Report from Louisiana: On this Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina…

Posted: August 29, 2022 by Pat Austin in Uncategorized
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Photo by William Recinos on Unsplash

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi.

Here in Shreveport, we are usually unaffected by hurricanes but the reverberations from Katrina still linger throughout the state, and neighboring states. Many folks more knowledgeable than I about New Orleans would tell you that the city still is not the same; others would say that’s not a bad thing.

There’s no question that the city is changed but it’s not all Katrina’s fault. Heaped onto the damage by the hurricane, the people of New Orleans have done an astoundingly effective job at electing (and re-electing) leaders to further its ruin.

Going all the way back to Mayor Ray Nagin who was absolutely ineffective during the actual time of Katrina, taking refuge in the Hyatt hotel where he stayed cloistered on the several floors he commandeered. His errors were tenfold and errors on top of those landed him in prison until 2024.

Then came Mitch Landrieu who attempted to solve the city’s problems by removing statues and writing a book while the crime rate soared. Equity circles were supposed to solve everything.

And now we have LaToya “The Destroya” Cantrell who is surpassed both Nagin and Landrieu in decimating the city and ensuring it will never be the grand lady it used to be.

Crime has reached epic levels in New Orleans and it is no wonder; last week the mayor popped into Juvenile Court in support of a carjacker while the victims sat by dumbfounded:

Cantrell surprised juvenile court officials and the district attorney’s office with her unannounced court appearance Thursday in which she sat with the young perpetrator’s family as he was sentenced to probation for three first-degree robbery convictions, committed when the defendant was only 13.

The kid participated in multiple carjackings using a toy gun that fooled his victims. Meanwhile, the city’s police force is at a 50-year low in manpower, a fact which earlier in the month prompted Cantrell to threaten to cancel Mardi Gras which as we all know is the city’s major tourism revenue source. She has since walked that back but imagine!

Oddly enough she was overwhelmingly re-elected in November 2021.

As a lifelong Louisiana resident, it is sad to see what is happening there. Not all of the decline is the fault of elected officials. Covid didn’t help any nor did the city’s response to it.

Incidentally, I just finished re-reading James Lee Burke’s Katrina novel, Tin Roof Blowdown. I read that one again every couple of years because it is a beautiful piece of work; tragic, of course. But Burke is entertaining, and poetic and it has always interested me that the complexity of his work slips by so many. This novel grew out of a short story, “Jesus Out to Sea,” and it has all of the hallmarks we expect from Burke. Can New Orleans ever regain its grandeur? Of course it can. Part of the charm of the city is its oddities and its ability to morph into something else yet never change.  Despite the destruction of decades of Democratic mayors, New Orleans still stands. And people still flock to it because there is no other place like it, for good or bad.

  1. Pod Hamp says:

    Thanks. You are such a good source of information about the state.

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