A Lament for NOLA

New Orleans has been in my prayers all week long, and so have been some of the outlying communities, especially those in St. Charles Parish, where I lived for a few months in 2001. I see on the internet tonight that St. Charles has no power but little flooding and property damage and are letting residents return with the caveat that there are no stores open and little fuel.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, the federal government and particularly President Bush have taken some hard hits by loud-mouthed incompetents who are not up to thinking clearly or owning responsibility for their own mess. The fact is that NOLA administration has been revealed for the incompetent and corrupt mess I’ve often heard it locally joked about. Local law enforcement have walked off the job en masse this past week, some have participated in looting and been incredibly rude to locals trying to get help to leave the city or for sick family members. These shameful things have been abundantly reported by every major and minor news source I’ve looked at this week.

Moreover, the NOLA mayor and the state’s governor, unlike their Mississippi counterparts, delayed turning over management of the city until situation was out of hand. Louisiana National Guard troops were not requested in a timely manner, and many of the NG — now replaced by military units — have made statements that they were either not given clear orders as to what their responsibility was supposed to be, or that they were given instructions limiting their involvement to search and rescue in the City, effectively having their hands tied behind their backs and actively hindered from helping to bring about law and order so desparately needed.

Even more infuriating is the new upchucking rhetoric, led by the ubiquitous team of Sharpton and Jackson, that NOLA is being neglected by Washington (read: President Bush) because it is a city with an extremely large black population. They’ve conveniently ignored the fact that Mayor Nagin has been calling the shots that has led to this fiasco, and he is black! How many of you have seen the photos of NOLA school buses partially submerged in water in school parking lots? Why didn’t Nagin order those buses used to evac the city over last week-end? He could have saved lives and the city the money it’s going to cost to replace or repair those water-logged school buses. Instead of being pro-active and responsible, he’s letting Jackson and Sharpton set the tone of blaming the Bush administration for not bailing him out of his humiliation sooner.

President Bush is going to be blamed for everything in this one — from not sending federal troops in before they were asked for, for those troops applying force if necessary to restore order to the city, even for the fact that Katrina existed if the rhetoric can be made palpable enough. He needs our ongoing prayers, along with the residents of the city of New Orleans.

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