Is this what you want, Algiers?
UPDATE 12:15pm: Some info in the comments...
Once upon a Katrina time, Polimom’s lens was focused tightly on Algiers – the largely unflooded portion of Orleans Parish that lies across the river from Greater New Orleans. It’s been months since I’ve spoken directly to all those folks, and I don’t know how many of Polimom’s old friends still visit here regularly.
This morning, though, Polimom’s thinking hard about Algiers again – and I have a question:
Did Representatives Arnold and Tucker head off to Baton Rouge this week with your input regarding a unified levee board? Did you ask them to resist?
Polimom is not attacking Algiers; I'm sincerely concerned, because there's a lot at stake.
Polimom has a “here we go again” feeling in the pit of her stomach when she reads:
Levee board consolidation bill passes out of committee while Senators maintain its death
The legislation has been strongly opposed by some West Bank elected officials, who say their constituents are in a different flood basin and are better served by a separate board.
The legislative representatives are purportedly speaking for their constituents on the West Bank, which should mean that West Bank residents agree that their communities cannot be served by a unified levee board. Is that true?
Because this is not a small issue. People everywhere are watching to see whether Louisiana (generally) and the New Orleans area (specifically) can work together, or are doomed to be at cross-purposes forever. The New York Times spelled it out clearly this morning:
This week the State Legislature convened its second special session on Hurricane Katrina. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and the Legislature had a chance to reform the system at the special session in November, but the governor backed a weaker oversight measure that failed to pass.
That cannot happen again. This time they must overcome rivalries for the greater good. Storms do not pay attention to parish lines, and neither should the system to defend against them. While much of the blame for the failures of the defense system falls at the feet of the Army Corps of Engineers, Louisiana should focus on what it can do to improve organization and accountability on its end.