Friday, September 16, 2005

My City My Home

I got into an interesting discussion with one of my very good friends online last night. She lived in New Orleans until Katrina and now is planning to hundreds of others. I tried to get her to see the positives about staying. She could only see the negatives. I tried to tell her that things would change, she said they'd stay the same. I said businesses would come, she said they would go and stay away. She would abandon the city that I call home. That I myself abandoned 3 years ago for greener pastures thinking one day of returning to my city, my home.

It is calling me, but I'm still not sure when. Some say it's fool-hearty to rebuild. People say it'll happen again. But what about California? Cities are built on fault lines. If the big one comes, would they just move away? What about the Carolinas? Getting hit by a hurricane as we speak. Would they just leave the place never to return if the big one comes? Living in New York or DC is like living in a magnet for terrorism. But they're rebuilding (which I think is a stupid idea only to say "Hey look at us, we're going to build something larger for you to knock down!").

Like much of the country, New Orleans is al resillient as the next city. There's no reason to give up on the place. We all know the NO had its share of problems. Bad economy, high crime, poor public schools. But that's much like many American urban centers in the days of outsourcing and importing. Why should we close our doors when we can fix our problems. We can rebuilt it and build it differently, build it better. I know it's going to take a boat load of money, but we can do it. Sure up the levees. Build homes on stilts. Build buidings with 1st floors used as meeting space as opposed to infrastructure. Lift the city. There are things that can be done.

My good friend told me that you can't control Mother Nature. True, but as the old addage goes, "You can't stop her, you can only try to contain her." This gives us an opportunity to develop new technologies aimed at changing water flow or containing the great force of a hurricane. We have an opportunity to learn how to somehow harness the power (maybe a windmill) of a natural disaster and use it for good. This gives us an opportunity to build structures anew gearing them for new business and industry. But more inportantly this gives us an opportunity to teach people the importance of jobs, hard work and having your own. This shows that the government can't and won't do everything for you. Having your own resources to recover is much more important than the government itself.

Maybe I am a little fool-hearty. Maybe I am being a little bold and brash. Maybe I am saying these things because New Orleans is my home and no one wants to see his home left for dead. But I truly believe in the opportunity this great tragedy has brought us.

New Orleans can be reborn.

New city, my home. N.O. Forever


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