Sunday, January 25, 2009

Is It Time to Leave New Orleans?

I have been troubled at the volume of murders happening in New Orleans at the beginning of 2009. There seems to be more of it taking place now than even before the Federal Flood. Keith Spera writes in today's Times Picayune an excellent reflective piece.

I think it is important to read

Spera writes:
"Until now, my wife and I have chosen to remain in the neighborhood and accept whatever risk that entails. But what of our responsibility to our child?

Does it make sense to raise her in a neighborhood, or a city, where killing is routine?

If not, when do we leave? And how far do we go?

How many other New Orleanians -- natives, like myself, and relative newcomers, like my wife -- ask themselves this same question?

Or do we all live in a state of denial?"

Something has to be done to make New Orleans safer. It will take more than good schools and an economic development program that truly distributes more jobs to residents beyond the tourist sector. Multiple systems have fallen apart and need to be repaired or replaced. Indeed, a whole culture may have to change on multiple fronts--political, social, community.

How we got here--historically there are numerous points we can find. How we go forward--if the will exists, it will still take time and more importantly for the disenfranchised there will need to be "proof" that viable alternatives to hopeless life exists.

I hate to see my city decay in this way, but it may be time for those who do have families to reconsider if it is worth it to LIVE in the city.

1 comment:

Vicky said...

I know it's not popular to say, but this is probably the biggest reason we are leaving soon, along with the general stress level that living in the NOLA area entails. There are so many things I will miss about New Orleans, but things like people being constantly on edge and ready to hurt you or on a less serious level, honk at you the microsecond you don't go when a light turns green, I will not miss. Mobile and Pensacola ain't NOLA, but I feel a general "lifting of the stress veil" when I'm there. The pace of life is slower, people are more apt to be courteous, and most likely, you won't get shot. You also don't have to go into debt each month just to have a home in which to live and to eat, like with NOLA, post-Katrina. The cost of living in NOLA has become prohibitively expensive for middle-class families - the wages, post-Katrina, although higher, have still not kept up with the rapid pace of insurance and property tax hikes and everything else under the sun going up.

I will always value the time I have lived here, but it's time for me to get some goats and sheep, have a (bigger) veggie garden, and do my part to be carbon neutral.