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James Brody November 27th, 2010 01:57 PM

Big Easy Rising
Victorian leaders assumed that "top down" was the essential step in the making of mice, men, and cathedrals. Few, aside from Chuck Darwin, appreciated the millennia of worms, vertebrates, and mud huts that came before river rats, Shakespeare, or St. Paul's Cathedral.

Adam Smith also appreciated these things. So did Friedrich Hayek when he created The Road to Serfdom.

Lenin, Hitler, and American Progressives do not. Still, our game continues and sunlight brightens my window and desk when I find a paper such as that about the "recovery" of New Orleans.

City Journal: “Big Easy Rising”

“Five years ago, when Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, even optimistic observers had good reason to doubt that New Orleans would recover. It wasn’t just that the storm had destroyed much of the city, leaving parts of it under 20 feet of water for weeks. New Orleans had long suffered from terrible violence, a poisonous political culture, and a fleeing population. Its public services were iffy on a good day, making it especially unprepared for the storm. What chance did it stand of returning to life—even with the $71.5 billion that the Bush White House and Congress sent to Louisiana for hurricane recovery?

“Yet the city has come back more vigorously than most imagined possible, even fumbling its way toward becoming, maybe, an urban success story. With about 365,000 residents, the City That Care Forgot has recovered more than 80 percent of its pre-Katrina population, and its post-storm economy has done well, too: in July, unemployment in the city and surrounding suburbs was 7.5 percent, two points below the recession-battered national figure, while per-capita income is up more than 20 percent since 2004, even as traditional government-aid payments, such as welfare and Medicaid, remain lower. Visit New Orleans today, and you’ll see a busy construction site, not a city laid waste by flooding.

“The shock of Katrina, it turns out, produced a surprising renaissance in citizen initiative, one result of which was widespread recognition among New Orleanians that all that federal cash wasn’t going to solve the city’s long-standing problems on its own. Instead, engaged residents have kept local politicians on their toes, making sure that they use the recovery funds to transform and rejuvenate the city. They have taught the rest of the country, still reeling from the financial and economic crisis, a lesson: how to do recovery right.”

Bobby Jindal had a similar experience in the Gulf Oil mess.

He practices “management by walking around.” He enjoys systems analysis but talks with local people kindle him and when he faces a problem, he usually solves it with local talents.

Katrina, for example, flooded eighty percent of New Orleans, Congressman Jindal came home from Washington and gave the state’s Coast Guard and National Guard permission to do what they do well. FEMA was useless.
Sheriff Harry Lee took over many operations: “This is Sheriff Harry Lee. You can come and arrest me. And Congressman Jindal’s here – You can come and arrest him, too.” There were also some big helpers: Texas governor Rick Perry sent him six C130s to ferry people from Louisiana to hospitals in Texas; Ford Motors gave him a fleet of trucks, gassed, and keys in the ignition. Budweiser sent water and ice and Jindal parlayed these gestures into comparable donations from other companies. He also gave local leaders “authorization” to do the necessary things. Again, local people solved local problems as signs appeared everywhere, “If you need something, come here.”

His tactics on the Gulf oil spill were similar. Local people solved local problems while Obama dithered over what people might say and BP execs thought about their vacation plans. Federal flunkies wanted forms completed and Washington committees to meet; Jindal wanted the oil blocked, sucked up, and dispersed. After all, people needed to fish, birds needed to nest, motel and restaurants needed tourists. Bobby seemed to carry every living thing safe in his pocket even though he gave people of good sense to do what they know how to do...

Mak_chic December 9th, 2010 05:33 PM

Big Easy Rising
Thanks for the advice. I was leaning towards the big easy. Just needed someone to confirm

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