Not Eudora   By Harry Welty
Published Sept. 15, 2005

My Katrina Rant

My Mother's big sister, Mary Jane, did not want to be buried in New Orleans. She was a Midwestern girl and moved south under protest. The City's graveyards gave her the willies. She didn't like the idea of being buried above ground which is how New Orleans keeps its dead above the water table.

In the weeks ahead many of New Orleans's dead will float in the ocean of water that rushed over levees which were designed for the typical hurricanes of the first half of the Twentieth Century. It didn't help that some of the levees were a foot lower than thought because the soggy ground of the Mississippi Delta had sunk under its own weight while petroleum that propped it up was being pumped out for SUVs. And it didn't help that New Orleans was a Democrat city during a Republican Administration which is more preoccupied with making air travelers remove their shoes before boarding planes than environmental catastrophes. Oh, yeah, and it's also too bad it wasn't an election year.

Why last year, just before Florida voters lined up to vote for President, that state was struck by an unprecedented four hurricanes. The Federal Government was so eager not to disappoint Florida voters that FEMA gave millions of dollars worth of aid to Miamians even though their city was hardly touched by any of the storms. New Orleans's plight, on the other hand, has led some Republicans leaders to suggest that it doesn't make sense to rebuild the city. The Big Easy's era of dumb luck has just been swept into a watery grave like the ones that creeped out my Aunt.

President Bush told the nation that no one could have predicted this disaster. Apparently no one noticed that the city's hurricane buffer, the Mississippi Delta, had lost 177 square miles over the last sixty years. That's an area two-and-a-half times the size of Duluth. Much of this erosion has been caused by the Republican Party's great ally, the petroleum industry, which feeds our SUVs. The spidery web of pipe lines has turned miles of coastal land into gelatinous canals. But erosion is the sort of cry baby observation you would expect from a scientist. Scientists are one of the Republican Party's least favorite kind of people.

I'm sure no Republican bothered watching last January when scientists and the even more loathsome bogeyman, PBS, teamed up to produce a program on NOVA about the danger a hurricane posed to New Orleans.

This new era in Gulf storms was inaugurated in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, the biggest hurricane in a decade. It dumped 25 inches of rain on Central America in 36 hours killing 10,500 people while another 11,000 were buried in mud never to be found. Unfortunately there were no Republican observers in Central America.

Republicans pooh pooh climate modeling which suggests that human released carbon contributes to global warning. Who can blame them their skepticism. Notwithstanding its dinosaur fossils, the Earth is only 4,500 years old. The Bible says so! Even if the Gulf of Mexico's waters are two degrees warmer than a few years ago no one has proven conclusively that its because too many people drive SUVs. Republicans know that it's just part of a weather cycle that has repeatedly covered and uncovered Minnesota with glaciers over the last 4,500 years. Don't blink. Glaciers move fast. Meep! Meep!

But so much for science (and for that matter government incompetence) a lot of people know the real reason for the disaster in Louisiana is the people who live there. They should have known better than to live below sea level. They should have owned cars. If they couldn't afford them that's Lyndon Johnson's fault. His Great Society made them all dependent on government handouts! Thank Goodness for the No Child Left Behind Law. That will take care of the problem.

And look how all those poor people behaved! Well, yes, some of them looted stores for food but what about those guys who stole DVD players? Where do they think they were living? Sure, things got out of hand in France and Russia during their revolutions and even the orderly Germans rioted after World War 1 but this is America. Well yes, even Duluth once had 10,000 people go on a rampage that tore down the City Jail but that was different. Our folks wanted justice.

Harry Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com