Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gun Crime in NOLA and the US

Ever since Hurricane Katrina rolled through people have been talking and speculating about crime in NOLA. There was indeed zero crime in the city when the city was empty. But now it is not - the general figure for the returning population in New Orleans itself is around 230,000.

There has always been crime in this city (no doubt a correlation with there always being a lot of poverty in this city). It was bad before the storm and it is bad now. The figures per head of population make this city one of the most dangerous in America. There are tales of shootings, murders and muggings. My boss was robbed at gun point (that's AK47 gun point) on his own front doorstep in front of his wife and child on New Years Eve.

I was prompted to write this post by Mark's excellent post about his wife witnessing guns brandished a stones throw away from NOCCA where one of their children goes for dance classes. This is the comment I wrote on his blog:

Yet again a brilliant post - although one I would have rather you had not had to write!!!

As a legal alien from a civilisation without guns, American gun violence has always shocked me. I'm not stranger to it - a man was shot and killed at our laundrette two weeks before we left for the summer, in Cincinnati and we used to listen to the gun-fire and wait to hear the accompanying ambulance sirens from our deck.
I know there is the whole (in my view preposterous) right to bear arms thing here but really hows it working out? In the UK we have a tiny fraction of the gun violence (yes, we have some - but its tiny compared with the US - even per head of population). The police don't carry guns (we have a gun squad if needed). Its very hard to own a gun (after the Dunblane massacre the laws were tightened).

What scared me most though, was when watching a British TV program recently the person (a cop) was in danger and my automatic reaction was "oh no they don't have a gun"!!! So quickly we become used to guns and them being a necessity. When I first came to this country I was freaked out and scared everytime I saw a cop with their gun - now I'm scared if they don't have one.

We as humans are easily persuaded and our fear often clouds our judgements. The rise in crime in NOLA scares me and I have no answers. But if guns were not a "right" in this country I think it would be a lot safer.

I will never understand the American obsession with guns. Guns kill people and that is their purpose. I understand the right to bear arms if you are a pioneer fending for your life but we do not live in pioneer days. It is anachronistic. Yes, I know people now view guns as a necessity to defend yourself from all the criminals that patrol our streets, but this is the cycle this country is stuck in.

I wish I knew an easy answer to this, but I don't. I just know that I hate that aspect of this country.

The crime in this city is bad and the drug-lords have returned but without their normal ghetto enclaves of business their violence has spread to other normally, safer areas of town. I think the other issue is that when you have so many people so profoundly affected by such a catastrophic event as Katrina you have a population whose mental health is unstable and therefore more prone to extreme behaviour. Now I'm not saying that this means that everyone who lost their belongings, is living in a FEMA trailer, or is displaced, is waving a gun and robbing people!! - just that those with a predilection towards such behaviour are more likely to exhibit such behaviour as a result of their experience.

I think it is another symptom of loss in this city and a way of lashing out. This city could really benefit from an army of mental health professionals.

I understand why it is the way it is, I do not condone it and it makes me sad and angry.

I hate guns!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The One Who Keeps Getting Away

OK, this may seem like a trivial post with all the wonderful things to report, all there is to be concerned about, in this astounding city. But right now I am at war.

I have an unwelcome visitor that won't leave - or let me commit squishing murder. There is a N'awlins mosquito in this room and she keeps biting me (someone told me - I can't remember who but recently - that the biting mosquitoes are female - I was unaware there was any other kind until I was informed of this....). I've glimpsed her a couple of times and yelled a lot and cursed a lot (sorry Mum) flailed at her a lot and this is a war that I am currently losing.

You might think this is a trifle but I am extremely tasty to mosquitoes which would be a mild annoyance if I didn't react to every bite by breaking out in a large red itchy welt.

My female foe is slowly welting me to death - well at least my wits end...

And its not even April yet!! sigh.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"You should be ashamed...!!"

Today, to commemorate the end of slavery, the British establishment assembled for a solemn ceremony full of pomp and circumstance. Things were going on in their usual dull way until this man rushed to the front of Westminster Cathedral to protest.

You can read the whole account in the Guardian. The best bit was his parting shot aimed at Her Majesty - "You should be ashamed!!"

Monday, March 26, 2007

Moses you ain't - "They" know!

I have just read Chris Rose's recent article in the TP. I have also been reading a lot of NOLA bloggers posts on this issue. The issue is our wonderful, colourful major (yes, that's sarcasm).

He is famous for speaking his mind, only his mind is becoming something very few of us want to hear from. He is sounding completely nuts. He famously ranted during Katrina and woke up the Feds. He famously referred to this city as having always been a "chocolate city". He panders to the colour of the skin of his audience and says whatever inflammatory thing he thinks they wish to hear.

The latest Nagin saga has been his raving and ranting against "They". "They" want to divide this city up and remove the African Americans from the city. "They" see the aftermath of Katrina as a perfect opportunity to rid the city of the elements they dislike. "They" is a mass conspiracy. Mark at Wetbank blog puts it so well:
What's happening here is not happening to you in particular, or to the people you believe you represent. Listen, man: you're not Moses, the annointed leader of the Children of Isreal. The entire aftermath of the Federal Flood was not Pharoah out to get you and your people, and acting like that's the story line isn't going to bring about biblical miracles to restore the city to what it was. That's the PTSD and whatever else you have going on talking. Somebody who cares about you needs to take you aside and talk to you 'cause your messed up, and every time you open your mouth you mess us all up.

I have always been one (perhaps naively) who has thought that it should be the local leaders that would be those classed in the "They" category. After all if there was a conspiracy wouldn't the major be best placed to head it off, to provide the resources and structure to bring back the very people the so called conspiracy wishes to banish?

Major Nagin seems to be spending so much time these days looking for reasons to New Orleans problems that he's cross-eyed. Maybe its just my naive self but should he be looking for solutions to the problems instead of reasons.

I know Louisiana is famous for corrupt, inept politicians but really isn't Nagin too ridiculous for office? I know, I know, I'm naive.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Toad in the Hole

Yesterday the house started to shake and there was a terrific thumping coming from the front. I opened our front door to find Matt, my landlady's boyfriend, surrounded by plants and bags of fresh dirt digging and rattling about in the flower (or rather weed as it has been up until now) bed.

The thumping mystery explained I gave him a cold drink and he explained that he had to take out the big cinder blocks that are in the bed to make way for dirt - after all how many plants can grow primarily on cinder blocks (lichen takes a while!!). He then told me that every time he took out a cinder block he would find a toad living in it. We both agreed this is a bit bizarre. When I saw him later on that night at the bar, he told Dazza and I that one of neighbours claims that the abundance of toads means that someone who lives in the house must be a witch. That means either our next door neighbour who is a Tulane grad student or Dazza or myself.

We do have second sight that runs in our family but "witch" that's bizarre. I do seem to attract toads - see my post from Miami (although I mistakenly called it a frog..). Maybe I need a voodoo consultation.

My favourite poet also had a thing for toads:


Stop looking like a purse. How could a purse
squeeze under the rickety door and sit,
full of satisfaction, in a man's house?

You clamber towards me on your four corners —
right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot.

I love you for being a toad,
for crawling like a Japanese wrestler,
and for not being frightened.

I put you in my purse hand, not shutting it,
and set you down outside directly under
every star.

A jewel in your head? Toad,
you've put one in mine,
a tiny radiance in a dark place.

By Norman MacCaig

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pumps, Levees ... follow-up

Thanks to leigh c. for giving me some leads on where to find info on the state of NOLA's pumps and levees. She recommended these two blogs : Fix The Pumps, and NOLA Dishu. Both have lots to read and think about. She also recommended these books:
"Holding Back the Sea" by Christopher Hallowell

"Bayou Farewell" by Mike Tidwell

I am going to find these and peruse them - likely I'll need a glass or two of whisky (Scotch of course!) to steady my nerves as I dig further into this issue. I will write a detailed blog post when I am more informed - I have the feeling I'll have lots to rant about.....

Friday, March 23, 2007


New Orleans is an inspiring place and my time here has got me to pick up my paints and create again. Here are some NOLA inspired creations all using acrylics. (I went through quite a fleur de lis phase as you can see ...) For other stuff I've been inspired to do check out my other blog (witterings & wanderings).

Bach around the clock

Wednesday was JS Bach's birthday (which reminds me of a 'Scotland the What' skit - "Noo if he wis alive i day, foo al wid he be?"). So to celebrate the event every year, in N'awlins, at Trinity church on Jackson, they play his music for a full twenty four hours. They start at 7pm tonight and end tomorrow at 7pm. I have been assured that should you wander into the curch at 2,3,4am you will indeed hear someone playing some Bach. That's quite a marathon!
I am intrigued, so Dazza and I are going to stop in by before we head to bed tonight (I'm working late so we think around midnight).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pumps, Levees .... I'm curious

I found out recently that we are going to be here for a while - my contract with work now extends for another two years and may become tenured. We could very well end up being here for several years. This is great. Its good to have a job. I love this city. We have friends here. We are happy living here.

So I'm curious about what exactly has been done for the protection of this magnificent place should (or when) a hurricane should roll through again. I know that it was the levee failure that flooded the city and that Katrina didn't hit New Orleans head on. So a chancing blow from a hurricane was enough to overpower the levees and flood the city.

I was talking to a friend the other night and he said that he thought what New Orleans needs to feel more secure and to show the world that it is more secure, is for another hurricane to come through and for the city not to flood. I have to agree this would indeed show that this city is on the path of regeneration. (don't get me wrong here - I'd rather a hurricane never came this way again ever - but I know I'm asking the impossible)

My friend was telling me that they have done "so" much to the levees that he thinks this may be a real possibility. So I'm curious if this is indeed true. I've been reading a lot about the failure of levee pumps on da po blog and on blogging new orleans.

So I'm wondering if I can find out more. Now that it looks like we are going to be calling this wonderful place home for the future I really need to know (I was interested before - don't get me wrong - but its just that now the need for knowledge feels more urgent).

I'm hoping that some of the wonderful N'awlins bloggers might drop by and point me in some useful directions. Until then I'm going to keep my ears pricked for any news on securing our home.

Gentilly Girl has a brilliant and succinct post on the subject!!

Super Sunday

I had to work this past Sunday and was unable to go and see the Mardi Gras Indians parade. However this morning we found on a media show of photos and sound from the event. Go here to check it out - its quite something.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


As I said in my last post, everyday I learn something new and wonderful about this city and yesterday was no exception. A friend told me about a great duo that would be playing at the DBA, a bar, on Frenchman Street. So after I finished work at ten thirty I came home and met Dazza and we went down to Frenchman.

Wow. On the little stage at the DBA was this wiry energetic guy with wild hair and an orange shirt wrapped around his double bass. Next to him was a slight silver haired drummer responding to every twist and turn.

The bass player was James Singleton (pictured in the photo) and the drummer Johnny Vidacovich. Singleton had an array of pedals at his feet that enabled an electric ostinato for him to improvise on top of. He used the bow in frenetic high pitched acrobatics pushing the boundaries of the heights of the instrument and utilising every harmonic. He would then throw the bow into his tiny quiver attached to his tailpiece and start thumping out some funky lines with some slap bass thrown in. I've never heard a bass player make an upright bass sound so big and so deep. And certainly never heard one do slap bass and make it sound as good or better than an electric. I was blown away.

The drummer was astounding too. He responded to every change of mood. He twisted and turned using every effect possible. And he also sang and did the 'commentary'.

They are playing at the DBA next Tuesday night too - so if you can go and check them out - they'll blow you away!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The guts of New Orleanians

Please read this - N.O. - It's Just Me: It's Easier Than Being Here - it breaks my heart and it is literally breaking the souls and lives of people in this city.
There is so much neglect and injustice going on down here and it really feels that the rest of the country is saying "oh just get over it" when they have no idea what is going on down here.

Everyday I learn something new and wonderful about this city. It feels right now that everyday I also learn something heart wrenching too. People here are still living in FEMA
trailers. People are having insurance companies deny their claims when they have spent decades paying premiums. People are working hard everyday to afford the spiralling costs of living here (the latest Entergy bills are outrageous!) and then return at night to rebuild their homes. The levee situation is still a mess and we are fast approaching another hurricane season. Peoples' mental health is poor and sleepless nights all too common. The stress is affecting the death rate in this town - see here.
And pay particular attention to this:
Dr. Kevin Stephens, New Orleans’ health director, told members that his analysis shows a 42 percent increase in the mortality rate in the city since the disaster, “strongly suggesting that our citizens are becoming sick and dying at a more accelerated rate than prior to Hurricane Katrina.”
Where are the news journalists reporting this? Oh yeah, they're on the other side of the planet reporting a war that should never have happened. They're reporting where all our tax dollars are going - into a bottomless pit of despair and misery and death. Now what could those dollars be doing instead?.... Oh ...... perhaps building levees like those that keep Holland dry?

And just yesterday I was reading about how the business of war is booming. And Dazza pointed out something he heard about an armaments producer developing biodegradable BULLETS!! Yes, bullets that are good for the "environment"!!!

Where is the outrage? Where are the mass protests?

America is asleep, drugged by the media, the command to shut up in the name of being patriotic.

Meanwhile I am amazed by the guts of New Orleanians who everyday get up and rebuild their lives in the face of such adversity.

Here is a link to one such story.

Paddy's Parade Pics

We passed this car all dolled up for St Patrick's day on the way to Louisiana and Magazine.On Louisiana turning into Magazine we found lots of lovely "Irish" men beaded and tipsy and willing to swap kisses for flowers and beads!
Me being slobbered by one said Irish man!! Later one guy seemed to want to give me a hicky on my neck while sweeping me off my feet!!!!The yellow and gold flowers are for the Saints colours! They also had a Saints float -Sue and I show off our fancy beads from kisses!But then she did get an early start at the pet shop!!
Dazza , after feeling like a fifth wheel with all the kissing of Irish men , finally got a cabbage from the lovely 'lassies' on the parade float!! Our loot!! Nice knickers eh!!
This was my favourite "throw" handed to me by a NOPD dressed in Irish garb - I'm not gutsy enough to try it out - but let me know if anyone needs to.....
I think the sign worked - but I think in future I'll make it in advance and put more explanation on it to avoid getting beads hurled at me with obscenities!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

St Patrick's Day & Green Wheelie Bins

It's been quite a week since I last wrote anything here. In this fair city there was the St Patrick's Day parade with drunk Irish men and floats with beads, potatoes, carrots, peanuts, bananas, onions and, of course, cabbages!! There was also on Sunday, St Joseph's Day when the Indians parade again and there are various other celebrations. I had to work on Sunday and missed the St Joseph day thang - but I was screamin' for throws on Saturday.

I decided to try the whole "I'm Scottish" thing to see if I'd get better beads etc. So I wrote a sign that said "I'm Scottish" scribbled on a piece of cardboard and hung it round my neck. It worked and didn't work. I either got those lovely "Irish" men who are part of the walking parade (guys don't bother with this one until the floats come by because its all about us ladies kissing Irish men for flowers and beads) giving me brilliant beads (and slobbery kisses on the cheek) or I got them saying 'don't the Irish hate the Scots?' (one guy on a float yelled a profanity and threw beads ate me - ouch!). Now the guy who posed the question of the Irish hating the Scots would have know the answer if he had actually been IRISH. The Scots and the Irish and the Welsh all love each other - OK motivated by their mutual desire to see England loose at rugby....

Anyway we came home with beads galore, two cabbages, carrots, onions, peanuts, slim jims!!, a banana, and lacy green knickers!! Oh I also got a "get out of jail free" card for the NOPD!!

Photos to follow.....

Then this morning there was a tremendous commotion outside and I peeked out to see a new gleaming green trash wheelie bin. Its big and shiny and will hold all our trash - our falling-to-bits other one doesn't. Small joys!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

NOLA Blogging

Since my last post I have made a wonderful discovery - a large, varied, informed, exciting blogging community in N'awlins. It shouldn't come as a surprise to me that the blogging community reflects the rest of the city - welcoming, friendly, gutsy, great sense of humor, pissed off at FEMA and government and not afraid to say it. I will be adding more and more blogs to my sidebar as I make my way through the lists that are on the blogs I have found.

Mark's Wet Bank blog is full of intelligent well written polemic posts which are informative and thought provoking. Travelingmermaid has lots of photos, links, and arty stuff - plus on Monday she kindly bestows a piece of ocean inspired music. Gentilly Girl gets me all riled up with her 'say it like it is' posts - I think they should print them out and put them on the idiot's desk in the oval office every morning!! Dangerblond is a blog of an artist in Metarie and she is a one woman tour-de-force of broken traffic signal reporting and to whom I will say a thank you to when I go through a certain light on my way to teach later on this afternoon.

There are more blogs out there for me to explore and I'll update the sidebar as I go.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Third World" New Orleans?

There is an issue that has been conspicuously absent from this, my blog of New Orleans. The issue, of course, is Katrina.

The issue of Katrina is huge. So big that I've been daunted at the prospect of posting on it but I knew it was something I would have to do. So I'm going to do it in bite size pieces. I was inspired to finally begin this endeavour by a comment that Darren got at work and one I have often heard myself: "Welcome to the Third World".

I was puzzled upon hearing this the first time and attributed it to the response (or rather lack of one) to the Katrina aftermath. It was a phrase that the national media latched onto to describe the scenes of homeless citizens crying out for assistance. I have to admit I remember asking at the time if this was pounced upon so eagerly because most of these poor suffering people were black? The correlation of the circles of enslavement, debt and exploitation of African countries certainly fits with how the black community of New Orleans has been treated.

But this term also annoyed me. Yes the suffering was terrible and yes it should never have happened. But this suffering was different from that of people who have walked for days with little food or water for months on end through the African desert to get to a refugee camp. This suffering was First World! It was so awful because in America these people should have had government assistance, should have had proper levees protecting their homes, should have had water flown in to help hydrate them in the stifling heat. If this tragedy is looked at in the classification of Third World then there is done a great disservice to the magnitude of the wrongs that were done and the injustices suffered.

Yet I think there is more to what these people have meant when Darren and I have been met with the greeting "Welcome to the Third World" and I think its a greeting we would have heard had we come to this city prior to Katrina. This phrase is said almost with a degree of pride. I find it very odd.

I realise it is in reference to how inept and corrupt things can be run down here. I realise it refers to the way the rest of America has always neglected New Orleans. I don't realise how it can be accepted here. Or how flippantly it is bandied around. It has a degree of fatalism about it. If New Orleans is the Third World then its doomed to always fall behind other American cities.

If it was being used to describe the abject poverty that the New Orleans poor live or rather exist in, then I can understand it. The projects were slums (they are presently sitting empty waiting for either the old occupants to return or to be torn down). The poor live in housing which is totally unacceptable and try to eek out a living on next to nothing. And, of course, like the Third World, the poor here were/are mostly black. And like the Third World, they are OK when confined to their neighborhoods but condemned when they dare to misbehave and invade the richer areas. But this is also true of most big American cities: 'over the rhine' in Cincinnati, east Cleveland, Detroit.

It makes me mad when I hear (white of course) people claim that it is 'unfortunate' but you have to admit most criminals have black skin. This is something that the national media have been good at projecting and, of course, it goes back to slavery, segregation and civil rights. Instead of associating the color of their skin as a reason for their behaviour, we need to see the common thread of poverty. The don't turn to crime because they are black but because it is a means of surviving because you are poor. Perhaps if this reality was addressed the crime in America could be properly addressed.

New Orleans is not the Third World. Katrina was devastating but it wasn't a Third World event. Yes, some people lost their lives (close to the same figure as 911 - this is another post), yes some people were treated live animals, yes there was too little too late. But what people lost were homes with running water and electricity, they lost possessions, they lost pets, heirlooms, photographs. In the Third World when there is a crisis they don't have such things to loose.

There are some other articles on this issue I found online here and here and a blog post here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Crickets Being Friendly

Tonight something new is happening. I am sitting in our living space in our half of a double shotgun apartment listening to crickets. And not the sound of crickets outside but underneath!!

You see houses in the deep south are built with no foundations - or rather are mounted on stilt like structures of cinder blocks or bricks. This is to facilitate as much air circulation to keep the houses cool during the heat of summer.

The fancy houses have bricked up around the bottom of the house and an ornate grill to let the air out and in. The not so fancy houses (of which is the norm in N'awlins) have nothing and it is quite possible to crawl underneath. I have no desire to crawl underneath but many creatures, I suspect, do. We certainly have heard feral cats rummaging around and been privy to their wailing mating rituals several times. I believe that tonight an errant cricket or two has decided to take a walk underneath this house and sing for its supper.

In addition to this we also have a pair of pigeons who've taken a liking to the ledge above our front door. This makes coming and going a challenge when one doesn't wish do be decorated with bird droppings. To add to this I also have inherited a severe dislike of birds - to be more precise a fear of flapping. Trafalgar Square is my idea of a nightmare so when I go to the National Gallery in London I tend to rush in and rush out to the tube as quickly as I can.

I consulted a colleague today who used to live in this apartment and he recommends putting duct tape sticky side up on the ledge to put the flying rodents off. Fingers crossed it works. Hopefully we can end their occupation before they do something foolish like have offspring!

Meanwhile I sit listening to crickets. Which reminds me of one of my favourite poems by my favourite p oet Norman MacCaig, 'Aunt Julia'. I hope my crickets are friendly too.

Aunt Julia

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her —
I could not understand her.

She wore men's boots
when she wore any.
— I can see her strong foot,
stained with peat,
paddling with the treadle of the spinningwheel
while her right hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.

Hers was the only house
where I've lain at night
in a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.

She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly
round house-ends.
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot.

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little, she lay
silenced in the absolute black
of a sandy grave
at Luskentyre.
But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull's voice
across a hundred yards
of peatscrapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions

Monday, March 05, 2007

N'awlins Last Chance Saloon

Yesterday the Times Picayune ran an interesting, frightening, urgent story. This one is worse than Katrina. This one is worse than levee failure. This one is catastrophic.

New Orleans is protected from storms like Katrina by wetlands that stretch , for now, 30 miles south of the city. The Gulf's stormy waters are buffered by the protection these barrier islands, marshes, swamps and cypress trees provide.

When Katrina and Rita visited their wrath on the Gulf coast in 2005 they took with them a large chunk of these protective wetlands. But even without these and other storms the wetlands have slowly been eroded by the most dangerous force to nature the world has ever known: human beings.

We have built levees (maybe not as well as we should've - but that's another post) that whilst protecting homes from flooding from the mighty Mississippi have meant that the sediment that the river has offloaded in South Eastern Louisiana has not been laid down. Oil and gas lines have been allowed to lay pipelines through the marshes destroying the natural ecosystem.
And in the nineteenth century a powerful enemy of the wetlands was imported by man: the nutria! These (quite frankly ugly) large rodents eat the roots of the swamps and marshes leaving the Gulf waters to reclaim territory.

The Times Picayune has a brilliant graphic on its website which explains all this in detail.

The scariest thing about this article and issue is how urgent this is. Experts are in agreement that this is something that needs to be addressed and dealt with now before it is too late. The next ten years are our last chance!!

Or no more Mardi Gras, no more po' boys, no more jazz fest, no more lagniappe, no more historic beauty, no more traditions. Just swamp or perhaps just water.

All I know is that it is possible to rectify this situation. If Holland could do it why not the richest country on earth? New Orleans is worth spending the time and money to preserve. This city gives back over and over and over. This country needs this city and this world needs this city.

I hope and pray that something will be done and done now! This city definitely feels like the last chance saloon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oh the Joy of Photo ops!!

"New Orleans Needs Federal Aid, Not Presidential Photo-Ops.
Mr. President: Katrina Survivors Do Not Welcome You, We Rebuke You!"
This is a quote from loki at Humid City - a N'awlins blogging site.

The president is visiting today. And he is a smart cookie - eehhhm cough, splutter - I mean his advisers are smart cookies!! He is visiting a New Orleans Charter school today to see how post-Katrina the city's public schools are getting a fresh start. Hhhm let me see where is this school situated. Oh yeah - Uptown! Where everything is up and running and the had little or no flooding. Yeah a perfect place for a photo op to delude America into thinking things have turned around here really well.

Shouldn't he be out in Chalmette where everyone is living in FEMA trailers? Shouldn't he have cameras following him round all the broken parts of this city that show we need more funding more money more support more action more quickly! Then show the rest of America all the good bits that are up and running for the pleasure of tourists and travellers and partiers the world over.

But doing that would be dumb. It would mean facing the truth and letting it be told. One wouldn't want one's approval ratings to fall any lower, well not over something as insignificant as N'awlins.