Scout says something here which I think is particularly important to highlight:
New Orleans is a major port for the US and South Louisiana is a major provider of natural gas, oil and refineries for that oil. The area has assumed great risk (coastal wetland destruction, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet) to provide goods and energy to the country. (for more go here) It all came crashing down on them with Katrina.
The people of New Orleans had assumed they were protected. They weren’t. Having assumed risks to meet the needs of the country they believed there would have been a recovery response equal to the destruction they have endured.
It’s a point I don’t think has been made often enough in the aftermath of Katrina, that when you strip away all the crap about whose taxes go where, it’s about the standard of our mutual dependence on one another.
So much of the post-Katrina coverage from faraway focused on how tragic it was for every pinhead who visited New Orleans once (and yes, I’m referring here to the president) to not have their vacation memories anymore, as though the reason places exist is to give tourists backdrops for their nostalgia. Few words were said about what we owed New Orleans, for what they’d done for us, in practical terms.
Much as I used to joke about throwing Texas back into the ocean (before I met Tena), when you get right down to it every place in America makes up America, and thus we all are responsible for all of it.