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August 30, 2007

An Open Letter of Sorts to New Orleans

This is really getting tiresome.

Before Katrina or "pre-K" as the locals say, Ventura worked in real estate and owned several rental properties. But all of that changed when the levees broke. Storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain inundated their house with 7.5 feet of water. The couple were displaced, and to make ends meet Ventura took a temporary job as a loss verifier for the Small Business Administration. His wife continued her studies in occupational therapy.

Ventura, like many others, feels like New Orleans has been forgotten.

"America really doesn't give a s*** about New Orleans. We forget. The bridge that collapsed [in Minnesota] -- it's gone, it's yesterday's news. The miners -- if they're not digging a sixth hole, we forget about them. We as a society, we really don't give a damn," Ventura said.

In the two years since the hurricane hit, Congress has appropriated $114 billion to the rebuilding of the region. Church groups and missions organizations from across the country send crews there on a regular basis to help rebuild and clean up the storm damage. The Red Cross spent about $2 billion in the region after the storm. World Vision spent $12 million. The Salvation Army spent $84 million. Volunteers from Samaritan's Purse and Habitat for Humanity have been there since the storm, fixing houses. Countless other charity organizations have also spent significant time and money in the region.

There comes a point where charity has to end, and some of the city's residents have to make the conscious decision to start rebuilding their neighborhoods and lives instead of spending so much time blaming everyone else for the lack of progress in recovery. We're a generous nation, and we've demonstrated that in New Orleans.

I know this rant seems unsympathetic, but all I ask is that the complainers (and the mayor) who talk to the media stop insulting the country that has given them so much. We do care, we do want to help. And a special note to "The Deciders" - it would be nice to see just one story where New Orleans residents thank America for its generosity instead of calling us cheap and asking for more, more more. As noted in the comments, those people exist. How about doing some, you know, reporting and less narrative-setting?

We've given them a lot of fish. Time for the complainers to pick up the net.

Note - Made some changes to keep from sounding as though I'm indicting the entire population of the city.

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posted by Slublog at 09:35 AM

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