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

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Silence isn't always golden

Daily, we’re bombarded with stories about Houston's problems with its “guests” – and that temporary terminology is causing any number of problems. Somehow, neither the guests nor the hosts are getting an important message: many evacuees can’t go back to New Orleans.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe never.

Judge Eckels, who was instrumental in opening Houston’s resources to Katrina evacuees, traveled earlier this week to New Orleans to assess the situation there. Unsurprisingly, he returned to Houston with bad news for evacuees (KHOU by subscription):

Judge Robert Eckels saw a couple of homes still standing, but for the most part, there was only destruction and a lot of rubble.

Eckels found that little had changed in the Ninth Ward since Hurricane Katrina struck.

That worries Eckels because a lot of people who think they're living in Houston temporarily, may be living in Houston a lot longer than they expected.

"The real question is many of those folks think they're coming home. They think this spring, March or the summer they'll be back here either in New Orleans or in some other place nearby. We wanted to see for ourselves the devastation of this city and what impact it's gonna have on both Harris County and the Houston area and the prospects of folks coming home," said Eckels.

The problem is that when the FEMA vouchers run out, people will not have found jobs or places to live.

Umm… well… YES. That would be exactly the problem.

What Polimom doesn’t understand is why this information isn’t being broadcast loudly around the city?

Houstonians seem to think that people from New Orleans should have either moved on with their lives or gone home by now, while many New Orleanians aren’t settling in because they have no information about their futures. Officials at every level are afraid to tell them the truth.

The continuing silence is contributing to false hopes and skewed perceptions on all sides - and that's unfair to everyone. It's time to start talking about it.