Many, including blogging wingnuts, the Bush administration, Haley Barbour, have had their hand in the development of the Katrina narrative of Mississippi is doing great so any failures in recovery in Louisiana must be the fault of that state’s corrupt government and its lazy people and certainly nothing to do with President Bush or the federal government. An example of this narrative would be this from Jonah Pantload’s August 31, 2006 LA Times piece titled:Give Bush a Break…
Long before Katrina, New Orleans was a dysfunctional city in a state
with famously corrupt and incompetent leadership, many of whose
residents think that it is the job of the federal government to make
The Mississippi coast was hit harder by Katrina
than New Orleans was. And although New Orleans’ levee failure was a
unique problem — one the local leadership ignored for decades — the
devastation in Mississippi was in many respects more severe. And you
know what? Mississippi has the same federal government as Louisiana,
and reconstruction there is going gangbusters while, after more than
$120 billion in federal spending, New Orleans remains a basket case.
Here’s a wacky idea: Maybe it’s notall Bush’s fault.
Of course the reconstruction of the MS coast was not “going gangbusters.”
In fact MS still struggles. The Sun Herald is running a 2 part series on Pearlington, MS titled–“Pearlington:Still in Great Need.” Here is part…
Before Katrina, Pearlington was isolated, a little lonely, and many
locals preferred it that way. After Katrina, that made recovery
difficult, to put it mildly. Now, however, an unending stream of
volunteers and do-gooders from across the country – and in some cases
around the world – coaxes the community of 1,000 or so back to its
feet, ensuring its long-term survival. Still, the short-term recovery
is far from done.
“If we hadn’t had those volunteers, we wouldn’t
be here,” said Rodrick “Rocky” Pullman, president of the Hancock County
Board of Supervisors and longtime Pearlington resident. “There’s not
many homes in Pearlington that were repaired that didn’t get some
assistance from some type of volunteers. They’ve impacted just about
every person’s life in Pearlington.”
Pullman said there were about 900 homes pre-Katrina and there are about 350 habitable to almost-habitable ones now.
So in direct contradiction to the aformentioned wingnut/Republican Katrina narrative, almost 2/3 of Pearlington MS hasnot been rebuilt and what has been rebuilt was very much due tooutside volunteers.
Whenever I have written of this false Katrina narrative I have made mention that not only does it hurt the people of Louisiana but also the people of Mississippi. Louisiana is taken down and MS built up in ways that do not reflect reality for either. While Louisiana is vilified, Mississippi has been vaulted yet the needs of each have been neglected as a result.
What is interesting now though is toread the comments to the Sun Herald’s piece on Pearlington. Here is the first comment…
MY GOD! Get up off your butts and do the work yoursevles and quit
begging and depending on everyone else in the country to keep taking
care of you. For all the sake in the world, get jobs wherever you have
to. Get out of that losing state if you have to. Get a life for real.
It’s been three, do you hear me, three years that the rest of the
country has taken care of you and we are sick of it.
From there you have those either chiming in with blame or others defending the good folk of Pearlington. This of course would be very familiar territory for New Orleanians who have had to defend themselves time and again in various forums on and off the internets. In fact one commenter, whether with all due seriousness or in the attempt to capture the obvious irony, posted this…
So, according to these posts, Pearlington is a soup bowl filled with
crime, drugs and lazy, stupid idiots who look for handouts, and play
the blame game. Huh, sounds like New Orleans.
So now Mississippians are in the same boat as New Orleanians. Once upon a time they were applauded for pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and now they are lazy begging losers in a loser state. It really was inevitable. When reality can be twisted once it can be twisted again and again. And as I feared, being caught in the middle and used in a false narrative is a dangerous proposition and so very cruel in the end…