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Location:near Houston, Gulf Coast, United States

Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Monday, October 03, 2005

The Rebuilding Dance

Does anybody remember Lakeview? You know - that other place that flooded so badly, people were rescued from the area’s attics and rooftops, and the houses were hidden beneath the floodwaters for weeks. Many of the pictures now being shown in the press of destroyed homes, photographs, and dreams are from Lakeview.

I’ve been looking online for the debate about rebuilding Lakeview, but having no success. There is lots of general discussion, though – mostly about real-estate speculators, and bull-dozing / rebuilding by individuals, and frustration with the city officials.

Interestingly, residents of Lakeview, similar to other parts of the city, are also up in the air about timelines and the future. On Friday, they tried to have a
neighborhood meeting, but their representative city council member didn’t make it.

My guess (and that’s really all it is) is the city is trying to avoid discussion of the area altogether, because doing so would expose a problem. If they aren’t going to rebuild the Ninth Ward, they can hardly spend money rebuilding wealthy Lakeview. According to yesterday's Shreveport Times,

Mayor Ray Nagin was reluctant Friday to speculate on where structures eventually will be bulldozed and how heavy-handed government officials might need to be in condemning homes over owners' objections

It's indicative of the likely future, though, that Lakeview has contractors in it, and a lot of chatter in groups and forums online is about improving the infrastructure to protect the area against future Katrina-like disasters. How is this area different from the Ninth Ward? We all know the answer.

I'm very impressed by the Lakeview community's cohesiveness online. They are out there discussing, debating, and sharing information. I wish them luck, though, because if they manage to salvage their part of town while other areas are not, they will find themselves at the center of a truly ugly national debate.