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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why come back (and why not come back) - PostGustav Evacuation

O.K. That’s it I’ve had it. I am tired of unthinking or flat foolish people saying things regarding our return to OUR CITY!

So let’s list it out for those who can’t think it out for themselves:

1) My job requires me to return. Yeah they can make a lot of noise about “Tier 1″, but there are MANY companies who have to know that their PEOPLE are back before we begin to get our city back (power or no power). Let’s think about who these companies are. Let’s take the example of the saints game this weekend. WHO do we neeed? Ticket takers, concession stand workers, parking lot workers, cleaning staff, building maintenenace staff, security staff. Now that you are thinking about the fact that you need your fellow citizens start thinking about other services. Do you want your gabage picked up? Do you want to be able to go to the grocery store? Do you want to be able to fill your tank? Do you think filling your tank takes place 100% withOUT people? We are all Tier 1 because without citizens there is no city.

2) My finances require me to return. Some of us are lucky enough to have family and friends to take us in indefinately and do NOT have to return to work. Thank goodness for family and friends. Some of us have the means to fly to New York or California or Europe. Yes believe it or not some New Orleanians spent their Katrina evacuation in France. Some of us have the financial means to whip out a Credit Card and stay indefinately in a hotel. Think about the people who make up this city. REALLY think about it. Think about the state of the economy in this country and tell me that you realy believe that the bulk of the citizens of New Orleans, many who are financially strapped because of Katrina Recovery, and tell me you can’t understand why they might want to come home.

3) My house is MY HOUSE and it is MY HOME! While family and friends are great and a hotel stay may be fun, my house is my home. I want to see how it faired in the storm. If there are damages that need to be addressed I want to do it as fast as possible to prevent further damage. But more importantly ESPECIALLY POSTKATRINA! I want to be HOME, in my HOUSE, in my neighborhood! Kids want a return to normalcy. They want to go to THIER Schools with THEIR Friends and not to an “evacuation school”. People who could not go home quickly postKatrina want to come home quickly now. There is very little to prevent this.

That said there are some reasons to stay away. Let’s talk about those.

1) If you have critical medicial needs: like a requirement for oxygen (which requries power) or dialysis or ongoing speciality disease treatment that can be handled by facilities where you are, you need to stay where these services are readily available. Yes, we have hospitals. But the entire electrical transmission system (the interstate highway of power) is severely damaged. NorthWest Carrollton does not currently have power. Even if we get power as the systems are repaired there maybe temporary but significant power outages. THINK before you move if you have medical needs.
2) The entire electrical transmission system (the interstate highway of power) is severely damaged. Yes, Entergy is working diligently to repair this system, but this is NOT just a New Orleans problem this is a River Parish problem that includes Baton Rouge (and I’m not talking about the governor, I’m talking about the power grid infrastructure.) So if you want to come home KNOW that you could be in the dark and living out of an ice chest and cooking on the grill for quite some time. No power, No Air Conditioning! Can you and your family stand each other for days in the heat? Do you have a generator and the means to fill it with gas? Do you have ice chests and the means to fill them with food? Because their are few to no groceries open today. Make SURE that you have enough gas for your vehicle to get you all the way HOME. No power, no working gas pumps. THINK camping. Think October 2005. Think seriously roughing it. Make an informed decision.

IF you do return, Think traffic safety! Assume every non-functioning traffic signal is a 4 way stop. People have reverted to PostKatrina driving habits and not all of these are good. Be safe. Make an informed decision.

The city needs to think about this:
People won’t leave if they can’t come back.

Let us not forget that the people who live in New Orleans survived the months following Katrina. Power? Please. Post K I didn’t have Gas at my house and therefore no heat and no hot water until Christmas 2005. Flushing the toilet with a bucket, yep. We lived in houses with gutted bottom floors with NOTHING in them and if we were lucky enough to have 2nd floors lived there or in formaldehyde FEMA tin cans. We lived in these circumstances for MONTHS, not days. MONTHS. Some of us YEARS. If there is one thing that the politians in the city of New Orleans should know by now is that we are tough enough to deal with adversity. We can live without power. We can cook on our grills. We can haul in food and water if that is what we are told to do. We can make the determination NOT to return if we feel that is best for our own personal circumstances. But I believe that the at the very least what we have earned is the right to make our own determination about what is best for us. The Mayor needs to stop acting like Big Brother and should not treat me or my neighbors as children.

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