a fan, that's OK; the rest of the world seems to value our contributions as some of the best that the United States has produced.

As an American, you can claim these contributions too, but first you have to decide if you really want to acknowledge our value. If you want to claim the beauty in this place, you have to accept the soil that enables it to flower.

Your call.

Posted by: R. Eustis at January 13, 2008 4:24 PM

For just a moment might I change the subject away from STDs and projectile depravity?

No matter what the state of economic growth or rebuilding, there are certain geological facts-of-life that New Orleans---and American taxpayers---ignore at their/our great peril: much of the city is at or below sea level. Some elevations reach the towering heights of 16.' The levees are now designed to withstand a 100 year flood. Not a 200, 500, 1,000 year flood. In addition, the wetlands and natural levees that buffer the city are eroded and greatly diminished due to development. This means that NO lives on a very thin margin of safety, always.

So yes you may can rebuild in a dazzling way, but there's no assurance that it won't all happen again---next year, next decade, who knows when? But building a house on the sand is a risk that the buyer needs to be aware of. The Federal government---us taxpayers---has and will indeed repair and rebuild the levees at great, great cost. But it's ridiculous to think the government must be blamed when there's another 105 year flood or hurricane and oops, there goes the neighborhood again.

In addition, the USGS estimates that the city is sinking into the alluvial sands.

As the city rebuilds, then let it be aware of the potential for another, and ever worse disaster that may come. Man can never be assured safety in the face of acts of God.

And frankly as a taxpayer, I say, if you choose to rebuild your house, your city, your neighborhood on the sand at ground elevation 2', then YOU be prepared to accept responsibility and the full consequences for your choices and stop suing the rest of the world for your risky geographical behavior.

Insurance rates there should be sky high for obvious reasons.

Posted by: Webutante at January 13, 2008 5:01 PM

New Orleans is still crying for government help, despite thinking the government screwed them.

What is wrong with this picture?

Posted by: Kim at January 13, 2008 5:32 PM

A musical intervention is called for here. Not that it has any relevance to the argument anyway, but only very early jazz forms such as ragtime, boogie-woogie, and Dixieland came out of New Orleans, but none of the important artistic developments after the 1920s. All subsequent forms of jazz developed elsewhere (and only could have developed elsewhere), including swing, bop, cool, hard bop, west coast, third stream, modal, post-bop, avant-garde, fusion, latin jazz, and others. It seems pathetic to claim credit for artistic developments that long ago surpassed their distant origins.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at January 13, 2008 6:39 PM

OK, all you New Orleans pork-defenders...riddle me this: What do you propose we do about the Atchafalaya? I don't care how much we may like your jazz, your gumbo and your beignets, y'all gonna drown one day, and there isn't anything any of us can do about it. Katrina was a message: Move the city now.

I love N.O. as much as the next guy (and wrote about it here), and frankly one of the attractions has always been that it is/was corrupt. New Orleans and Louisiana are like our own little Third World. We can visit and disregard all the rules that we live by in the Real America and maybe we'll go home with a story of how we'd survived.

That said, anyone with any sense would be headed to high ground.

Posted by:
azlibertarian at January 13, 2008 6:55 PM

Vanderloon, you ignorant twit. Why not quote the whole song when opening your fly.
Bessie Smith died in Memphis because she was denied care on the steps of a 'whites only' hospital.
Here is another lyric of Bessie's:
"There ain't nothing I can do, or nothing I can say
That folks don't criticize me
But I'm goin' to, do just as I want to anyway
And don't care if they all despise me

If I should take a notion
To jump into the ocean
'T ain't nobody's bizness if I do, do, do do"

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder at January 13, 2008 7:19 PM

This is my second attempt at this point, and if my first try somehow returns from the ether of the blogosphere, I hope you'll forgive me...

I like New Orleans as much as the next guy. I appreciate all the shipping that goes through N.O. I've listened to your jazz, eaten your gumbo and confess to having consumed more than my fair share of your Hurricanes and beignets. Been to Mardi Gras twice and visited many other times on business (I'm an airline pilot).

Heck, I don't even mind your corruption all that much. (And please: Don't even try to say that N.O. and LA aren't corrupt.)

But for all you New Orleanians who staunchly defend rebuilding the place, I've got a question: What're y'all gonna to do about the Atchafalaya?

The short story is: New Orleans is going to flood again. It's only a question of when and how deep. Katrina was a message: Rebuild the city on high ground now.

Posted by:
azlibertarian at January 13, 2008 7:25 PM

"What can be said can be said clearly. All the rest we must pass over in silence."~Ludwig Wittgenstein

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder at January 13, 2008 7:25 PM

The lawsuit was a hoax.

I continue to support NO via my outreach work and donations.

I urge my fellow Americans to Never Forget.

God Bless NO, God Bless USA

Posted by: samir at January 13, 2008 8:32 PM

Let us take this opportunity to note that there were eleven members of the House of Representatives who voted against the original $60B appropriation:

* Joe Barton R,TX
* Jeff Flake R,AZ
* Virginia Foxx R,NC
* Scott Garrett R,NJ
* John Hostettler R,IN
* Steve King R,IA
* C.L. "Butch" Otter R,ID
* Ron Paul R,TX
* James Sensenbrenner, Jr. R,WI
* Thomas Tancredo R,CO
* Lynn Westmoreland R,GA

There aren't many people with truly principled intention to save the taxpayers some money in the U.S. Congress, but there are some, and these folks certainly deserve some praise.

Posted by: Paul H at January 13, 2008 10:26 PM


I am well versed in the geology of the Mississippi River. Hell, I watched the building of the Old River Project, and I watched the floods of the early 70's that almost took the control structure down. (Yes, I do know John McPhee well... did several book signings for his opus "Annals of a Former World". He lived in Tom's River around the corner from my dad's place.)

Letting the River move to it's new bed is what should be done, but the Corporate infrastructure doesn't want that kind of change. My hope is that we can still use the River to restore the wetlands before the River changes course. That will buy New Orleans about 150 years, and maybe by the end of that time we can move the place.

BTW- when the River shifts, none of us knows exactly what course She will take through the Atchafalaya Basin. That scares Corporate interests. They can't plan things, and it takes years to build new infrastructure. (I'm a Nuclear Engineer... I know things.)

Please understand my attachment to this place: my ancestors founded this city. Later, when the family became "Creole", most of my folks were Free People of Color. There is History and Honor here.

For all of the spume about the evils French Quarter and all, most of us live in nice little neighborhoods. We aren't involved in crime... we cheer on the kids as they play baseball at the park. We babysit for each other. We enjoy doing potlatches that combine many different families at once. We are part of a community.

I have been half-way around the World twice, living in places like Bankock, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. My homes in this country include Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, Idaho, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Houston and Indiana. Nothing in any of these places approaches the Humanity and Reality of the Human condition like living in my home here in New Orleans.

Here is home, and the thought that people would like to see us destroyed jars my very soul. The world of the real people here is little gardens, talking with your neighbors... making food. It's about helping the elderly lady down the street in putting up a new porch lamp. Teaching a boy to read.

This is the real world that some want to see drowned and forgotten.

A world that some wish to destroy whilst I'm spending $20 buying children (not mine) ice cream cones or sno-cones. A world that can see me actually playing some B-Ball with the locals on the street corner in the afternoon.

It's a place where Humans live, laugh, cry and hope. This is a place where you can LIVE.

I thank the Goddess each and every day for being able to live in the same place as my ancestors. Though I don't visit their tombs, I know they are around. To feel them... to hear their voices, and to do exactly what they would do considering the circumstances. I'm okay with that.

Yes we all here need to rebuild with the possibility of the ACOE once again failing at their jobs. Our home isn't in a Flood plain, but she now sits 9 foot high, and she can take 350 mph winds. The place is totally Green. And yes, we are prepared for the worst, but it will not come in what I have left as far as lifespan is concerned.

My Betty and I will have our home, in the best city in the World, and we will enjoy being Human. The rest of you can continue to live in Hell.

And when the End comes, we ain't going to be in your chorus of screaming voices: we are New Orleanians, and Life was good.

So Be It.

Posted by: GentillyGirl at January 13, 2008 10:32 PM

Seems we are on the same wavelength. Must be winter.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at January 14, 2008 4:58 AM

I was ok with helping NO until you reelected your inept mayor. After that, I made sure my money went to other parts of the Gulf Coast. It's your city and you can elect who you want but don't expect others to understand and support those decisions. If you won't help yourself, why should we?

Posted by: RickM at January 14, 2008 5:33 AM

Glad to see the Burroughs reference in the Wiki.

Then I met a great guy, Placenta Juan the Afterbirth Tycoon. Made his in slunks during the war. (Slunks are underage calves trailing afterbirths and bacteria, generally in an unsanitary and unfit condition.) — William Burrough, Naked Lunch

One of my favorites. Dr. Benway was a natural. And how about A.J. and his baboons.

Posted by: M. Simon at January 14, 2008 5:54 AM

I note some one mentioned shipping.

If more of NO was under water the area could accommodate more shipping. I see that as a win-win.

Posted by: M. Simon at January 14, 2008 6:03 AM

I read this--

"As one of the over half million evacuated a few months ago in California, I can't help but compare the two disasters."

And found myself moved to comment.

I, too, compared the disasters.

A few months ago, a large number of Californians had to be evacuated--and they did so quickly. Their homes were in the path of a fiery conflagration.

Just like the year before. And the year before. And the year before.

And then there were those who lost their homes to the annual mudslides.

The earthquakes.

Billions upon billions of dollars are spent repairing California after each of its annual disasters.

Often the homes are rebuilt in the same places where they were endangered before.

And our tax dollars quietly go to fund this.

Where are the complaints? The outrage?

Down in that pustulent sinkhole on the Mississippi, people who are STILL waiting for their flood insurance, people living in FEMA trailers, managed to get together some money and other goods to donate to those people out in California whose lives were interrupted in one of the annual series of disasters.

But you go on ahead and blast them.

Know why those Califorians are so good at evacuating? 'Cos they've got to do it so damned often.

Posted by: jack at January 14, 2008 6:26 AM

Formeryat: n. one that left New Orleans for many reasons.

Those that are from the Crescent City that defend the city by speaking of how improtant the port, gas and oil, and whatever else are smoke-screening. The problems of New Orleans were in place long before global warming targeted the poor and George Bush blew-up the levees.

New Orleans was and is a cesspool. All of the money the Feds or generous poeple can collect and send will only perpetuate the problems. The city has an attitude of, "Give us the money and leave us alone... we've got it from here." Then they need more because you didn't send enough.

The 3 quadrillion wanted by those seeking restitution is quintessential New Orleans. The Jerry Springer Show of U.S. cities will never change... except to get worse.

Posted by: Formeryat at January 14, 2008 6:32 AM

What's the matter? Did ya get the baby in the King Cake, or what?!

Posted by: Vicky at January 14, 2008 7:53 AM

"...the possibility of the ACOE once again failing at their jobs...."

Pardon me, but this seems to me to be the root of the problem...blaming government for not protecting something which I believe cannot be protected.

God is telling us that the river will move. The ACOE, answering to the corporate interests and those who love N.O., is trying to prevent that. It is a futile effort.

I'm convinced that when they dig up our civilization 10,000 years from now, someone will look at what has been done to keep the Mississippi flowing through New Orleans, and will ask: "WTF were they thinking?"

Posted by: azlibertarian at January 14, 2008 7:58 AM

For those blaming the Corps of Engineers, the fault was by no means all theirs. An enlightening paragraph:

"Why didn’t the Corps design a consistent, redundant system? In large part, the reason was foot dragging—or worse—by pols on the state, local, and federal levels. In some cases, political opposition prevented the Corps from seizing land to build sturdier foundations. Plus, Louisiana’s local levee boards were lousy stewards. Levee officials were political animals, not engineering experts, and sometimes proved more interested in running ancillary “economic development” projects than working with the Corps to make sure the levees were up to their task. (It’s not because New Orleans is poor and black: the levees protect New Orleans’s richer, whiter suburbs too.) In addition, the Corps warned that many of New Orleans’s manmade canals, obsolete for years, should be closed or at least gated—to no avail. Moreover, when the Corps, along with state officials, came to understand that wetlands restoration is a vital part of the flood protection system, not a tree-hugger’s afterthought, Congress balked at spending the required $14 billion over several decades for coastal restoration."

Much blame to go around, and at every level it points to the same problem: government. And some people want them to take over health care? Sheesh.

Read more about it: http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2006-08-28ng.html

Posted by: peterike at January 14, 2008 8:11 AM

all you have to do is read the caption under the graphic "New Orleans: The good old days" to see how much of a simple minded, hate filed moron the writer is when you consider the loss of life, probably loss of life in some of the houses visible in the picture.

American digest? not even close, what an embarrassment this publication is - they should be ashamed.

Posted by: philip at January 14, 2008 8:11 AM

As a native Californian, I'm going to interject that I'd like to blow the levees around a corrupt and useless city and let it return to nature, but in my case, it's Sacramento, not New Orleans. As Dr. Lecter said of Clarice, the world is more interesting with New Orleans in it. That said...for the love of God, stop electing crooks and fools to public office in that town. You can't afford the luxury anymore.

Posted by: Rich Fader at January 14, 2008 8:18 AM

While as a native New Orleanian I am not at all sympathetic to the overall tone of this post, I can understand that the absurd claims being made against the Army Corps of Engineers would lead many people outside of New Orleans to regard us as a greedy arrogant lazy bunch of SOBs.

Look at this graphic from the New Orleans Times-Picayune showing 247 claims of over $1 Billion:


We only make ourselves deserved objects of contempt when we do things like that.

Posted by: max at January 14, 2008 8:18 AM

Don't hold back: tell us how you REALLY feel!

Oh, and some time in the next 70 years the eastern side of NOLA subsides below the local water table so that they'll have to rename the place "New Venice" and use gondolas to get anywhere in the city. The place must have been the inspiration for that "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" sketch about building castles in the swamp.

Posted by: Orion at January 14, 2008 9:16 AM

I see, so when the Federal Government builds a Federal waterway through the middle of your city, like, say, the Intercostal Canal, the Feds don't have an obligation to keep that waterway within it's banks and out of your living room?

Your bigoted ignorance of what happened to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina is staggering. Katrina was a category 3 storm when it hit NO, the likes of which have been weathered by the city dozens of times without catastrophic flooding. You also seem to have missed the part where the Army Corps of Engineers admitted culpability and accepted responsibility for the flooding:


Let me guess, you're probably one of those conservatives who believes that spending a kajillion dollars building a 2000+ mile fence with tens or even hundreds of thousands of border guards to keep out brown people from Mexico is both feasible and desirable, yet shoring up 300 miles of levees to protect the homes and families of brown Americans in New Orleans is neither feasible nor desirable at any price.

Pardon me while I kick the dust of this place from my feet...


Posted by: peter jackson at January 14, 2008 9:48 AM

I certainly hope that Mr. Vanderleun and all the others who feel compelled to demonstrate their antipathy towards their fellow citizens will likewise denounce such antiquated notions as, say, the Christian religion. Compassion? Empathy? What for?

After all, Jesus knew what was going to happen, he had plenty of warning, but evidently was too dumb and/or lazy to get the hell outta Jerusalem (you know how THOSE people are). I guess he expected the Roman government to bail him out in the end, but Pilate gave the people a choice...and they chose Barabbas (kind of like choosing Houston--or Metarie--over NOLA, come to think of it).

On the other hand, Judas Iscariot would make a fine symbol of worship for the anti-NOLA crowd: no mere handout for him, but instead, a valuable service for his thirty pieces of silver, pointing out a known troublemaker, hustler, grifter to the proper authorities. He also didn't demand any namby-pamby librul compassion when he'd outlived his usefulness but took matters into his own hands...something I certainly hope the anti-NOLA contingent will know to do once they likewise are no longer fit for useful work. And if the work they're presently engaged in is NOT useful, then let's hope they don't waste any more of our resources: rope, tree, some assembly required.

Christians: geez, they almost dragged the whole enterprise down with their silly empathy and compassion....

Posted by: Michael at January 14, 2008 10:04 AM

So Baton Rouge and New Orleans are trying to hold back "mother nature" (natural river channel shifts, for example), and they want to suck at the teat of the American Treasury forever? With the billions spent on NOLA & environs, wouldn't it be cheaper just to move everyone to Morgan City, where the Atchafayala will form the "new" New Orleans? It would be cheaper just to let nature take her course, and leave Baton Rouge and New Orleans as museums dedicated to the memory of corrupt politicians.

Posted by: steve miller at January 14, 2008 10:43 AM

In just one three-line paragraph: "New Orleaners" are more commonly known as "New Orleanians". Sumo wrestlers are called "sumotori", not "Sumos". Google is your friend... also, there is no 's' in 'drag'.

Blackened animal parts, second-string or otherwise, aren't even authentic Cajun cuisine. Cajun cuisine, native to rural south Louisiana, is not to be confused with the delicious preparations of liquid pork fat that constitute New Orleans' Creole cuisine. Any self-respecting New Orleaner knows that.

Maybe you could help me out. Where can I get a large schooner of raw alcohol? Every place I've been ruins it by putting fruit punch or juice in it. And, what's a "pathic"? I must be one, since I lived in the World's Most Interesting City once upon a time, and I am not a hustler, grifter, (okay, drunk is debatable), junkie, or drooling layabout; thus, by process of elimination, I must be a "pathic", whatever that is.

Posted by: KamaAina at January 14, 2008 10:46 AM

I lived in & enjoyed NOLA for almost 5 years way back in the 70s. While I enjoyed it's charm and am not as riled up as the blogger, this much is true: The original settlers built uptown on HIGH GROUND for a reason. All inhabitants and politicians since who've allowed building in low areas did what was currently expedient while whistling past the graveyard every day vis-a-vis the perfect soundness of the levee system. And although the Corps of Engineers is technically a federal unit, generations of levee boards & local pols (virtually ALL democrats) continued to whistle past the graveyard as mentioned above. Blaming the levee failure on Bush or the current Federal admin and org is childish and selfish beyond description, not to mention inaccurate and WRONG. The levee break was a certainty; it was only a matter of when. The answer is to allow the socio-topography change so that rebuilding only occurs in the high-lying areas. This is not racist, it is sensible.


Posted by: King Jack at January 14, 2008 10:58 AM


Posted by: Juan at January 14, 2008 11:13 AM

The last time I saw my home was August 28, 2005. We have since rebuilt without asking for a penny from state or federal government agencies. But its comforting to know there are so many good and compassionate people out there in case we would have needed assistance. I live in Gulfport, Ms, not New Orleans. but was somehow thrown into the mix and characterized as a hands out beggar just becuase I had the misfortune to experience, firsthand, the most destructive natural disater in U.S.history. As for New Orleans, you can mindlessly disparage the city all you want but try to remember its some one's home and be respectful of their feelings. I hope none of you ever experience what we experienced in August of 2005.

Posted by: Wil at January 14, 2008 11:41 AM


You're an embarrassment to Dutch people everywhere.


Posted by: de Jong at January 14, 2008 11:50 AM

I'm a little upset by the author's uncompassionate attitude toward those living in New Orleans, many of whome had no idea of the dangerous conditions they were living in.

However, calling the flooding a 'Federal Flood' implies a ridiculous oversimplification of a problem caused by a multitude of political and engineering factors, both local and federal. It is simply an emotional 'lashing out' at the easiest target (which is always the targat most removed from oneself).

The reality is this:

There were two major levee breakdowns, one along the industrial canal: Regarding the industrial canal breakthrough, the canal lockmaster actually reported to the Corps. that the surge overflowed the canal on both sides. This implies not design failure, but a catastrophe for which the levees were never design to handle in the first place. The 14-15 foot industrial canal was assailed by flooding that was estimated to be as much as 19-20 feet high at certain times.

The other levee failure (the 17th street canal levee) can indeed be attributed to design failures; there is no strong evidence that flood waters overtopped this canal.

A 500 page Berkely studies disaggrees with the Corps. findings and states that "Dozens of factors contributed to the hurricane disaster, the authors say, including political decisions that caused the corps to squeeze miles of floodwalls on too-narrow levees on the city's drainage canals"

However, the Berkely group did not lay the blame square on the federal government. Instead they state that, "The Berkeley study finds fault across the complex web of public and private organizations that should have kept New Orleans safe, from Congress to local levee boards". (In my opinion, I imagine that many of the 'political decisions' that contributed to design failures were local decisions, not federal decisions. To me, this seems like common sense.)

In other words, everyone was at fault, from congress, to the Army Core of Engineers to local levee boards. Placing the blame squarly on the Federal government is an immature, emotional oversimplification.
Regarding whether (or not) NO has already received as much help as they deserve, I have no idea. I have no idea how much money actually went to residents of NO and how much of that money was wasted or sucked up by corrupt local politicians, or how corrupt those local politicians are.

Posted by: Chris Green at January 14, 2008 11:58 AM

Did Dr. Evil file the suit?

Posted by: Another Rovian Conspiracy - St Wendeler at January 14, 2008 12:16 PM

de Jong -

Maybe it's the Dutch heritage that makes him so contemptuous of people who didn't seem to notice or care that their dikes had gone unmaintained for decades.

I can't find it right now, but I remember a Dutch tourist's comments on the NOLA levee system, which was basicly an extended WTF!?!? list of obvious flaws and errors - some mandated by the Feds, but most not.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 14, 2008 12:45 PM

the author's uncompassionate attitude toward those living in New Orleans, many of whome had no idea of the dangerous conditions they were living in

(1) Grownups are supposed to make themselves aware of such things.

(2) They know now, and they're asking for money to rebuild in the same place.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 14, 2008 12:50 PM

Have to agree with much of the sentiments expressed so far, however we are going to have to fix the New Orleans area up to some considerable extent, because this area (Southern LA and New Orleans), is the busiest seaport in the United States. The reason for this is obvious, New Orleans is at the bottom of the Mississippi river and the cheapest way to ship bulk cargo is to barge it up and down the Mississippi and connected river systems (e.g. the Missouri and Ohio rivers). This is how we ship out a lot of that wheat, corn, soybeans, and etc. We also bring in coffee, cocoa beans, and various other products thru this seaport. So, regretfully we have to keep this seaport up and operating. New Orleans is mostly not just about parties and having a good time.

As for compassion, a lot of private money, (including Christian money), was collected for Katrina aid; did anyone down there say thanks? Maybe I missed it. Money collected by legitimate coercion (i.e. taxes), and sent as government aid isn’t my idea of compassion. If there was any justice in this country, many persons from the New Orleans Levee board, the city government, and LA state government should be in prison for misappropriation of funds, (i.e. the US sent billions of dollars for many a decade for maintenance and construction of levees, and apparently a great deal of that money went into several politicians’ pockets and well as apparently enriching their followers). Even with the evidence that the Mayor of New Orleans deliberately disallowed use of Amtrak trains and school buses to evacuate the population, the voters of New Orleans voted this man back into office for another term. This Mayor whose apparent emergency plan was “Hope a flood doesn’t happen on my watch”, and who also according to the local paper was days away from sending out a DVD to the citizens of New Orleans that basically send “You all are on your own the City won’t help you in an emergency”, I could go on, but I’m nauseous. These facts make me loath to send another penny down to the New Orleans area from any source. Certainly the US taxpayers should demand that any US government aid funds sent, should be subject to frequent auditing, with many a FBI agent and Federal prosecutors standing by ready to arrest anybody misusing that funding.

Posted by: Albert Hilliard at January 14, 2008 12:51 PM

Ah the cries for infinite, unending compassion are heard yawping from within NO swamp. Give us more, MORE, more!

Just one more HUG! Just one more CHECK! Just one more SUCK on the CRACK PIPE of the public tit and we'll be all better.

Sorry, but these days there really is such a thing as compassion fatigue and the hair-shirt and scourge folks rolling in here "pleading the belly" of New Orleans doesn't change it.

To quote the punchline to an old joke: "Ok, coffee break's over. Everybody back on their heads."

PS: As for Jazz, if you've listened to what passes for Jazz today you might not be so quick to smarm about it.

NO jazz ossified at about the same time the oldest member of the Preservation Hall jazz band was born.

When I want great Louisiana music today I check into theFestival International de Louisiane in Lafayette. Great town and great artists and great music. Much more affordable, sane, and inspiring than the over-sold, over-booked, over-attended and way over-rated "Jazz" festival of NO. (Although I will say that the hotels and guest houses of the city have raised the art of ripping off festival goers to new heights.)

Posted by: vanderleun at January 14, 2008 1:05 PM

"we are going to have to fix the New Orleans area up to some considerable extent, because this area (Southern LA and New Orleans), is the busiest seaport in the United States"

What fraction of the population of NOLA works in the port? I think a much smaller city, possibly even one that's entirely above sea level, could support it.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 14, 2008 1:22 PM

At a certain point it will be cheaper to relocate the whole city, port, and refineries to someplace above sea level than to try to turn the place into Holland West. NO and LA have made the Corp of Engineers modify the natural flow of the Mississippi over time so that the protective wetlands that would suppress the occasional hurricane storm surge have been largely washed away. Much more of the same and NO will be where Pilottown is now. Katrina didn't flood areas that were above sea level.

The French Quarter is above sea level. If the local folks want to protect their neighborhoods the money should come from no higher than the state level. Any Federal money spent should be restricted to areas well above the high tide mark.

Dismantling the levies and letting the river rebuild the delta would the best thing that could happen to NO. The Quarter will be fine with another 10-20 miles of wetlands between it and the Gulf. The commercial areas and the people that work there should relocate inland. That's where everyone else's tax dollars would not be simply wasted.

Posted by: Right Wing Nutter at January 14, 2008 1:27 PM

How about we give this GREAT AMERICAN Van Der LEUN a one-way trip TO MAUI FOR A WELL EARNED VACATION!

Posted by: Joe America at January 14, 2008 3:18 PM


Talk of sewage and STD's coming from a Dutchman is appropriate. Get somebody who has the genes to know. Been to the mother country lately?

I'm impressed with the lucidity and quiet dignity of your prosaic meanderings. Far be it from me to dare argument with one so endowed with the wisdom and intelligence thus displayed.

As a Christian I can only offer you my best and heartily prayed for wishes. May you choke slowly and excrutiatingly to death on your dirty money as the syphilitic chancres on your tiny penis leak sweet bacteria into your scrotum and sewer grown worms eat your rotten bowels. A fitting end for a piece of human waste.

It's obvious from the brain degeneration that you have already reached later stages of the disease, which is hard to diagnose since you may be experiencing multiple bouts of gonnorhea.

The only other explanation is that you are a pathetic, under educated, pseudo intellectual, with an overblown sense of self-worth and little actual human value or intelligence. Don't assume that you can actually think your way through a problem, rather than being told what burger to put on the line next.

God thinks you're worthless too.
So does Allah.
And Jesus.
And Buddha.
And your parents.
And Queen Wilhelmina.

So everybody that knows you isn't wrong!

Your agonizing demise will be welcomed by the just, and will give them peace. It is desired by the gods.

Have a nice day... especially if it's your last.

Posted by: -city of new orleans- at January 14, 2008 3:32 PM

"I'm a little upset by the author's uncompassionate attitude toward those living in New Orleans, many of whome had no idea of the dangerous conditions they were living in."

I'm quoting myself above and I've decided to come clean. The truth is, I felt like I should have been upset . . . but I wasn't. I felt a grim satisfaction as the author denigraded New Orleans in colorful and imaginative ways. As some point after hurricane Katrina, some angry liberal blogger accused the administration of trying to destroy New Orleans (literally) and all the beauty, diversity, and wonderful life it contained. Here words were so dripping with bitter sarcasm against all white conservatives, so indirectly contemptous of my own family culture, and so enthusiastic in extolling the wonderful virtues of a rancous, rowdy, jazzy multi-cultural mecca that is New Orleans, that, from that moment on, I began to associate New Orleans with every artsy-fartsy angry hippie conspiracy theorist I had ever met.

I've found it hard to empathize with the people of New Orleans ever since and I associate the entire city with the bitter angry feelings of that one person. New Orleans has come to represent the extreme angry liberal left in my mind.

Remember people, this is all emotional. Mentally, I tell myself that I need to feel compassion for NO and all its people (hence the opening lines of my last post). This doesn't mean I believe they need more money. It just means I should want whats best for them. Make of it what you will.

Posted by: Chris at January 14, 2008 4:00 PM

For all you Nah Ahleaners that are whining about paying us back for all the money we contributed to you bunch of LEACHES, well I payed about $30,000 in taxes last year,I will expect you to pay me back for all that.

Before you ignorant leaches open you stupid mouths think about what you are saying, if you are capable of thinking. Every TAX PAYING American has contributed to the godless piss hole called Nah Ahleans. Your town is the most god forsaken town in America & hated by most of America. America now realizes we were taken advantage of.

You don't see predominantly white disasters like the Mississippi floods & LA calif fires & mud slides leaching off the gov't. They take care of themselves & EACH OTHER. They are not selfish like predominantly black N.O. is.

Posted by: Namvet527 at January 14, 2008 4:26 PM

All sharp points, made with reason, close relationship with reality--this makes for an great blog, sir. I'll be back. As a life-long member of New Orleans, I at least am not stuck on stupid.

Posted by: Mr. Clio at January 14, 2008 4:28 PM

True Wit is Nature to Advantage drest,
What oft was Thought, but ne'er so well Exprest,
Something, whose Truth convinc'd at Sight we find,
That gives us back the Image of our Mind:
As Shades more sweetly recommend the Light,
So modest Plainness sets off sprightly Wit:
For Works may have more Wit than does 'em good,
As Bodies perish through Excess of Blood.

-- Pope, An Essay on Criticism

Posted by: vanderleun at January 14, 2008 5:44 PM

I feel sorry for you. Why don't you encourage your US government to let Louisiana take its many resources that you enjoy and we'll go it alone.

Posted by: Michael Homan at January 14, 2008 6:27 PM

I see that Mr. V. wasn't inclined to respond to the fact that the figure upon which he based his argument is wildly inaccurate.

New Orleans didn't get 127 billion, nor did Sen. Landrieu request 250 billion to rebuild New Orleans. Those are incredibly false claims. Van der Leun is smart enough to know this, of course, but he used those false figures anyway, breezily and without apology.

I thought he believed "intellectual honesty" was a top personal virtue.

New Orleans is profoundly grateful for the help it has received, although no commitment has been made to improve the levees and floodwalls beyond the 100 year storm level that they were supposed to have been at prior to the storm surge.

In fact the Times Picayune had a giant headline saying "THANK YOU", on the 9.29 anniversary issue, going out to the entire country for its support.

Posted by: oyster at January 14, 2008 8:02 PM

"and they chose Barabbas (kind of like choosing Houston--or Metarie--over NOLA, come to think of it)"

Honestly? Someone with an affinity for New Orleans is casting aspersions on Houston?

Bad form, that.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 15, 2008 12:19 AM

"You don't see predominantly white disasters like the Mississippi floods & LA calif fires & mud slides leaching off the gov't. They take care of themselves & EACH OTHER."

Apparently you missed the disaster declarations, the various amounts of taxpayer cash that get sent to fix Californias' annual disasters, and the fact that these disasters aren't at the 'white's only' counter.

But 'apparently you missed' seems to characterise much of the animus towards New Orleans.

You missed the thamks, you missed the fact that this cash isn't going to New Orleans--but to the entire region hit by Katrina and Rita.

You missed.

Posted by: jack at January 15, 2008 6:19 AM

Vanderloon, now you are an ignorant twit AND BALD-FACED LIAR. Can't handle it huh?

How dare you rewrite reader comments, such as Mr Clio above. Why not delete the entire comment? Because YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TROOF! You have no testicular fortitude to face facts and stand up like a real man, so you actually resort to cowardice and Change another person's words? Ewe.You are so full of fecal matter that I can smell it over the Internet. A few chromosomes shy of a six-pack are we? Poor thing, bless your neocoward, double-thinking Limbaudian syllodomists heart.
You are the weakest link. Good bye!

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder at January 15, 2008 7:46 AM

Loon, once again, just as with your taring the memory of Bessie Smith, you parse a quote out of context. Is this the way you read your Bible as well?
Here is another line form Pope essay.

Some have at first for Wits, then Poets past,
Turn'd Criticks next, and prov'd plain Fools at last;
Some neither can for Wits nor Criticks pass,
As heavy Mules are neither Horse or Ass.
Those half-learn'd Witlings, num'rous in our Isle,
As half-form'd Insects on the Banks of Nile:
Unfinish'd Things, one knows now what to call,
Their Generation's so equivocal:
To tell 'em, wou'd a hundred Tongues require,
Or one vain Wit's, that might a hundred tire.

You aren't even the Missing Link. Good bye

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder at January 15, 2008 7:57 AM

Loon, as it appears you have lost your nerve to publish contradictions to your faux-intellectual, slashed quotes, or perhaps my use of Latin scares you, I offer you (and your readers if you have the guts) the top half of the verse you quoted from Pope: Ah say, Ah say, listen to him when he's talkin' to'ya, boy!

Some to Conceit alone their Taste confine,
And glitt'ring Thoughts struck out at ev'ry Line;
Pleas'd with a Work where nothing's just or fit;
One glaring Chaos and wild Heap of Wit;
Poets like Painters, thus, unskill'd to trace
The naked Nature and the living Grace,
With Gold and Jewels cover ev'ry Part,
And hide with Ornaments their Want of Art.

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder at January 15, 2008 8:43 AM

The best solution would be to just condemn all flooded areas, pay pre-flood market value for the land, make it a park, and move the levees to the park boundaries.

Have the Corp of Engineers build said levees ... do not allow anyone in NOLA or LA to participate in the project.

Posted by: Kristopher at January 15, 2008 9:50 AM

"Have the Corp of Engineers build said levees ... do not allow anyone in NOLA or LA to participate in the project."

We tried that before Katrina and it didn' work out so well. It destroyed our city. NEVER again. We now have citizens and state watchdogs of the Corps so they have to stay ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR WORK!

Posted by: doctorj2u at January 15, 2008 5:34 PM

I gave tens of thousands of dollars in tax money to you welfare cry babies & leaches in Nah Ahleans. I have never gotten anything from Nah Ahleans & never will. You can take your crawdads & choke on them, lol.

You can bulldoze N.O. into the ocean & it would never be missed.

You don't see fire victims in L.A., Ca. sucking off of welfare & whining like you Nah Ahleaners do. A lot of them lost everything too.

Posted by: Namvet527 at January 15, 2008 8:00 PM

Mr. Van der Leun,

Thanks for all the love.

Just curious...

Are aware that this wretched city of ours is one of the "25 Smartest Cities in America?" According to the latest US census data, 31.7% of us have at least a bachelor's degree compared to the national average of 27%. I think that's pretty damned good for a bunch of "hustlers, grifters, drunks, junkies, pathics and drooling layabouts." Somehow we've managed to support six universities and their affiliated schools (law, medical, dental, nursing, allied health, etc.), plus a host of other colleges and technical schools and at least three theological seminaries that I can think of. Imagine all the post-grad degrees we must have working at these institutions. Your wildfire, earthquake and mudslide-prone hometown didn't even make the list.

Oh, and to see someone from Los Angeles disparaging the architecture of New Orleans by reducing it to "a few blocks of mouldering and rusting antebellum architecture," well, that really "exceeds the mind's capacity to boggle."

By the way, you claim that New Orleans is a "rotting and clapped-out town with more STDs per capita than any other burg its size," but all I saw in the article you cited was per capita data at the state level. There is nothing in that article that singles out the "burg" of New Orleans, but maybe you just think Louisiana = New Orleans.

You speak of New Orleans with such authority, as if you know this city and its people but clearly, you don't know us, who we are, or the way we live. Not at all. And your uniformed generalizations and overall cluelessness have served only to heap more "krapola" on the situation here.

If you and the commenters here really represent the sentiments of the rest of this country, then by all means, let us go peacefully on our way and you all can go yours.

Finally, I offer my deepest sympathy on the death of your soul.

Posted by: LisaPal at January 16, 2008 3:04 AM

Nope ... what killed NOLA was diking at the river's edge.

Diking at the edge of a river causes sand to accumulate on the river bottom ... eventually, the river will slowly rise, with the dike and river turning into a big aquaduct towering above the sorrounding land.

And, on top of that mess:

The city is built on a delta ... a large body of sand sitting on ocean bottom. It will continue to compact and settle. If you don't allow floods to add more sand, it will eventually sink below sea level.

A disaster waiting to happen.

The only portions of NOLA that should be saved are those that remain above sea level. If you re-dike the below sea level portions, they will simply continue to sink deeper, making the next flood even more deadly.

The only permanent solution is to move the dikes all the way back to areas that are naturally above sea level, and write off the low areas.

Posted by: Kristopher at January 16, 2008 8:54 AM

LisaPal is correct about the STD data being for entire states. For all we know, the epicenter of Louisiana's STD problem could well be Baton Rouge. After all, Jimmy Swaggart is based there...

[In 1999 NO ranked # 10. Baton Rouge didn't make it into the top 20. But who knows, maybe there's been an upset since then. Table: Gonorrhea and Syphilis Rates by City - The Body ]

Posted by: KamaAina at January 16, 2008 11:51 AM

Trends 2003 - STD

As in previous years, syphilis rates varied widely between cities in 2003. Among the 25 cities with the highest P&S rates (see accompanying table and map), 14 experienced increases between 2002 and 2003. Of those, several experienced significant increases in both their syphilis rates and rankings, including New Orleans (a 178.9 percent increase), which moved from number 41 to 22; St. Petersburg, Florida (129.2 percent, from 38th to 20th); and Albuquerque, New Mexico (70.3 percent, from 30th to 18th).

Posted by: vanderleun at January 16, 2008 12:48 PM

Wow..what a bunch or VERY ignorant people..and the person who wrote this blog and others who agree with her are who im talking about!

[Thanks for making that perfectly unclear! And deftly punctuated as well.]

Posted by: BS at January 16, 2008 1:24 PM

So it comes to this: the shits that are squashed around the country by their beloved "leaders" have to find something or someone to dump on... bingo! Trash New Orleans and Her hard-working folk.

Vanderloon and the Namvet can kiss my panty-clad tush. You are cretins, and death isn't enough for your miserly souls.

This whole thing is about the Social Contract, that thing many of you didn't want to learn about in school, or your Conservative bosses brain-washed you against.

As Americans we take CARE of each other. We support each other. When a disaster hits, we all climb onto the wagon to provide support.

This is not about laying blame, but accepting responsibility. OUR ACOE made mistakes. Sacramento is in possible danger, Indiana, Missouri, Florida and most of the other states are living under the looming danger of levee failures.

Do any of you remember the Teton Dam disaster? Thought not. You are mainly MSM creatures and your thought processes only encompass 3 or 4 years at most.

To clue you in, that was a Bureau of Reclamation screw-up. Same as many others. Read Marc Reisner’s "Cadillac Desert" to understand that poop.

What I see is that folks love to hurt those they perceive to be "below" them. This is a wrong way to see things, and it is a violation of the Social Contract, our agreement that we help each other, no matter the circumstances or the costs.

Now I do know that you freakin' white folks bought us in 1804 (slavery... buying a city and it's people. So my little Creole ass belongs to your freakin' asses? Screw you all... I'm a Free Woman of Color.), but your "determination" of what should be done to New Orleans doesn't hold. We are American citizens you white-bread Protestant jerks. We have our lives and occupations here in the city.

To those that think that you can control my life, where I live or what I can do, just just screw off and die.

My ancestors were here long before many of your forebears killed the Native Americans to claim the land for your own. I don't have that sin hanging over my head.

We live here, knowing the dangers, but we keep moving on.

I've lived through Loma Prieta, many storms, Mt. Saint Helens, clusters of tornadoes and several blizzards. They didn't destroy me.

My guess is that many of the evil commentators here are just bottom-feeders, and they ain't worth the energy to step on them. They don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

We live on the edge. The quiet areas, seismically and weather-wise, are the realm of the brain-dead. Flat-liners as I call them.

Those of us who chose to live on the edge are people that wish to grow and take chances. We understand the fleetingness of Life, but your followers can't grasp that. In my world your followers are considered "baby souls"... in other words, expendable.

I go now to get some food, and I hope that I can rid my mind of your followers' thoughts.

[I shudder to think what you might eat, but hit the trough girl. A bit less preening, "Gentilly Girl" and people might have some respect for you. I mean I have to say I don't see how it is possible for you to be more tedious, but I am sure you'll figure out a way. It is sooo helpful to see you parade your ample moral assets in public. Perhaps you might knit a sweater with the motto, "I am a good, good person" just to bolster your pride. I am also mindful of the legions of "we" you ostensibly speak for. Send them my regards -- Ed]

Posted by: GentillyGirl at January 16, 2008 6:33 PM

Gentilly, you're a woman of few words.

An admirable trait in a lady.

Posted by: Kim at January 16, 2008 9:49 PM

You broke the first rule of witchcraft, too.

You know what that is. :)

Posted by: Kim at January 16, 2008 9:53 PM

I think what you've said is just the plain and simple truth.

Posted by: Dambala at January 17, 2008 5:20 PM

What's the matter Van? you get upset when your vile rant is counter-pointed by GentillyGirl in such an eloquent, factual, elucidated way? You see it as OK to waste so many lines on such narrow minded dribble but call her out because she dares to answer every one of your ridiculas statements?

You should look at what happened in New Orleans as a WARNING. It is not the only coastal city threatened in the U.S. It is not even the most threatened. Would you be saying the same things if it was New York, Miami, Houston, or Sacremento that took the hit? How about St Louis in the middle of the flood plain.

The only thing wrong with GentillyGirl is that she let you bait her into throwing the race card, in fact, I think you are a Master Baiter.

You are not worth her scorn or mine. You want to lose New Orleans? That means all of SE Louisiana, the bread basket of the nation, the number one seafood supplier to the country, one of the top beef producers. We have the largest petro-chemical manufacturers complex in the world here. Nearly everything you use or consume in your daily life can trace at least part of its origin back to Louisiana.

And your answer is "Let it go." Ignorant just is not enough to describe your shallowness.

[We are shaking in our boots over the POWER of New Orleans. Especially if they ever get off their medication.]

Posted by: Aguadiver at January 18, 2008 12:45 PM

Here is one of the Americans you want to abandon.


Posted by: doctorj2u at January 18, 2008 1:49 PM

nice editing.

[No, say rather,

"Nice editing."

The pleasure is to serve.]

Posted by: dambala at January 19, 2008 2:13 PM

We should sell the place back to the French.

Posted by: David McKinnis at January 20, 2008 11:02 AM

Gerard got bitch-slapped: http://ashleymorristypepad.com/ashley_morris_the_blog/2008/01/a-language-less.html

Posted by: Rich at January 20, 2008 1:02 PM

I would like to point out that in the case of a comment by Dambala, Mr. Vanderleun didn't edit for content, but instead rewrote the entire comment to completely reverse its meaning. Don't believe me? Here's a sanitized version (since curse words have no place on this blog):

What Dambala tried to post:
You will (redacted). You're not immune from catastrophe (redacted) for brains.

This is the comment which ended up being posted:
I think what you've said is just the plain and simple truth.

Hmmmm. It's one thing to edit for content or space, or to refuse to post a comment at all, which would certainly be within the rights of a blogger, but to wholly change it and still attribute it to the original writer? That's unethical and spiteful, and no blogger worth his or her salt would engage in such behavior.

Of course, I doubt Mr. Vanderleun will have the guts to post this comment, so few will ever know of his deceit.

As for the content of this post, it is so filled with inaccuracies, vitriol, and outright stupidity that I scarcely know where to begin.

["Edited" means "edited" -- no promises. My space, my rules. That's all she wrote. Deceit doesn't enter into it when dealing with the dead.]

Posted by: Nolalou at January 20, 2008 4:43 PM

It is a source of constant amusement to me that folks seem to feel that they can just float in and blast off anything they like without any consequences.

To trot out a tired analogy, it is as if someone just ran in through your door and defecated in the middle of your rug. Then when you remove it or clean it up get bent out of shape because you have removed their "warm substance."

Check it out, "Nolalou". Blogs are free. You want to say something without it being fooled with, do as millions of others do and get your own space.

Should you have taken the time to peruse many of the comments in this thread, you'd have noticed that not a few of them are highly critical. So all is hardly 100% sweetness and light.

I hope that I have not said anything here that would put too much of a strain on your capacity for understanding. If I have, consider adjusting your medication.

Posted by: Vanderleun at January 20, 2008 6:02 PM