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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 22. | WILLisms.com | The Louisiana Libertarian Lives. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 163 -- New Orleans.

Political Machine Politics Defeated New Orleans-

New Orleans can and should be rebuilt. It must be. But much about New Orleans needs to change. The race-based political machine of New Orleans should never return. The corruption, mismanagement, graft, and laziness of government officials in the Crescent City must become relics of the past, washed away by Katrina.

New Orleans must retain and regain much of its unique charm, but the city should also follow the lead of Houston or Miami:

In 1920, New Orleans's population was nearly three times that of Houston and nine times Miami's. It was the primary Southern destination for European and Caribbean immigrants. Now, both the Houston and Miami areas--despite their own ample experience with disasters of the natural as well as the man-made variety--have long since surpassed New Orleans, with populations more than three times as large. During the '90s, the Miami and Houston areas grew almost six times as fast as greater New Orleans, and flourished as major destinations for immigrants, particularly from Latin America.

These newcomers have helped transform Miami and Houston into primary centers for trade, investment and services, from finance and accounting to medical care, for the entire Caribbean basin. They have started businesses, staffed factories, and become players in civic life. Houston has taken over completely as the dominant center for the energy industry, once a key high-wage employer in the New Orleans region.

Instead of serving as a major commercial and entrepreneurial center, New Orleans's dominant industry lies not in creating its future but selling its past, much of which now sits underwater. Tourism defines contemporary New Orleans' economy more than its still-large port, or its remaining industry, or its energy production. Although there is nothing wrong, per se, in being a tourist town, it is not an industry that attracts high-wage jobs; and tends to create a highly bifurcated social structure. This can be seen in New Orleans's perennially high rates of underemployment, crime and poverty. The murder rate is 10 times the national average.

There is no good reason for Houston, in 2005, to have been a booming and thriving city, economically, culturally, and otherwise, while pre-hurricane New Orleans languished.

No reason, that is, other than political leadership.

Michael Barone adds that New Orleans must reform, because it was dying, slowly, even before Katrina:

The population of the central city declined from 484,000 in 2000 to 462,000 in 2004 -- one of the biggest percentage declines in the nation. It seems unlikely that many of the small wooden houses in neighborhoods dominated by the criminal underclass will be habitable after the waters recede, nor will it be worth anyone's money to rebuild them....

But New Orleans' heritages of upper-class complaisance and political corruption -- the result of the city's French tradition -- work against a more broadly based commercial and economic revival. Without changes in these attitudes, historic New Orleans may revive, but the city will become little more than a theme park, like Venice, and not the great commercial beehive it once was.

Indeed, some more tidbits on the pre-hurricane decay of New Orleans:

According to the Census, the population of New Orleans in 2000 was 485,000 of whom 326,000 were black, 136,000 white, and the remaining ten thousand or so each, Asian or Hispanic.

If 75-80 percent of the population evacuated the city safely before the storm hit, as everybody is reporting, that means that far more than half the black population escaped safely before the storm slammed into the city. Even if all those who did not evacuate were black — and that is manifestly not true — 25 percent of the total population is only 121,000. Twenty percent is 96,000. By far the majority of blacks in New Orleans, who numbered as the storm began some 326,000, evacuated in advance....

The Census report shows what that means in vivid detail. In 2000, there were only 25,000 two-parent families in New Orleans with children under 18. By contrast, there were more than 26,000 female householders with children under 18, and no husband present. In other words, slightly more mothers all alone with children than married-couple mothers.

In addition, there were more than 18,000 householders who were more than 65 years old and living alone. Of these, most would normally be female.

If you add together the 26,000 female householders with children under 18, no husband present, and the 18,000 householders more than 65 years old and living alone, that is an estimated 40,000 female-headed households. That explains the pictures we are seeing on television, which are overwhelming female, most often with young children. The chances of persons in this demographic being employed full-time, year round, and with a good income, are not high. The chances of them living in poverty, and without an automobile, are exceedingly high.

New Orleans must be rebuilt. But it must do so with an eye toward reform, not more of the same.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Israel, and the Jewish Vote.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 September 2005 11:00 AM


BUT how will the Dems. spin this news?...???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 8, 2005 11:50 AM

Regarding the forced evacuation of NO which is now in progress.

It is reported that all the property records of NO are in the flooded city hall basement and may never be legible again. Usually these "worst cases" are not true, but who knows?

But if those records are indeed lost then it makes sense to refuse evacuation. You have no idea whether your home or your entire neighborhood will be leveled for some rebuilding scheme and you will have nothing to prove you owned the land.

After the city is completely evacuated by force the NOPD will be alone in the city. Given the dismal record so far it seems likely that every item of any value whatever will then vanish from every home, vault, and business in the city.

Posted by: K at September 8, 2005 02:50 PM

You gotta remember this is goverment Zsa Zsa, even (or especially) corrupt governments rely on property taxes to fund projects, the deeds may be in the basement but the property tax records are on the top floor somewhere, they can reconstruct the deeds from those. I'd be shocked it they weren't stored in 2 locations, one paper and one electronic. As far as New Orleans not growing to match Miami and Houston it had nowhere to grow to. It covered most of the available ground by 1930.

Posted by: bullwinkle at September 8, 2005 03:00 PM

Bullwinkle, I can always count on you for answers! You are the smart one...Thanks once again.

Posted by: Homer J. at September 8, 2005 03:34 PM

Bullwinkle is smart and oh so right about most everything! Check out his sight about Arnold Schwartzenager or how ever you spell it! ...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 8, 2005 03:42 PM

re Bullwinkle.

Very good point about tax records. In most areas they do not prove title but they are evidence. Income tax filings can be retrieved from the IRS. The owners who have or recently had a mortgage will also find that title insurers, banks, and other lenders do keep duplicate records off-site. They know who owns what.

As I said the worst reports usually aren't true anyway. Even well soaked records can usually be salvaged.

Title can be established in the long term. But the poor and infirm often don't have the long term. If your personal records are lost, your city has lost the title records, your potential witnesses - neighbors, etc. - have been evacuated to somewhere or have died, you have a real problem. Getting it all sorted out in five or ten years isn't very helpful.

In NO we seem to have a perfect mess given to the most inept local government in America to fix. I hope that is unneeded gloom - my being mistaken is a lot less important than the people afflicted down there.

Posted by: K at September 8, 2005 03:55 PM

The assault on President Bush by Democratic leaders are totally pathetic! Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid should be ashamed to be so obvious! Will they stop at nothing to attack the President?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 8, 2005 04:17 PM

Is today Thursday?...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 8, 2005 07:57 PM