The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long

Despite its slow death at the hands of Athenae, the New OrleansTimes Picayunereports on population trends in post-Katrina South Louisiana:

Louisiana’s
latest population forecast suggests southern parishes will continue
leading the state in growth for the next two decades…

That’s great!

Hurricane
Katrina, however, knocked some parishes in different directions, most
notably Orleans
, said Troy Blanchard, a Louisiana State University
sociologist who conducted the research…

That’s pisser.

New
Orleans was in a four-decade slide before Katrina, then took an abrupt
population decline when the federal levees failed and flooded most of
the city. Now, Blanchard said, New
Orleans is positioned to grow slowly over the next two decades,
although it still won’t reach its pre-Katrina population in that time
frame.

“Grow slowly” seems to be a hideous
overstatement, given the data. Blanchard’s study projects the
population of New Orleans to increase by 15,000 (from 260k to 275k*)
over the next 20 years!
That’s practically no growth at all! I mean, for a city that lost a
quarter million people after the Federal Flood, and which has gained
back 100,000 in the past three years, to add only 15k more over the
nexttwenty years is a profoundly discouraging thought.

In fact, I reject that thought. That forecast is entirely unacceptable to me. I will not entertain it.

Having trouble… avoiding it… 15k over 20 years… that grim projection still haunts me.

I will attempt to distract myself withpron stars and unicorn blog flair (press press press)Cornify

p>Not
enough of a mind-eraser. It’s difficult to understand, but that “slow
growth” forecast reads to me like a “slow death sentence”. New Orleans’
problems over the coming decades are too vast and too deep for the
current population to handle. The city needs to re-populate and grow,
or else it will collapse. Actually, projecting growth of 15k residents
over the next twenty years is probably theleast likely scenario. If the city doesn’t grow by at least 100k, I believe, it will effectively implode.

It will become a truly dystopian urban landscape, a laBlade Runner.
Everyone who can leave, will. They’ll go to the functioning “off world”
cities, and only the poor, the afflicted, and the holdouts will remain.
(Except for the occasional visit from violent robots seeking refuge.) If you
thought New Orleans’ “decrepitude” was already “accelerated”, you ain’t
seen nothing yet. The frustration here is already high, given our
leaders’ corruption and incompetence, and the national recession hasn’t even
“hit” us yet. In a few years, if the rest of the country is recovering
while we’re still wallowing in our microsolutions to megaproblems, many
New Orleanians (perhaps not excluding myself) will get too fed up to
continue fighting the good fight. The population will decrease, and the
problems will be magnified. If you think post-FF New Orleans can
seamlessly transform into a coastal “boutique” city like
Savannahston… you got another thing coming.

It’s frustrating. Here’s a distracting tangent that I’ll pursue for therapeutic purposes. Indulge me.

Does anyone else notice that Harrison Ford’s character inBlade Runner isn’t much of a Replicant bounty hunter?

In
his first altercation, he’s backstage at a club and gets sucker-punched
by a half naked female Replicant who strangles him with his tie. He’s
saved by a timely interruption– a gaggle of showgirls enter the
dressing room. (Later he’s able to shoot the unarmed replicant in the
back.)

Then Deckard is in the street when a stronger male
Replicant grabs him and slaps his gun away. He keeps his sense of humor
as the Replicant tosses him around, busting him up, and is just about
to have his brain poked in when a personal assistant finds the gun on
the ground and shoots the Replicant for him.

Later Deckard is
able to overcome an unarmed Replicant “pleasure model” who tries to
strangle him with her thighs. Then he gets abused and toyed with by a
Replicant ubermensch who decides to save Deckard from falling to his
death just before the Replicant himself expires.

Then Deckard grabs his new girlfriend and gets out of town.


* The 260k number is probably low. New Orleans’ population is closer to
300k, perhaps over. But the projected rate of growth is what I’m
concerned with.

12 thoughts on “The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long

  1. If you think post-FF New Orleans can seamlessly transform into a coastal “boutique” city like Savannahston… you got another thing coming.
    Unfortunately it’s that thought from which much of the city’s well-to-do white population has remained unmoved since mere hours after the flood.

  2. 15,000 growth on 300,000 population is even worse than it would be for 260,000, actually.
    The 20-year growth rate in the US between the 1980 census and 2000 census was over 23%. It was 26% between 1960 and 1980. Just keeping up with population growth, you’d expect 60,000+ new New Orleaneans. A quarter of that represents a practical contraction of the city.

  3. Keep in mind, this is not the first population estimate/projection to come down the pipe since the flood. And it won’t be the last. Each is a guess much like a market or sports projection and based only on what we think we know at any given point.
    But the set of known knowns changes over time and even the knowns we think we know now are made different by the currently unknowable unknown knowns as they emerge into known knownness.
    In other words, what the hell do we know, and who are we to presume to know that the future is irretrievably gloomy based only on what we know we don’t really know.
    This is especially useless to contemplate this near to Carnival.

  4. I tried to find the actual report online since Mark Waller didn’t bother to share its basic assumptions and methodology with his readers, but I couldn’t find it. The reporting wasn’t quite as shitty as the reports that told us the metro economy was booming because we added 11,000 jobs in the metro area last year (the reports didn’t mention anything about population rebound), but close.
    The projection for St. Tammany is laughable. As last month’s census report indicated, the St. Tammanards have already started to return home, but I’m sure that the projections were partially based on the temporary influx of Chalmatians into St. Tammany, orSt. Tammanard. Who knows how much of the twenty year projection was based on a temporary bump of maybe 20,000 (about 10% of St. Tammany pre-K pop.) in a one or two year period. Beyond that, to have that kind of growth in St. Tammany, either gasoline prices would have to remain at, or below, their current levels, or more companies would have to follow Chevron’s lead. I’d like to know if they based the projection on either assumption or just on recent, but already out-of-date, trends.
    Of course, there is rather obvious reason to react suspicious cynicism as opposed to amused skepticism:
    The purpose of the study is to help policy makers plan for road construction, health care, education and other services, Paterson said. Businesses also use the data to plan new locations and create marketing strategies.
    Not that two people in B.R. would have any ulterior motives for saying that’s it’s inevitable that Baton Rouge will be mor populous than N.O.

  5. Oyster, I think you’re probably overly gloomy in your predictions about the slow death of NO. No provable data behind what I say, just my thought. What’s wrong with a city of 275,000 people?

  6. “What’s wrong with a city of 275,000 people?”
    Granted, this is a pessimistic post, and there is nothing wrong with a city of 275k in general. But 275k people in New Orleans can’t support or pay the looming infrastructure and energy costs that are on the horizon. The city is balancing its budget with Federal money. If new people aren’t coming in, ruined houses won’t be rebuilt and the “jack o’lantern” effect will prevent neighborhoods from being restored. The Saints and the Hornets will leave, businesses won’t grow as they otherwise would, New Orleans’ political clout will evaporate… I think there are too many “vicious cycles” that will occur if our growth is basically stagnant for the next twenty years.

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