First of all - Kudos to the New York Times for keeping up with the continued scandal down here. I love this article, because it does a great job of highlighting the corrupt local government - but also the strong will and gumption of the New Orleanians still trying to rebuild their city.
Favorite quote from the article: "The classic New Orleans blend of possible corruption and certain mismanagement has dominated headlines for days..."
Doesn't that just sum it up perfectly...
The second article is from the Times Picayune (the local paper). I thought this was interesting:
"In pitching the idea, Nagin said nonprofits providing gutting services had become overwhelmed. The city, he said, should pick up the slack."
Interesting - because the year he pitched and started this city program - was the same year that the city stopped picking up debris piles for non-profits who were gutting, which by the way - was the only "overwhelming" part of the gutting efforts that year.
We're a few weeks away from the three year anniversary, and I would say the greatest block to recovery progress right now, are the government officials being tasked with distributing relief money. You know what - I'll even go as far as saying -they have been the greatest block to recovery efforts this whole damn time.
It was FEMA who kept people in limbo for a year or more after the storm - while they developed flood maps of the city and corresponding rebuilding requirements. Before that was released (A YEAR OR MORE AFTER KATRINA) -- nobody could even start on their home.
It was the city who has refused to hire any additional electrical inspectors - even though nobody can close their walls back up until they've had their house inspected, 80% of the city has or will have electrical work done, and there are only FOUR INSPECTORS FOR THE WHOLE PARISH.
It was city officials who shut non-profit gutters out of the schools, so that three years later - many of them have still NOT BEEN TOUCHED AT ALL since Katrina - despite an army of free labor ready and willing to get the ball rolling.
It was FEMA - who provided trailers filled with formaldahide and mold for people to live in, while they took their sweet time with the flood maps.
Recovery dollars are still in limbo THREE YEARS LATER - because city and state officials cannot agree on how they should be spent. And the dollars that have been appropriated to New Orleans - are being tucked into the pockets of fat city officials - who MAKE UP FAKE ADDRESSES, claim to work on a house - and then demolish the same house (WITH TAX DOLLARS), and hire their buddies at ludicrous rates to run the whole circus.
Meanwhile - we've got citizens driving around in their cars after work - investigating city programs and reporting it to federal authorities. We've got teachers and volunteers painting classrooms and building libraries for their schools, because the money hasn't come through yet...
The people here are continually striving to get their lives back, and the government - so much of the time - is continually in their way.