Monday, September 05, 2005

Chronicle this, Anne Rice!

The ever-intrepid Anne Rice wants to know why the federal government ignored New Orleans' call for help. As far as I'm concerned, the call for help wasn't ignored because none was ever made until days after the horror began. It wasn't until the government saw that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco weren't up to the task in 1) asking for help, 2) initiating the call for National Guard troops (which is the governor's responsibility) and 3) getting rescue and relief efforts coordinated. Not once was there a command post setup. It was each politician doing what they do best ... shifting blame and responsibility to someone else. Nagin, Blanco and the rest of the politicians serving Orleans Parish and surrounding areas didn't act quick enough on their part to save their constituents.

Are we hearing complaints from Mississippi and Alabama about the lack of response from the federal government? No, because those state governments reacted promptly, efficiently and effectively. You only read and hear about the lack of response to New Orleans because it's such a cluster in the city and the state politicians, knowing that it's their fault, realize they need to shift blame elsewhere. This isn't a Democrat vs. Republican issue. I'd be just as hard on those involved no matter their political affiliation.

"They didn't have any place to go," (Rice) wrote. "They are the poor, black and white, who dwell in any city in great numbers; and they did what they felt they could do — they huddled together in the strongest houses they could find. There was no way to up and leave and check into the nearest Ramada Inn."

Anne, they are rich, middle class, poor, black, white, sick and healthy. However, let's take a look at her "poor, black and white" comment. Where were the rich, black and white politicians who serve New Orleans, Kenner, Metairie and other devastated areas? That's right, they got their collective butts out of town and let their "poor, black and white" constituents to fend for themselves. Blame the federal government if you like, Anne, but take a long hard look at Nagin, Blanco and the city's other political factions. Other than controlling the flow of return by Jefferson Parish residents, what did Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee do before the storm to evacuate and protect his constituents?

Again, this is all in my humble opinion.


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