Becky Fenger Fenger PointingSEPTEMBER 1, 2010

Deadly corruption

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Our nation got a look at the city of New Orleans this past weekend as the media marked the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s path of destruction. Most of the coverage centered on how much of the city has been rebuilt since that time, and whether or not the federal government has done enough to restore The Crescent City to its former self. I heard no discussions of a determination to avoid the corruption that led to the worst of the devastation.

Instead, we were treated to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and her brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, complaining that the feds haven’t poured enough billions into their state so their constituents wouldn’t have to rely on people helping themselves.

Back in September of 2005, I wrote that it was about time for us to chop off the stamens and pistils of the greenies who are endangering human life in favor of plants and animals and time to hold the Sierra Club, et al, responsible for their part in the wreckage along the Gulf Coast. One could see this disaster coming.

In the 1970s, Federal Judge Charles Schwartz, Jr., ruled a project that would prevent a storm surge from flooding New Orleans through Lake Pontchartrain “will irreparably harm all persons in New Orleans.” In so ruling, Schwartz effectively halted all such projects in eastern Louisiana and set the stage for tragedy.

It was environmental groups who filed a suit at the U.S. District Court in New Orleans to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from upgrading and fortifying 303 miles of levees along the Mississippi River in Louisiana and Mississippi. After winning a judgment in 1997, the wackos had all work halted in the name of saving the Louisiana black bear and breeding birds.

To make matters worse, even before Katrina hit, senior officials in the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness were awaiting trial over allegations of mismanagement, waste and missing funds. Sixty million dollars of FEMA funds intended for improvements of flood control facilities and retrofits of property had vanished without a trace!

Author and urban development scholar Joel Kotkin spent time in Houston with the Hurricane Katrina evacuees and questioned them if they were bothered by the corruption in New Orleans that led to some of their problems. He was told: “We like our politics like our rice – dirty.” No wonder it’s called “The Big Easy!” How can a city clean up its act when residents are proud of their colorful crooks?

Pundits this week again questioned whether racism played a role in the belated help coming from government subdivisions. If you remember, race-baiter Jesse Jackson (he has had one too many love children for me to call him “Reverend”) ranted about the poor blacks who were “left behind” in New Orleans by Whitey. Sorry, Jesse, but that wouldn’t explain why your black brother, Mayor Ray Nagin, didn’t order a mandatory evacuation and use the hundreds of buses in his city to carry the people to safety. Jackson’s defense of Nagin was that “the buses had no clear destination,” as if just heading north wouldn’t have been a safe move. Good grief.

Nagin also claimed at the time that the buses sat there until they were buried in water because there were no drivers. That’s a pathetic excuse. He must have felt silly when he heard about the high school kid who took the keys to one of the school buses, picked up one straggler after another and headed to Houston.

Here’s the best part of the story. Upon arriving at the entrance to the Astrodome for shelter, the kid and his “hitchhikers” were refused entrance by a gatekeeper because, “We are expecting evacuees in Greyhound buses.”

“But I couldn’t steal a Greyhound bus,” replied the kid. Thank the lord for a Red Cross worker who made the bean counter allow them access to unload. I wonder if they fined the kid for not being a trained bus driver.

All of this is in stark contrast to the floods throughout the Midwest not long ago where more people were killed or made homeless than in New Orleans. Unlike the barrels of cash that were sent to New Orleans, President Barack Obama failed to send aid to the Midwest. But they rebuilt by themselves in short order. Not one peep of this accomplishment was uttered by those who want to keep blacks ensconced in their victimhood.