Katrina Plus Nine Years

Yeah, things are obviously far, far better nine years on since Hurricane Katrina came ashore and tore asunder New Orleans and a good chunk of the surrounding area. But, you know, if people aren't stranded on rooftops and on the interstate highway, then it's a damn sight improved. There has been much rebuilding all over. But in some areas, things have just gone back to a state of nature, like this site that used to have a home on it in the Gentilly neighborhood:

Or some places have been abandoned in the same state they were in August 2005, like this house in the Lower Ninth Ward in a photo taken recently:

Both of these places are surrounded by new or refurbished houses. But they are constant reminders of what happened.

Of course, it's New Orleans, so the cops are still shooting people (and, yeah, yeah, black-on-black crime), poverty is even higher than it was, the schools are almost all charters (like some Republican wet dream), black men have a 53% unemployment rate, the rents have skyrocketed. As the current and former heads of the African American Leadership progress put it, New Orleans suffers from "the self-medicating illusion of progress."

Then there's this:

The amount of wetlands loss in combination with climate change-driven rising water has resulted in a shocking shrinking of the amount of just plain above-water ground.

As we consider this ninth anniversary of the storm that opened up a wound that has never healed, bear in mind that even the most optimistic plan to save New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta region is based on the hope that sea levels do not rise too fast and that the federal government will invest $50 billion in it.

You can bet that Republican intransigence to spending and corporate-driven shortsightedness will drown the area again.