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
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