Their City Was Gone
I must admit that New Orleans has long been my least favorite American city--dirty, inefficient, rundown, corrupt, not very friendly, and way too popular with people organizing conferences. It seemed like a good place for people who wanted to get drunk, eat crustaceans, or listen to jazz, all pursuits of no interest to me.
Nonetheless, I find Katrina's devastation overwhelmingly sad and hard to get my mind around. The idea that a major American city could essentially vanish in a natural disaster is simply hard to accept. But the obituaries are beginning. Here's Robert Parker on TNR and Josh Levin on Slate, both writers with strong ties to the city.
Will a city already struggling to justify its economic existence be rebuilt? Can it be? The debate has started on D Magazine's FrontBurner blog. To summarize: They rebuilt Galveston. But they didn't rebuild Pompeii.