You may be interested to know what, exactly, the editorial board of the Gannett-owned The Town Talk, the largest newspaper in Central Louisiana, thinks about your City and the work many of you have done to rebuild.
They don’t believe you’re worthy of a visit from the President of the United States:
Only one thing is wrong with the itinerary: The president and his entourage should not be going to New Orleans. They should head elsewhere — perhaps to Lake Charles, in Calcasieu Parish, or just south of that to Cameron Parish. If President Obama would like to see something uplifting — and share that with a nation that really needs some good news — he should steer Air Force One west of New Orleans and have a look around.
The post-hurricane difference is simple and striking: After Katrina, New Orleans held out its hands, looking for others to do the work. After Rita, Lake Charles and other hard-hit communities did not wait for the government to show up with a check. Instead, they picked up their chain saws and mosquito repellent and got busy. The recovery there and most everywhere outside of New Orleans is stunning by comparison. That is due to the nature of the people and their expectations, as individuals and as members of a community.
My first thought after reading this: Hateful. This is hateful.
Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural/man-made disaster in the history of the United States. Nearly 2,000 people lost their lives because of the storm. 80% of the City of New Orleans was underwater. Katrina caused over $100 billion worth of damages.
Katrina and Rita were completely different storms, and to suggest, in any way, that Lake Charles has “recovered” more effectively (from a completely different event) because they refused to “wait” for a hand-out from the government is absurd, hateful, and shamelessly reductionist. The levees didn’t fail in Lake Charles, because there isn’t a levee system in Lake Charles. People weren’t forced onto their rooftops in Lake Charles, because Lake Charles did not go underwater.
To the editorial board:
Tell that to the thousands and thousands of people who have worked incessantly to rebuild their homes, their businesses, and their neighborhoods.
Tell that to the people who have invested and risked everything they have- not “government” money, their money- to reclaim and rebuild.
If I could apologize on behalf of my hometown newspaper, the Gannett-owned The Town Talk, I would. But the truth is: They need to apologize for their myopia and their ignorance. They need to apologize for mistaking what happened in Lake Charles for what happened to the people of New Orleans. They need to apologize to the people victimized by Hurricane Katrina, people who lost everything they had, for implying that their community is not worthy of the President’s attention. They need to apologize for the mere implication that New Orleanians cared more for a “hand-out” than for the future of their City.