Things I'm Tired of Hearing
As I stood among the other 999 or so disenfranchised residents of Lakeview today and listened to one politician and bureaucrat after another, I made a list of things that I just can't hear again when it comes to the future of my family, my property and my livelihood. Here they are and feel free to add your favorites that I may have missed:
"I'm here today on behalf of Mayor Nagin..." - Someone needs to tell this dude that when 500+ people, who used to be your most ardent supporters, show up for a meeting, you show up too. Instead of dispatching your cronies to come tell us that none of you know any more about our city than you did 6 weeks ago, be a man, sack up and tell us yourself. Better yet, quit sitting at Cafe Du Monde, telling us about wanting to hear jazz and blaming everyone else for that horrible casino idea. Do something.
"Transitioning out." - Is anyone transitioning in? After "I'm here to help," "transitioning out" is a FEMA worker's favorite saying. We should create a drinking game at the next public meeting. Each time, the FEMA guy from the corn fields of Indiana says "transitioning out," take a shot. When that same guy mispronounces New Orleans, Orleans or Metairie, take two shots. We'll be loaded in a half hour.
"I just want to thank..." - Based on the politicians' (democrats and republicans) lovefests that we see so often on TV interviews and at public gatherings, you would think that they were each driving debris trucks, patrolling the streets and checking and clearing catch basins. Moreover, you would think that with all of the time that has passed and the tireless work of one politician after another, that I would be moving my grass in front of my new two-story bungalow in Lakeview. We get it. You want to show that you are working together. My question is what are you working together on? As I sit here tonight, we still have to pay back the $750 million in financial assistance that Congress allotted to us. We also have like 14 businesses out of 75,000 that have received small business loans. Maybe ya'll should start working against each other.
"I'm just like you..." - This is a tough one to write about b/c it refers to the people that try to identify with all of us, b/c they lost their house too. I sympathize with these guys, truly. Some days, I can't get rid of the image of my devastated neighborhood, that freakin smell and the sight of my daughter's nursery scattered and destroyed. BUT. Your job is to ultimately give us some information. If you are in the same boat as we are, you too should recognize what information is regurgitation and useless and what we can use.
"Louder. We can't hear you." - This is actually something I don't hear that often, but in my opinion, it embodies my frustrations with some of my neighbors. First, if you are at one of these meetings and you see one of your neighborhood homies, it's cool to talk to them, but please ask your girlfriend with the cackle and your loud-mouth buddy on his cellphone to keep it down for a while. I don't care how loaded you got last night and I don't care to listen to you tell your buddy about it. I'm trying to listen to this lady from FEMA tell me something I already knew.
Second, to my fellow neighbors struggling to hear the guy on the stage, please keep your cool. There is a sense of anger that has overtaken so many of the good people in Lakeview. I share in it, but we cannot let it overtake our determination and drive to rebuild our neighborhood. This effort is obviously going more slowly than we want. I want to smack the hell out of the city and the Corps of Engineers. But that doesn't help us.
For all of the goofy things that some of these volunteers and agency representatives say to us, they are trying their best. Be patient and check yourself before you wreck yourself. As Steve Ambrose used to say referring to America's challenge in WWII, "we're all in this together."
Before I sign off, I want to send out some props to some people who are working their respective cans off. As surprising as it is for me to say, big ups to the employees of the N.O. Sewerage and Water Board. Pumps started working quickly and many of the diehards in the city can drink safe water b/c of your work. Maybe the 5 guys watching the other guy work during the past 20 years paid off.
Until next time. Cheezwhiz out.