Monday, June 19, 2006

La. Governor to Summon National Guard et al

La. Governor to Summon National Guard - AP

National Guard troops roll into New Orleans - Reuters

Guard to Stay in New Orleans Through '06 - AP

It was inevitable that New Orleans would return to the violence and murders that plagued the city prior to Katrina. Pumping out lowlands and patching bricks and mortar is akin to putting a band-aid on an infected wound that is the Big Easy.

Mutual agreement by the candidates to not talk about race in the recent mayoral election was tantamount to ignoring the festering ills of the city. This miss-step is a segue into a full bypass of the challenges of 20 million Blacks in the “Black Belt” of the southern US. Inasmuch as race touches every issue of substance, Mr. Nagin, with no clear acknowledgement, mandate or resources, is steering a rudderless vessel.

In fact, the newly re-elected mayor is in quite a Catch-22. With murders soaring, he is begging for National Guard rescue while trying to portray effective leadership. The mayor's vow, to get tough with criminals by ‘drawing a line in the sand’, is bluster at its worse, as everyone knows that murder and mayhem are on the way back up. This is even more the case considering the many officers who simply did not return to their squad rooms after the storm.

Black people of New Orleans believe that Mayor Nagin will improve the city for all dwellers, including them, but in reality he cannot deliver on this promise. The city simply does not have the resources to support people who are not contributing to the local economy in a meaningful way.

Katrina survivors were doubly lucky. They survived the hurricane and many also received a big helping hand to start lives that were nearly impossible before, from communities around the country. But that helping hand extends only so far for so long before they must grasp the opportunity.

Nr. Nagin offers no solution for his city except the real probability of streets patrolled by National Guard troops. This is where not talking about race delivers us.

James C. Collier


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