An Epistle From the United States

May 5, 2009 by

It’s been quiet here on HumidCity for the past ten days or so while my lovely wife and I moved house. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I am now one of the many NOLA Bloggers blogging from another state. To be honest it has been not only a crazy fortnight but an educational one as well.

You see we now live in the United States again, as opposed to the city that was hung out to dry by the nation after our federally constructed levees failed. I’ve been reminded of what that entails and am realizing how much we have grown to put up with in New Orleans that is flat out unconscionable. Between Ray Nagin, George Bush, teenage murderers and a fearsome array of carpetbaggers and scalawags our people have been swindled out of much that most Americans take for granted. This, I feel, is at the root of a lot of the misunderstanding we get from those who live outside of the flood zone.

There is so much that is incredible and important about New Orleans, things that can exist nowhere else on the planet, that residents accept the unacceptable hardships presented by the self seeking scum who run the show. Since I now live someplace where infrastructure works and living is not outlandishly expensive I can truly see just how asinine the situation is.

The little things throw it into sharp relief. The fact that I can get two gallons of dairy fresh milk for less than the price of one in New Orleans and NOT pay 9.5% sales tax on them is stunning to me. Think about that one detail alone and consider it in the context of the ridiculous poverty(pdf) that most of our neighbors live in. Think about that over the course of a year. It’s worse than a pack a day cigarette habit.

Yes, there is crime and imperfection anywhere you go, but all of the shooting deaths I’ve heard of have been back home in NOLA. Forty funerals have happened within my varied social circles since the storm, I don’t even want to think about how many were due to lead flu (it’s airborne you know). Every day as I read the news from home there are more shootings, even within the environs of the Vieux Carre (Did you hear about the early morning killing at Monaghan’s Erin Rose the other day?). In Cincy an auto accident is enough to make the paper.

Now before someone gets their panties in a twist I am NOT screaming about how horrible NOLA is. I am pissed. Pissed off that we allow these bozos to profiteer while the people of the neighborhoods pay the price, be it in ridiculous prices or in lives. I may have relocated to Cincinnati, but I’m a native and my heart will always be in NOLA.

As long as idiots like Jindal and Nagin are at the helm we will continue to see reverse progress. Whether it is the stupidity of our governor’s anti-science stance or C. Ray’s escapades the results will be both horrific and disrespectful of our populace. Science conventions are avoiding and canceling their events in Louisiana because of Jindal’s creationist stance. Hardly what I call a boost to the economy.

Then there is the NOPD. I’ve been vaguely restrained in my writing about them due to the fact that I had good reason to fear reprisals. I am well known and easy to track down. While I know there are good cops on the force they are in the minority. When Gustav was looming I was resolute in my decision to ride it out, my mind was changed by one of the good cops that I know. He warned me that the storm was not the worry, but rather that “the only cops staying are the thugs who are looking forward to an excuse to crack some heads unsupervised.” Maybe that family who wants the NOPD brought up up on charges for her son’s shooting is on to something. The situation is intolerable.

I think the thing that has made the most impact on me since getting here is the fact that the kids here get to be kids. I do not see that predatory look in their eyes. I see parents on the street on a regular basis. Not once have I seen the bulge denoting a 9mm pistol in any of their waistbands. Even the little ones say please, thank you, and excuse me. It has, on several occasions now, brought tears to my eyes.

There are too many good people and too much that is unique in all the world that resides in New Orleans to allow this shite to continue. I know what it means to miss New Orleans, I also know what it means to cease to fear now that I am away. These two feelings are what I believe is behind a lot of the negative writing one sees online from former residents. It is easy to only see the evils once you are no longer immersed in them, the trick is to remember the good. I refuse to embrace such oversimplification, but I will also no longer hold back when it comes to the things that are broken.

-Loki, HumidCity Founder and Curator

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