In the last several days the tragic fifth anniversary of the devastation inflicted upon the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in particular was observed. There is a very interesting article on the Time.Com website that is quite revealing, and highlights a long lingering series of problems, however it really misses the point we should have learned.
Time is correct in highlighting the desperate and long neglected need to restore the wetlands. Time again is correct in drawing attention to the numerous errors that have taken place with the Army Corp of Engineers under federal government supervision.
In all the television coverage and print journalism that flooded our eyes and ears during the anniversary of the Katrina tragedy, absent is any discussion of the years of total neglect and corruption that ran rampant throughout the political understructure along the Gulf Coast. Had political leadership not been so corrupt and inefficient, the disaster would not have been avoided, but the people would have been protected and evacuated.
The incidents of political neglect and ineffectiveness are far too numerous to list. This situation has gone on for years, and you have no doubt read many stories of political shortcomings. People would not have been stranded had the hundreds of local school buses been put to use, and the levees would have held had the local levee board not been so corrupt. Yes, the federal government response was lacking, but where is the identification of the real cause of death and destruction? Why did the Louisiana Governor or New Orleans Mayor fail to call for federal assistance earlier, and why did neither demand evacuation of the area until it was too late?
Tragically, we are experiencing a continuation of another cover-up of the real problems facing that part of America, and we are going to repeat this situation again and again until we recognize the multiple causes of the tragedy. Until we address the root tribulations how many times should we or can we afford to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast? Politicians, and political organizations have repeatedly failed the people, and everyone seems to ignore the fact that New Orleans is below sea level. (There are a couple of other populated places in the country that are below sea level, but they are in the desert southwest.)
Hand-outs of money have proven to not be the answer, but honest local and federal leadership is essential to direct restoration and long-term achievement. It is now time to make an honest and objective analysis; outline solutions without emotional bleeding hearts.
New Orleans will be struck again by a mega-storm at some future date and time, but will we have learned our lessons to be prepared to prevent another tragedy? If we get the politics and corruption out of the equation there is a chance for success, but if we do not there will be another dramatic loss of lives all over again.