Wed Sep 28, 2005
The Mysteries of New Orleans
Twenty-five Questions about the Murder of the Big Easy
by Mike Davis & Anthony Fontenot
We recently spent a week in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana interviewing relief workers, community activists, urban planners, artists, and neighborhood folks. Even as the latest flood waters from Hurricane Rita recede, the city remains submerged in anger and frustration.
Indeed, the most toxic debris in New Orleans isn't the sinister gray sludge that coats the streets of the historic Creole neighborhood of Treme or the Lower Ninth Ward, but all the unanswered questions that have accumulated in the wake of so much official betrayal and hypocrisy. Where outsiders see simple "incompetence" or "failure of leadership," locals are more inclined to discern deliberate design and planned neglect -- the murder, not the accidental death, of a great city.
In almost random order, here are twenty-five of the urgent questions that deeply trouble the local people we spoke with. Until a grand jury or congressional committee begins to uncover the answers, the moral (as opposed to simply physical) reconstruction of the New Orleans region will remain impossible.
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