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

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The New Heart of the City

Really fun article about Algiers this morning in NOLA.com. Rob Nelson writes, in glowing terms, about how "normal" life is there, and pretty much everybody is gushing about how Algiers will be the economic base from which the city will begin its recovery.

Cool! All is happy! In fact, it sounds like paradise:

Residents bathe in sunshine as they jog, walk their dogs and ride go-carts along the levee against the backdrop of the battered New Orleans skyline.
Along with all the optimism about the future while counting the blessings of the present, there are a couple of things to keep in mind - not the least of which is that Algiers is not likely to become its own city for a long time now. Representative Jeff Arnold said,

With large swaths of the city still paralyzed by Katrina, the returning bustle in Algiers has renewed conversation from last year about plans for Algiers to become its own city, said Arnold, who initiated the measure.

The effort never garnered much political support, but Katrina has refueled that interest among some residents, Arnold said.

"This is definitely a time when the city of New Orleans needs Algiers," he said, explaining that he would not reintroduce the proposal until Algiers' and the city's fiscal health becomes clearer.

You bet they need Algiers, and it's a guarantee that New Orleans is going to hang on very tightly to the only part of town that is nearly intact. (I say nearly because so far, there are still only four schools tentatively scheduled to open this year.)
Algiers has become the city's economic salvation, said state Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers. "We are the tax base for the city, period,"he said.
What I remember from Katrina, unfortunately, is that the media followed the lead of the city and absolutely failed to speak to the West Bank of Orleans Parish - at all. Ever. The entire polimom.com site was set up to help all these "shining light" residents, who were totally overlooked as a population.

However, Algiers residents have nothing in common with Tom Benson, and in spite of how badly they were overlooked after the hurricane, I know they won't abandon New Orleans. I just hope they won't be treated like an unwanted "stepchild" as they support the rebuild.

I believe there will be a City of Algiers - it only makes sense (if you live there, it's really pretty obvious). It's just gonna take a while.