September 18, 2005


Working class exodus feared in New Orleans (Raja Mishra and Sasha Talcott, September 18, 2005, Boston Globe)

Even as the nation unites to rebuild this stricken region, New Orleans's longstanding race and class divides appear to persist. The haves are beginning to pick up the pieces of their former lives, while many have-nots may be forced to simply pick up and leave.

Recovery is well underway in the French Quarter and in the tony Garden District and Uptown, which largely were spared when the levees broke because they sit on

But their lower-lying and often poorer counterparts may remain unsafe and may be uninhabitable for a year or longer, with entire neighborhoods slated for the wrecking ball, said state and federal officials.

And with each passing week, former residents of these communities, evacuated around the country, are more likely to start life anew elsewhere, said federal officials and urban affairs specialists.

Their absence could forever change this iconic city, once a potent cultural stew that gave rise to jazz and jambalaya, indelibly shaping American culture. A massive swath of the city's longshoremen, musicians, cooks, nurses, and myriad other workers are in scattered exile, their economic and cultural energies gone with them.

Some business analysts predict a smaller, less diverse New Orleans may emerge in the coming years, with key industries like tourism and shipping permanently shrunken. Others said many evacuees, poor and unskilled, may be replaced by a better trained workforce imported to Louisiana to do the work of reconstruction, dramatically changing the character of the city in the process.

Actually, all that should be restored is the shipping and tourism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2005 8:27 AM

The authors of the article never once addressed the fact that those "have nots" who left town are finding out how the rest of us live and they don't want to go back to being part of an underculture that funds the ruling elite's lavish life style.

The careless racism of the left is truly breathtaking.

Posted by: erp at September 18, 2005 10:46 AM

Aren't those low-lying areas wetlands, therefore illegal to rebuild?

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at September 18, 2005 10:47 AM

One one the transformational blots on American law has been the 1969 case of Shapiro v. Thompson, which found, presumably from the emanations from the penumbra of the right to travel, a right to have one's travel bankrolled by the community. Simply, it held residency requirements for welfare unconstitutional.

If it makes no geological or economic sense for someone to live in a particular place, there should be no question about allowing normal market forces shape demographics by drawing him or her to a more felicitios location

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 18, 2005 11:02 AM

I'd skip the tourism part of the rebuilding.

Posted by: Bret at September 18, 2005 7:37 PM

Bob Hawkins: There are wetlands and there are wetlands. The question is whether the wetlands are ecologically important wetlands. Ecologically important wet lands are what they used to call malaria swamps.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 19, 2005 12:01 AM

Robert, here in our section of Florida, they're called bird sanctuaries.

Posted by: at September 19, 2005 7:36 AM