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JPKneworleans

New Orleans and You, Post-Katrina

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This is more or less a personal post to gague what people are experiencing. In a number of posts, I think I've let it be known that New Orleans is really getting me down. Sure, New Orleans had its problems pre-K, but it seems as if they've been magnified 10 fold. There are good days and bad days, but there are few days of overwhelming optimism.

Like many, after the storm, I thought New Orleans could recreate itself and learn from its past mistakes. While its still not too late to do this, it seems that the city is going back to a business-as-usual mentality.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I have my pre-K job, most of my pre-K friends, and my house did not flood. Most people would think, under those circumstances, that life would have returned to "normal." But it hasn't. People from out of town just don't get it, either. They say, "what are you down for? You didn't lose anything."

From TV, to newspapers, to magazines, and to radio, everything is still focused on the storm. It arises almost daily in conversation, and I don't even bring it up (or at least try not to.)

Anyway, I was wondering if you guys generally feel more down since the storm. I know I sure have. It's not healthy. A number of my friends have either put on lots of weight in their conquest of comfort food or significantly increased their drinking. In that way, I'm lucky. I could see the writing on the wall and put a stop to "self-medication."

Considering we're pretty anonymous on here, I didn't think this was inappropriate. But if you guys think so, I'll delete the post.

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This seems like a fine post too me. I hope my post still counts being that I've never lived in New Orleans, but I understand or try to understand how you fell. If the storm had destroyed Baton Rouge, even if my house and school/job were o.k., I'd definetly still be pretty down. Sure N.O. and all cities have their problems but when you live in a city and like your city you tend see only the good. And to have a catastrophe come an sweep it away an replace it with the bad is probably a pretty affull feeling.

So you might be wondering, what am I down about. Well, honestly,at first (pre-Katrina) I never paid much thought to N.O., it was like a far away fairy tale land and it's face for me were those whale models from the aqaurium. But after Katrina blew through and B.R. started growing at a faster pace and I figured N.O. would snap back in a year or 2, I thought of it as competition. But then after I saw some pictures and did some research on N.O. history/attractions I found out it was a wonderful place that I would really like to spend some time in. That coupled with the fact that its not snapping back made me feel pretty down.

And like it's been said before,the Crescent City and the Capitol City can feed off of each other. N.O. with it's amazing culture and B.R. with its expanding array of shopping and various unique amenities can become quite the team. :D

I think though, that in the end the best thing you can do is vote for competent leaders. For example with B.R.'s new major Kip and various other officials some very exciting things are happening in B.R.

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I was really depressed about things for about a year and half, but have recently regained my sense of optimism. I gained 30 pounds after Katrina, but since May I've lost 25 pounds, and this is mainly due to the fact that things seem to be getting back to normal here in Slidell. The last house to be fully repaired in the neighborhood got finished a couple of weeks ago, and to everyone around my neighborhood that was a sign that we were starting to move on. Granted, we did not flood, but we did get severe wind damage...I could walk into my neighbors house through the living room wall after the storm...and it was a land of FEMA trailers and construction trucks for a good year and a half. I think that's how the whole region is getting rebuilt...one neighborhood and house at a time...and it will take a while to do it...but there is a definite sense of accomplishment of some sort when you can say...my neighborhood is back to normal.

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Being down is losing everything you have worked hard for.

Being down is losing your loved ones in the storm.

Being down is watching a baby die in your arms.

Unless you have been through any of the following or know someone who has, you really have no reason to be down. If anything, those people who have been through what I described have a reason to be down. Katrina was a wake-up call for New Orleans. Whether we will use Katrina to learn from our mistakes remains to be seen.

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Hey Dan, I wanted to respond to your post before I added my own feelings.

I'll keep telling you this until you do it ;) , but I really hope you can get down to New Orleans sometime soon and experience this city. Honestly I was pretty suprised when you joined last summer and said that you'd never been to New Orleans. Like I've said in the past, to me, a native New Orleanian, Baton Rouge is like a whole different world. Different people, different culture, different "feel," different everything to be honest. And even with its problems, New Orleans has become an international tourist destination, and there's a reason why. And by that I mean "come over and check it out" because I guarantee NOLA is different from any city you've been to, and you'd probably enjoy seeing all of the different neighborhoods, skyscrapers and historic mid and high-rises downtown, and all of the different shopping options throughout the city.

Now, on the subject of New Orleans and Baton Rouge working together; it would be nice, wouldn't it? Both cities could learn alot from each other. New Orleans could look to Baton Rouge for ideas to bring in new business, and Baton Rouge could look to New Orleans for ideas to establish or improve things like mass transit and how to get people to come from the 'burbs into the center of the city to dine, party, shop, explore, and just have a great time. New Orleans' biggest problem right now is bringing business into the city; Baton Rouge is doing fine in that field right now. Baton Rouge has problems with sprawl, traffic, and a downtown that is "spotty" when it comes to non-work related activity; New Orleans doesn't have those problems.

And while New Orleans may not be back to its pre-Katrina self, it's getting there, and it will be there and beyond in the not too distant future. The fact that about 70,000 people have moved to, or back to New Orleans in the last year is extremely good news, and is something that no one here expected. And also keep in mind that when it comes to current growth, there is a difference between the city of New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans area. Much of the metro area is absolutely booming right now; Jefferson Parish lead the nation in job growth from early '06-early '07, and the fastest growing parish in the state- Saint Tammany, is obviously part of the metro. Much of the city may be down right now, but much of the metro is seeing more growth and development than ever before.

And finally, I think that New Orleans and Baton Rouge have to connect and work together is we plan on getting SE Louisiana, and Louisiana as a whole, to truly compete with states like Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina when it comes to population, job, and business growth. The fact that the two largest cities in Louisiana, one of which is the economic center of the state, and the other the state capital, are only an hour away from each other, could be a huge positive for the state and this region of the state if the people and leaders here can take advantage of it.

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Being down is losing everything you have worked hard for.

Being down is losing your loved ones in the storm.

Being down is watching a baby die in your arms.

Unless you have been through any of the following or know someone who has, you really have no reason to be down. If anything, those people who have been through what I described have a reason to be down.

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Hey Dan, I wanted to respond to your post before I added my own feelings.

I'll keep telling you this until you do it ;) , but I really hope you can get down to New Orleans sometime soon and experience this city.

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I would love to go again, but nobody will take me. They(mainly my mom)are afraid of, I'm ashamed to say, getting shot.

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Not many people know this, but I would say a portion of the Quarter is safe. N.Rampart is a notoriously dangerous section of the Quarter and has been for quite sometime, unless it turned around but I highly doubt it. I don't have anything to worry about because I'm from that UPT 13th Ward.

That being said, I will say this. If you lost everything you haved worked for, lost a loved one, or watched a baby die in your arms, then yes, you have a reason to be sad, very sad. However, saying that those who have not experienced one of the above have no reason to be down seems awfully demeaning. Because I do not know the tone in which you have responded, I will assume that you did not intend to convey a message that discounts the validity of my experiences and feelings or the feelings relayed by others. To me, each person's feelings and experiences, and the way he relates to events, are unique and deserving of respect.

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I'm not afriad to go there myself. I figure I'm just as likely to get shot here as there. Oh well, I guess I'll get to go one day. -_-

And I know exactly what you're talking about with the shaddy neighborhoods. The neighborhoods around downtown are shaddy and supposedly get worse the farther north you go.

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Hey Dan,

I hope you get to visit the Crescent City soon! Don't be scared of the bad neighborhoods. Just know that they do exist and use common sense. I'll second what Nate and the others have told you- unless you go out at night, you should be fine in any tourist area. Even at night, you'll probably be fine. Learning to know New Orleans was one of my greatest pleasures while growing up. We lived in Mississippi (and Virginia), but some of my early memories are of New Orleans. It is a very special city and one that you should get to know. Going with your family is probably better right now, but do go by all means.

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I stopped being depressed about a year ago. I'm fine, definitely feel like our recovery is going pretty well, and expect the city to be about back to normal in the next 2 to 3 years. I'm not going to say all of our population will return, but, we'll be respectable by the 2010 census. Recovery has been hard to gauge by many, and plenty of projects have been a little delayed, but, overall I think things are fine. I don't focus on the storm anymore, at all. When I hear negative stuff about the city, I just write it off and say to myself, "In the end, all will be fine, so don't focus on what you are hearing." As for crime, I don't do crack cocaine, so I know that keeps my 95% safer than those that do. I've lived in this city for many years and I've never been a victim of crime. My circles don't cross circles that are involved with criminal activity or drugs.

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It is easy to stay safe in New Orleans. Stay in well-lit areas where people are and use the common sense that I'm sure you have. I've lived in NOLA for a long time and (knock on wood) have never been the subject of a violent crime. I did, however, have the window of my car smashed in about 15 years ago by a bunch of drunk fools who decided to go on a vandalizing spree in my neighborhood. But, that stuff does happen, and not just in New Orleans.

To those who want to come to New Orleans: Do not trust the national media. They make money by scaring people, which means that their reports tend to be slanted. Call the convention and visitors bureau. Yes, it is their job to make everything rosy, but they will tell you where to go and where not to go.

New Orleans is the largest, most intact historic city in the nation in terms of its layout, central core, and radiating neighborhoods. That in and of itself is a reason to come here.

Note to Alon504: Where have you been? It seems like ages since I've seen a post from you under this or one of your other names on the skyscraper boards. Hope all is well.

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