Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina

I watched good chunks of Spike Lee's HBO film on Katrina last week. Like the rest of Lee's work, the film is brilliant, if frustratingly flawed. He is a much better polemicist than Michael Moore.

One could say all kinds of things about Katrina and the government's response to it, and many already have. I would just like to focus on the contradiction that is New Orleans. I have been there something like a half-dozen times, and I have made sure that I have gotten out of the tourist areas at least a little bit.

New Orleans is a jewel and a shame. Outside of New York, it would be hard to place a city ahead of New Orleans in terms of importance to our national culture. The city's music, literature and food make it world famous; the city's cultural greatness was underscored by Lee's inteviews with Wynton Marsalis, a force of nature of a musician who is in many ways a living embodiment of New Orleans.

But New Orleans is also a city that has been slowly dying for 100 years. Until World War II, it was the South's greatest commercial center, but it has long been eclipsed by Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Houston and Dallas. The city's problems with crime and schools is well documented. The lack of progress in the rebuilding of New Orleans certainly says something about the competence of government at all levels, but it also says something about New Orleans. Three great, thriving American cities--Chicago in 1871, San Francisco in 1906 and New York in 2001--were famously traumatised. All three recovered remarkably quicky. Tokyo was leveled during World War II--and "miraculously" resumed its mantle of World's largest city.

New Orleans ceased being an economically competitive place a long time ago. This is why one of my most famous colleagues in urban economics has suggested it would be better to write a six-figure check to each victim of Katrina than it would be to spend the money necessary to rebuild New Orleans. From an economics pespective, this is surely right; from a national cultural perspecive, it is almost surely wrong.

And yet as I watched the Spike Lee film, I couldn't help but wonder whether the kids who were displaced out of New Orleans (with a high school graduation rate that barely exceeds 50 percent)into a welcoming small city in Utah weren't better off as a result. And I can't help but think about the fact that Wynton Marsalis now runs the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra--in New York.

4 comments:

Ted_Barnhill said...

Richard,

Interesting perspectives I will take time to read periodically.

Thanks,

Ted

word of warcraft gold said...

Weaknesses of World Of Warcraft Gold the client-server model used by World of Warcraft have been wow power levelingexploited in order to crash the cluster of servers that aoc goldmake up a realm. Exploits also include characters being able to instantly Cheapest Wow Goldchange location or teleport. The situationbecame worse cheap wow goldwhen trying to coordinate activities across a number of playersor guilds on the same realm.World of Warcraft Lead Producer, stated that new realms would be introduced to warhammer goldrelieve the burden on existing ones. Existing realms would be upgraded.

Although the game wow gold follows a similar model to others in the genreand was noted for having wow gold cheapmany familiar concepts from roleplaying games, the new approaches gold4powerto reduce pauses between game encounters was well liked. At various times, World of Warcraft players have experienced problems with connecting to and logging in to wow gold for sale the game. Sudden server crashes that would force realms offline also occurred.

word of warcraft gold said...

Weaknesses of World Of Warcraft Gold the client-server model used by World of Warcraft have been wow power levelingexploited in order to crash the cluster of servers that aoc goldmake up a realm. Exploits also include characters being able to instantly Cheapest Wow Goldchange location or teleport. The situationbecame worse cheap wow goldwhen trying to coordinate activities across a number of playersor guilds on the same realm.World of Warcraft Lead Producer, stated that new realms would be introduced to warhammer goldrelieve the burden on existing ones. Existing realms would be upgraded.

Although the game wow gold follows a similar model to others in the genreand was noted for having wow gold cheapmany familiar concepts from roleplaying games, the new approaches gold4powerto reduce pauses between game encounters was well liked. At various times, World of Warcraft players have experienced problems with connecting to and logging in to wow gold for sale the game. Sudden server crashes that would force realms offline also occurred.

davelindahl said...

I am Dave Lindhal also i watch the same film Katrina, Its really nice and amazing i also like your review about this movie.