Sunday, November 13, 2005

Trickle of returnees

The New York Times today reports on the slow return of evacuees to New Orleans and surrounding areas. The picture is rather bleak:

The city had 460,000 residents before the hurricane, but with many neighborhoods uninhabitable, some officials speculate that there are no more than 100,000 people now.
More measures of a less-than-quick repopulation of NOLA:
The local power company, Entergy New Orleans, said that less than 30 percent of its customers were drawing power. Change-of-address forms have been filed by nearly two-thirds of the postal customers in New Orleans and a section of neighboring Jefferson Parish, according to an analysis by the local newspaper, The Times-Picayune.
But this is what puts it all in perspective:
"There is more of a focus, frankly, on the rebuilding effort in Iraq," he said. "Because it's become politically important, there is a lot of data generated there."
There's no national sense of urgency about rebuilding New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. But that same lack of urgency apparently extends to the Louisiana state legislature which didn't have enough to do to justify staying in session over the week-end. If state lawmakers don't think moving forward quickly is important why should the rest of the country?