Monday, July 31

The City that Nagin Forgot

Dear Mayor Nagin,

It is time for you to do something. I have never considered leaving New Orleans, but now I feel forced to do so. I am sure you get plenty of these correspondences a day. But I would like to add my voice to the myriads of others who are fed up with this place. We are helpless in controlling what is going on, but you are not. And you have left New Orleans to rot!

I am tired of crack being sold on my street corner. I am tired of the vagrants harassing me on my way to work in the CBD. I am tired of seeing garbage pile up on my block because Waste Management has decided to ignore my street this week. (Plus, once a week service! Come on can't we do better than that. I don't care if you have to dump the whole city into the ocean! Just get this place clean again!) I am tired of losing water every afternoon for an hour or two. I am tired of you not being around to take a leadership role. I am tired of you and the hundreds of other city leaders who listen to special interests. I am tired of not having full 911 services or wondering if I will be able to get emergency attention if I need it. I am tired of skyrocketing rental rates. I am tired of hearing how disparate and dysfunctional our law and order system is. I am tired of waiting around for FEMA, SBA, insurance, federal or state money to come in and fix New Orleans. If we really wanted this place fixed we would have found the way to do it with or without money. I am tired of being forgotten by the rest of the country. I am tired of New Orleans.

I am no stranger to process, Mayor Nagin. I know about bureaucracy and that hullabaloo having worked in social services. But the things we need; leadership, structure and safety; are missing from this place. How can we improve if we listen to every goddamn pundit who sets foot in this city? We need someone to be honest and lead the way. How can we have a great city if we can't even have reliable infrastructure? We need clean streets and a reliable water system and not just in the heavily populated areas. How can we expect people to move or stay here if we allow drugs and guns to run rampant again? We need to be forceful with these criminals even if that means locking them up for days or shipping them off to Angola. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Why didn't we have a plan to fix our infrastructure first? Why aren't you and the other leaders working non stop to fix this city? (I never see a single car by City Hall on the weekends.) Why must I avoid walking my dog at night because I might get shot, raped or mugged?

You were so wonderful right after Katrina and you showed pure honesty. But something changed. You listened to others instead of doing what you wanted to do. You left us to travel the country and tell lies about how New Orleans was rebounding. You let corruption sneak back into New Orleans in your absence. You let us down!

I will leave Mayor Nagin, and so will thousands of other hard working, intelligent citizens of this city for greener pastures. I grew up in North Louisiana and I will return. I cannot live in this city anymore, unless you can convince me otherwise.


Beth Bailly Bloch

New Orleans, Louisiana

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