Sunday, January 9, 2011

Driving tour of the lower 9th Ward

The first day out and about in New Orleans was both pleasant and disturbing. On Bourbon street, we enjoyed a nice breakfast at a corner restaurant in the french quarters. After, we completed the scavenger hunt;moreover, I am betting that my team won. During the scavenger hunt, a lot of locals knew why we were here and were very kind and generous to us in helping us complete our list of tasks.
When the scavenger hunt was over, we took the driving tour of the lower 9th ward. I was able to witness the "green" houses that were financed by Brad Pitt. According to some of the Bonners who were here last year, the Brad Pitt houses were built very fast because only a select few were there last year. This opened me up to some hope for the future of New Orleans. However, I was able to witness the endless number of concrete slabs that still remained, five years later, in the areas where homes once were.
Moreover, I was told that residents who have never returned to the area after Hurricane Katrina are now being taxed because they are not maintaining what is left of their property. This outrages me because what are these people expected to do? These are people who have been subjected to a disaster that was not properly handled, during and after, by FEMA and the government. Also, most were not given enough money to build back their houses. Furthermore, crime rates sky rocketed after the disaster. Who would want to go back to that? Atleast give the proper means of aid to the citizens of the lower 9th ward for them to have something to come back to before you tax their sad excuse of a "property."
What can we do about this? Instead of taxing the citizens who have now created new lives for themselves all across the country, construction and labor jobs can be created for the citizens who have come back to New Orleans. Hire a jobless man as a gardener or a construction worker to rebuild houses and to upkeep the land. There are other options besides taxing the previous citizens. That should be the last option.

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