A New New Orleans?
Today out the windows of the 13th Floor, I see fast-moving, billowy clouds and a fluttering American flag. They are innocuous remnants of Hurricane Katrina--and ...
Today out the windows of the 13th Floor, I see fast-moving, billowy clouds and a fluttering American flag. They are innocuous remnants of Hurricane Katrina--and an ironic reminder of the huge rebuilding task facing citizens and public officials along the Gulf Coast.
In light of the situation in Louisiana, this morning I felt compelled to re-read Governing's August 2003 article on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ("The Big Easy's Makeover Mayor"). Author Rob Gurwitt identified the myriad obstacles Nagin was encountering in his efforts to change New Orleans' political culture, which has long been marked by corruption and cronyism. Nagin's undertaking was particularly daunting, according to Michael Lomax, the president of Dillard University in New Orleans, because "this is a city that is more than rooted in the past. It's mired in the past."
At the moment, New Orleans is mired in deadly, mucky flood waters as well. But if I may dare to suggest that there could be a silver lining in this disaster, it is this: The process of rebuilding will give the city an unforeseen opportunity to truly move beyond the past.
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