Some Subtle Spin
I’ve read Eugene Robinson for a long time – and generally liked him – but this is not helpful:
The wealthy strip of high ground alongside the Mississippi River that didn't flood -- the French Quarter, the central business district, the Garden District, Uptown -- resembles the footprint of the city circa 1850. They call this strip the Island, and while life there hasn't quite returned to normal, it's close enough for people to spend time devising new post-disaster routes for the upcoming Mardi Gras parades.
Life’s pretty much normal on “the Island”? That may depend upon one’s definition of normal, which is often interpreted to include jobs, returned businesses, restaurants, day cares, etc. And while he’s right about the miles and miles of devastated wasteland, what's this about?
But the homeowners of Holy Cross didn't have flood insurance. They weren't eligible for it because the area wasn't considered a flood plain.
They weren't eligible? Mr. Robinson makes this sound as if they flat out couldn’t have it. Not allowed. Nope.
Is that true?
I just spent the last two hours online, trying to find something - anything - clear on this. Why, one might wonder, would it take so long? Because what was given out by insurers and New Orleans was misleading.
Yes, there are zones in New Orleans that were “not required” to have flood insurance. What I didn’t see much of – anywhere – were the words “optional” or “recommended” - and that is a real problem.
From FEMA’s National Flood Insurance site:
There's a big difference between having to buy flood insurance because the law says you must and choosing to buy flood coverage because it's in your best interests to do so. We recommend that all property owners purchase and keep flood insurance because it is the best means of recovery from flood damaged.
The floodplain maps contributed enormously to NOLA residents’ low flood insurance coverage, but that would be due to a false sense of security – not because they weren't allowed to have it.
Am I missing something? (It’s happened before…)
To me, this type of “spin” (and yes, I see it as spin) is divisive and misleading. I’m having trouble understanding his motives here.