Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Soap opera watchers need not apply
What will life be like in the "new" New Orleans? City Councilman Oliver Thomas doesn't want to see any loafers.

Thomas stirred the pot this week by saying public housing residents who want to come back to the city should be required to get a job. Thomas says he doesn't want people to "sit around watching soap operas." He also says he hasn't gotten any negative reaction to his comments.

But maybe he needs to go to the Hot Spot Barbershop, as we did, just across from one of the city's public housing developments. That's where we found Karrie McElveen. She says too many locals don't have the skills they need to get a job.

We also met Toya Madison, who's been back in New Orleans three days after evacuating to Indiana. She says she's furious that a city councilman would try to "kick people when they're already down."

What do you think? Is Thomas kicking people when they are down? Or is he saying what needs to be said?
Posted By Susan Roesgen, CNN Correspondent: 5:54 PM ET
Job skills? You don't need job skills to work at McDonalds and work your way up. People need to stop blaming others for their problems and make something of themselves. It's about time that leadership is making a hard stance against those that are unwilling to help the rebirth of New Orleans... Good on him.
Posted By Anonymous Richard, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska : 6:14 PM ET
In a city that needs the support of all it's residents there is no room for able bodied people who do not want to work. If you want free housing, food, and a monthly stipend you should be prepared to work, not lounge around watching soap operas and making babies.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Chesapeake VA : 6:15 PM ET
That not only didn't need to be said, the person who said it should join the ranks of the unemployed. New Orleans should give this guy his walking papers! Since when does any city have the right to say who lives there? If we start permitting cities to exclude the poor, disabled and unemployed - we are going to have cities for the wealthy and ghettos for everyone else. Not my vision of America. Not at all.
Posted By Anonymous Pat, Willow Grove, PA : 6:16 PM ET
Maybe people should be given a choice of work or some sort of certificate training. Training which will allow residence, who feel they do not have the neccessary skills to obtain employment, the confidence needed in seeking employment. I think the city councilman is on the right track but his approach may be a little off.
Posted By Anonymous Patty, Stockton CA : 6:17 PM ET
It needs to be said. I live here and we simply need everyone here contributing to the rebuilding. If you do not want to work towards rebuilding the city, then wait till we finish before you come back.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, New Orleans, LA : 6:19 PM ET
I think Thomas is most certainly kicking them back down again. Maybe he should step down from his post as a city councilman and let one of the locals assume the position, because he doesn't seem to have the right attitude. (or the intelligence)
Posted By Anonymous Johnny, Plymouth MA : 6:19 PM ET
Here's one solution--tear down the archaic, ineffective public housing developments and replace them with new mixed income, mixed use housing developments. Then everyone wins, including the crime rate.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Francis, New Orleans, Louisiana : 6:19 PM ET
I think that in order for a city to come back from such a tragedy that it needs skilled people to help get the city back and running. Employed people significantly contribute to the rebuilding of a great city. I do believe that there is a proper way of getting this message across and not to scare people away who will be a contributor down the road, once properly educated.
Posted By Anonymous Renee, Fernandina Beach,FL : 6:19 PM ET
Personly I think welfare is for the weak and just get a job. I have worked since I was 13, I am now 35, and have never been with out a job. When I hear, "I dont have the skills to work anywere', bunch of crap.. so you are telling me you cant flip a burger... What these people need to say is all I want to do is sit on my ass and watch tv and have everyone else support me... Good For you Thomas... I would not have been as nice or as political if it was my comment
Posted By Anonymous Jack Stevens, Phoenix AZ : 6:19 PM ET
He's in a fantasy world. Poor people aren't all "loafers." Many people in the housing projects are trying to make ends meet with jobs that might pay the minimum wage, but certainly don't pay a living wage. Besides, the New Orleans economy is still being rebuilt. How are people supposed to get jobs that simply aren't there?
Posted By Anonymous Rachel Smith, Tallahassee, FL : 6:20 PM ET
This time for Katrina victims is a unique opportunity. Anyone I believe that wants to create a working life for themselves can do so.Percy Sutton once said that if he lost every penny that he had he would go down to the supermarket buy some cheap cookies, repackage them in brown paper bags, slap a label on it like "Grandma's homemade sugar cookies" and go out on the corner where people are and start selling them.
The Idea is to never be defeated, and always look for the next opportunity.
Posted By Anonymous Dan Rivers, Bridgeport, Ct. : 6:21 PM ET
In New Orleans there are jobs for just about any skill. Businesses are having a hard time operating because of the scarcity of labor. The fast food chains are offering signing bonuses. The only excuse for not working acceptable to me is depression or another health issue. Its unbelievable to me to see idle people where there is so much demand for labor. Whether they are hustlin in the projects, or begging for a cigarette in the French Quarter. Contribute to society or leave!
Posted By Anonymous ed, New Orleans : 6:23 PM ET
What kind of skills are those residents lacking? He's not asking them to go back to college, or draw up marketing strategies, or design aircraft parts. Maybe the skills she says the locals are lacking are the ability to show up on time to work and do what's asked of you. Unfortunately, his comments will go unheard, as they will be drowned out by the barrage of undue criticism he will endure.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Sunnyvale, CA : 6:26 PM ET
The councilman is just telling it as it should be. If you want free housing get off your tail and work for it. There are plenty of jobs - Burger King comes mind with a $6000 bonus after working for one year. The city was full of people on the dole not doing a darn thing. Bringing New Orleans means getting to work! Plain and simple!!
Posted By Anonymous Marc McClelland, Metairie, LA : 6:27 PM ET
I think he is kicking some while they are down. I mean truly, how many of those in the public housing were without jobs? How many were working more then one? Was this something that was said about proven statistics (which I do realize can be skewed.) or just assumptions?

Should people in Public Housing be working? of course, now answer this, are there jobs for those who want to work? a living wage as opposed to one that may let you just eat?

What about those with children? Are there jobs out there that will ensure that person can work AND send thier children to affordable daycare where they are safe?

Make sure your stucture is entact and then more often then not, they will work.
Posted By Anonymous T. Williams, Stamford CT : 6:29 PM ET
Having had my home destroyed by Katrina, and currently being displaced (no FEMA trailer yet), I understand people wanting to go home and try to have life return to normal. The reality of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is that the tax base has been decimated. The area economy needs residents who are employed to generate revenue from employment taxes, sales taxes, business taxes, etc. Those who return 'on the dole' exacerbate the already precarious economic conditions in those areas. As for a lack of job skills being an obstacle, there are plenty of jobs around, from cleanup labor to restaurant help. One doesn't need skills to start at the bottom and work their way up; one only needs willingness to work and a desire to succeed. Unfortunately, many in the area are simply unwilling, and are therefore unneeded and unwanted.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Morrisroe, Bay St. Louis, MS : 6:29 PM ET
"She says too many locals don't have the skills they need to get a job."

Let me guess, it's the government's responsibility to make sure everyone has these skills, right Karrie? Get serious.

Oliver Thomas was dead on. The residents of New Orleans need to kick Mayor Nagin the curb and elect a no-nonsense, forward thinking, get-it-done-right man like this.

Don't have the skills? Well then, you better stop wasting time and find them before the NEW New Orleans passes you by!
Posted By Anonymous ACG, Charlotte, NC : 6:29 PM ET
I can see the councilmans point, the last thing you want or need is someone leeching from a city thats already down and out and trying to rebuild.
Posted By Anonymous Damien, New Canaan CT : 6:30 PM ET
A city in need such as new orleans can't afford to spend money on free loaders they must rebuild first then deal with the people who choose not to work becuase they abuse the system.
Posted By Anonymous John , Toledo Ohio : 6:33 PM ET
No skills? I believe that is referred to as unskilled laborer. Certainly that job is in high demand while rebuilding an entire city. Anymore more lame excuses, or would it be too much work to think of one?
Posted By Anonymous TJ Marietta GA : 6:36 PM ET
He's absolutley right for saying those comments. There is a lot of work to be done in New Orleans, both skilled and unskilled. If you choose to be unemployed, then give up your public housing to someone who wants to take part in rebuilding a great city.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Taylor, Fresno, Ca : 6:36 PM ET
Thomas is saying what people in any city think: if you don't want to work, nobody should have to support you. Thomas is referring to people who don't WANT to work, not people who need help finding work and want a job.
Posted By Anonymous John Poole, Houston, TX : 6:36 PM ET
I agree with the city councilman. My sister brought 19 people to Miami from New Orleans by private plane. She and her friends set up a charitable foundation. ALL of the people she brought here were given very nice apartments or house ( all furniture and goods donated) with 1 year free rent, each family got a used car, help to get jobs, whole wardrobes of clothes, help to enroll children in school, psychiatric counceling for post traumatic stress, helped them get healthcare, the children are given allowance ( which they have never seen in their lives ) each week ( out of her pocket ), thanksgiving and christmas parties. Their quality of life was most improved and they have had the opportunity to improve their lives even more. With most of their expenses paid for 1 year, they all could have saved a lot of money. At the end of the year, they could have been independent with actual choices of what they wanted to do with their lives. They could stay here and build roots or they could return to New Orleans, or any other place of their choice. Instead, most of them are no longer employed, they have kept their children out of school and do not care they arent being educated, ( did I mention computers were given to them as well ), there are domestic problems, etc etc. My sister had a meeting with each family because it is the 1/2 way point to the end of the year. TO impress upon them the opportunity they have and to help them get back on track. People all over the country came to the aid of the people in New Orleans, unfortunately, I do not think they wanted help in the long run, just the short term. The sad thing is, we had people right here in Miami who needed help from our own hurricanes, who would have not only appreciated the generosity and compassion but hopefully would have come back better than before. This is not a racial issue, it is a cultural issue, the people my sister brought here and tried to help in a large way, are culturally different and all of the help and compassion is not going to change them. I suggested she ask them now, stay or go back to New Orleans, and use the donated money to send them all back. Let New Orleans deal with them as they always have, by not dealing with them. New Orleans better be prepared to help their own when the next hurricane hits.
Posted By Anonymous Tina Forster, Miami, Florida : 6:37 PM ET
How much skill does it take to help rebuild and clean up New Orleans? There have got to be lots of low skill jobs to do just to get the city back in shape. And what kind of jobs are available in the first place if all these businesses have been destroyed? I do think people should get jobs and not just "sit around" but what are their options?
Posted By Anonymous Laura Schultz, East Aurora, NY : 6:37 PM ET
If you don't have a job in New Orleans now, its because you don't want one. Fast food places are advertising $9 per hour plus a signing bonus. Everyone is hiring. Its not too much to ask everyone to participate.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Atlanta GA : 6:37 PM ET
Pay them to go to school and if they dont want to go they should recieve no money.
Posted By Anonymous tom,dallas texas : 6:38 PM ET
Don't they already have rules about being on welfare? You know, like the fact that welfare recipients can't be on the rolls for long anymore and have to either work part time or be going to school to train for a better job? I could have sworn that was passed during Clinton's presidency! It's pretty evident that some of the Uptowners in New Orleans want to change a lot of things about New Orleans, but saying that no one should come back unless they have a job is blatant discrimination, imo.
Posted By Anonymous Jane Brock, Reserve, LA : 6:39 PM ET
Hard as it is to hear, this may be just what New Orleans needs to get back on its feet. After taking a HUGE hit to city revenue (billions of dollars lost in tourism revenue), it seems fairly obvious that the city cannot support the rebuilding of the city and its community along with the tremendous welfare state that existed prior to the Katrina tragedy.
Posted By Anonymous Keivn Buck, Washington, DC : 6:41 PM ET
Thank goodness an African-American leader finally stepped up to the plate and doled out the harsh truth that the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons won't risk losing their popularity to say. We're a city teetring on the brink and there is no room for anyone to lay on our collective leg. You don't need skills to work at Wendee's or McDonalds, and they're giving out $150 weekly bonuses! There is absolutely no exuse to not have a job here now; if you can walk and talk (even slang will do!) you can get a job.
Posted By Anonymous W.C., New Orleans, LA : 6:43 PM ET
Councilman Thomas is doing both. New Orleans dirty little secret is out. Nobody ever cared about poor in New Orleans or anywhere else. Black or White, if you are poor you will not be taken seriously. There will not be any priorities set on getting your life together. America has nothing but contempt for poor people. Don't believe me ask the president and his well-to-do co-horts. For years New Orleans has been under the control of black politicians and their only concern has been for themselves and immediate family. Of course they did not bring in the corruption but they did nothing to halt it. If anything corruption got worse. This city will never be the same and that does not mean they are going to get better as the "new New Orleans". All you see happening now is people from all sides trying to gain control of the city for all the wrong reasons.
Posted By Anonymous Stan M, Baton Rouge, LA : 6:43 PM ET
Why should they return to a city just to leach off of it's welfare system?

Why wouldn't they want to get jobs? The city has plenty of low to no skill jobs in the labor/construction industries. Aftert all, it IS rebuilding, isn't it? Anyone worthy of living there needs to pull their weight and start somewhere, and the excuse that they are 'down and out' isn't one that is given by those who want to do better. Survival of the fittest, not survival of the laziest.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, San Diego, CA : 6:44 PM ET
My message to Thomas is this;


Carol in Texas
Posted By Anonymous Carol in Lufkin, Texas : 6:44 PM ET
There are a lot of reasons to be poor in America, but there aren't any reasons why anyone should remain poor. Especially considering that of all the cities that have a lot of work that needs to get done, New Orleans has got to be at the top of the list.
Posted By Anonymous Wayne Springer, Houston, TX : 6:44 PM ET
Although I believe Mr. Thomas could have been a little more subtle with his wording, New Orleans will never begin to recover until those that move back into the city begin to offer a "helping hand" by becoming a part of the workforce. I'm sure the tax base is already drained and would just become worse if citizens refuse to do their part. Good luck to the City of New Orleans. Now is the time to start establishing expectations of everyone choosing to return to that beautiful city... either help or stay out.
Posted By Anonymous David Cantu, Ft. Worth, Texas : 6:45 PM ET
What Thomas is saying is true, but doesn't need to be said. Before Katrina someone without skills really couldn't get a job in this town, particularly if they were black. Today, there is a derth of labor and housing, which means that the city's housing needs to go to those who are willing to work. The construction boom here means that skills are not, at least not for now, a requirement. So, yes, the comments are truthful. However, they are also insulting because they belie an assumption that those who weren't working before had chosen their lots in life.
Posted By Anonymous Jack, New Orleans, LA. : 6:45 PM ET
I think that New Orleans leaders are acting like this is a chance to start over, and all the things like poverty and people that are loafting as Mr. Thomas would say, are not going to be asked back, this is not just a problem that New Orleans has or had all city's state's and province's have this problem. They are acting like the people that have lived there for generations no longer have a claim on the only land they know. This is not a new chunk of land that came from the water this is a chunk of land that was damaged by water. It's funny to hear all these Politicians saying what New Orleans should be, when it's obvious that they never knew what it was to begin with.
Posted By Anonymous Nick Genovese, Hamilton, Ontario : 6:46 PM ET
If you build it they will come. That's what happened with charity hospital. Do something good for some one but don't expect reciprocal responsibility and behavioral change then you reap the consequences. New Orleans doesn't want to repopulate with a bunch of free loaders. The city has never been safer. Evidence of that can be found in Houston since all the crime shifted there.
Posted By Anonymous P. Wierzbicki, Bedford, TX : 6:46 PM ET
I kind of agree with him. However, there may be quite a few reasons why someone is a public housing resident, some of which may be out of their control. I don't think it was wise for him to make a blanket statement like that. First, their state/city governments need to address the underlying reasons why so many people may be in that situation and their leaders should take some responsibility for it.
Posted By Anonymous SR, DeLand, FL : 6:46 PM ET
I think the councilman was completely justified in saying that people need to get jobs. New Orleans is going to need to work extra hard now to have any hope of re-establishing itself as an American city. With some of the stories we hear of evacuees spending their money on tattoos, handbags, jewelry, etc, it's no suprise he's a bit apprehensive regarding the attitudes of his residents. These people obviously have suffered tremendously, but moping about and using it as an excuse to sit back waiting for handouts is not the right way to go about it. Let's have some of that American resolve and show how strong we can be!
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Nanuet NY : 6:47 PM ET
I don't have a problem with the idea that Councilman Thomas has, but the way in which that idea was presented could be seen as a bit "rough." I can understand if somebody were to get upset simply because the councilman was a little too blunt. Make the people feel like they're on the same page as Thomas is... don't threaten them.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Los Angeles, CA : 6:48 PM ET
Too many locals dont have the skills they need to get a job? What does that mean? I do not think it takes alot of skill to get a job at McDonalds. They have 14 year olds working there. Im sure the Councilman isn't implying that they need to go out and become a Vice President of a corporation.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Boston, MA : 6:49 PM ET
I think he is saying what needs to be stated, although we created a problem by allowing one generation to another to become dependant upon welfare. I dont see why we cant take the folks who say they lack skills and put them collecting garbage, how skilled is that? Then they learn what it is like to be responsible. Put people who lack skills washing city vehicles in city garages or being a mechanics helper or a janitor sweeping floors, earning the money they are so freely given. For those with younguns, let them help take care of the others with younguns.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce Cronkite Jacksonville North Carolina : 6:50 PM ET
These people want to be lazy and have everything done for them. I understand that they have been through the roughest times of their lives but they need to get out of the house and get one of the many no skill jobs that our society offers today. Anything to make a honest dollar. I would be ashamed of myself if I had to accept money every week that I didn't deserve or earn. Stock food, clean dishes, flip burgers anything to stop being a debt to society. I believe Mr. Thomas is correct when he says these comments. The city wants to grow and flourish not continue to fall down this slippery economic slope.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Baton Rouge LA : 6:50 PM ET
At least there's ONE local political leader in N.O. that has their head on straight !!

The rest of the country wants to help - but you got to be leading the cause to pull yourselves up !!!

As for Ms. McElveen, its NOT N.O.'s fault, nor the state's, nor the feds if she or anyone else doesn't have job skills. Ever heard of public education? Should have stayed in school and learned a skill. Its her attitude that dismays many in this country that want to help, but ponder how many in the N.O. area just want a constant hand out instead of a hand-up.
Posted By Anonymous Dean, L.A. - California : 6:50 PM ET
Thomas isn't "really" kicking people when they're down - he's simply following the direction of his leaders - the Bush administration. After all, those poor blacks can't really be important to the city if they don't make campaign contributions.
Posted By Anonymous S. Smith, New Orleans, LA : 6:50 PM ET
This country has made it too easy to do nothing to earn a living and get help from the government. It seems to me that assistance should be a subsidy, not a freebie. If a job in the private sector can't be found, I'm sure that the city itself must have something that needs to be done. We shouldn't have to be "sorry" for holding people accountable for their own well-being. Of course exceptions should be made to this rule, but not lightly. If you're physically able to work, you should! There are plenty of both educated and uneducated people out there that work physically hard to support their families.
Posted By Anonymous Carrie Weeks, Newton NJ : 6:51 PM ET
Susan, thanks for this story. I think City Councilman Oliver Thomas is just "saying what needs to be said." I think he is also voicing what a lot of Americans feel. After reading this AC 360 Blog this past 2 weeks with the Mexico Border Wall issue, and last week's story on this blog about Katrina evacuees and increased crime rates in Houston, TX, I sense, after reading a LOT of viewers'/readers' comments, that there is a lot of pent up frustration in the entire US with some of our shall we say "relaxed" social policies. Several of your readers/viewers pointed out the high incidence of unemployment (and crime) for generations in New Orleans. People get tired of seeing these entire communities of poverty going on forever across generations, and blaming it on the "establishment" or "government", and feeling they are "owed" $$ and housing, resources. Good for Councilman Thomas--in the hyper-sensitive world of Political Correctness we live in, it's refreshing to see such an honest, non-politicized comment, especially from a politician! Bravo!
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Sacramento, California : 6:52 PM ET
Since Councilman Thomas hasn't been off the government payroll since Katrina hit, he might have used a little gentler wording.

I highly doubt the folks living in tent city have a tv for soap opera watching anyway.
Posted By Anonymous Christy, Martensville Canada : 6:52 PM ET
Councilman Thomas is absolutely right. Residents of public housing should always seek to be employed if they are able. Asking citizens to be a contributing member of society instead of merely a drain is a refreshing and sensical request - not a kick to already downed residents. Havings jobs can only lift downed residents. To the claim that many locals are unable to find jobs due to a lack of skills, I say: seek skills. And if society has established barriers that prevent you from seeking skills, then attempt to find a job that requires fewer skills. Several entry level jobs are available in Mobile - come on over and we'll put a spatula in your left hand and a paycheck in your right.
Posted By Anonymous Steve Marbut, Mobile, AL : 6:54 PM ET
Thank you Councilman Thomas for making the comments you did. You were honest, to the point, and said what you thought was right. I think it is very refreshing, and unfortunately very rare to see a politician actually say something of substance in this day and time. Isn't it a shame that instead of just reporting what he said, the news media - like CNN, are fishing for a potential race story.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Gonzales, LA : 7:43 PM ET
I used to be a N.O. resident. Black folks, yeah, we're hard working, but there are quite a few that are not. And those down in the Deep South ought to be looking to themselves for inspiration. We have to stop looking at others as a source of money and hand-outs. We got to respect ourselves by working hard before we expect others to respect us. I did it and now I own my own business with 5 employees. it feels good too.
Posted By Anonymous Ladainlian, NYC : 8:36 PM ET
New Orleans has been a city with high unemployment for a very long time. The jobs have always been there for those that want and are able to work. Its true that the "complexion" of the city has changed since the evacuation. I don't think that's good for the city. Rather than hold people to an particular standard of post Katrina conduct let's just tell people its safe to come back and that we want them back.

If they come, we will rebuild. It does not need to be the other way around. People are the heart and sole of an economy. Unemployed or otherwise, all citizens are consumers. All of New Orleans former residents are welcome, and so are the courageous, adventurous, guest workers that are doing the bulk of the heavy lifting at present. I think that Councilman Thomas' remarks are glib rhetoric and show an insensitivity to poverty. New Orleans has historically been a poor city. I want NOLA back the way it was, not some shining, gentrified "NEW" New Orleans.

The magic of our city is from the interplay of cultures, races, nationalities, and the Fabulously rich Blue Bloods who have not had to work for multiple generations living alongside the terribly poor who have cleaned thier toilets and lived of their scraps since before abolition. This interplay gives us the Blues, Creole cuisuine and a vital truth that makes it special, contrast.

Councilman Thomas would better serve us by talking about how we are going to prevent a new tragedy next year. This can and will happen again. Let's build some levies and some "bridges."
Posted By Anonymous Robert S. New Orleans, LA : 9:21 PM ET
HELLO?! I've been commenting repeatedly and getting censored here. I challenged CNN to ask the tough question of able-bodies evacuees: "have you considered getting a job?"
I also challenged CNN to show on camera the Sunday jobs section of any newspaper.

Is it for us taxpayers to pay the living expenses of people living in the permanent sub-group of unmotivated citizens?

If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance.
Posted By Anonymous Tina -Chicago IL : 10:39 PM ET
they should do the same for all public housing in any city. put those freeloaders to work. anything to earn thier keep.
Posted By Anonymous dan cassidy meriden, ct. : 11:23 PM ET
I have just returned from a pre-proposal conference in Belle Chase LA. We were told by the the Navy Captain in charge of re-construction on the base that we "Should not expect to find any local help. The unemployment rate in construction here [Louisiana] is 0%". During the project walk through, all of the other contractors validated his statement. There are signs on every street corner, ads in the Times Picayune and temporary labor offices that have sprung up like weeds all over N.O. It seems that the people who are currently 'unemployed', are 'unemployed' because they choose to be. I have grown tired of reading about the 'poor Katrina evacuees' who can't get a break. What have they been doing for 6 months in those hotel rooms? How long does it take to find a job?
Posted By Anonymous Mark Ancona, Viera, Florida : 9:17 AM ET
Councilman Thomas is saying what absolutely needs to be said. There are too many uneducated and skilless poeple in this country. But on the other hand there are also many jobs that don't require too much skill, just the willingness to learn. People don't realize that low-paying jobs can lead to management positions with benefits.
Posted By Anonymous Francesca, Jupiter, FL : 9:17 AM ET
What he should have said is this: We have programs in place to train those impacted by hurrican Katrina, to become productive citizens in our community, Welcome Home!"
Posted By Anonymous Karen S, Oakwood Village, Ohio : 9:21 AM ET
New Orleans won't BE a city if it does not have basic infrastructure and it won't have basic infrastructure until locals step up and start contributing. There is a ridiculous amount of work to be done here - most areas of the city look like the hurricane happened yesterday - but the lines outside the unemployment office start hours before the office opens. People are asking when FEMA is going to find housing for them but the houses just need to be repaired and the people who work for FEMA have enough work to do in their offices 80 hours a week. So many people think this issue is about who has the "right" to be in New Orleans but it's not: it's about facing a tough reality and pulling OURSELVES out of it. We can't give large groups of citizens license to simply inhabit this city and depend on certain sectors and outside workers to sacrifice as much as they are sacrificing to actually rebuild it.
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, New Orleans, LA : 6:07 PM ET
It is nobodys fault but their own. McDonalds is always hiring. Oliver Thomas was right...someone needs to say something..I think Ray Nagin has said enough!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Ken D Citronelle, AL : 4:36 PM ET
I am amazed that after all this time there are residents suing to remain on a cruise ship that is ready to leave port.Come on now.How many have sought employement during the last 6 months and how many sought work for the Mardi Gras?
What happens when another hits this year?
Posted By Anonymous Bob Tomah Wisconsin : 11:55 AM ET
New Orleans has lost an opportunity to rebuild a city by all the residents. This was a chance to employ those residents that were not working and give them the opportunity to pick up the debris, clean, rebuild their city, their neighborhods, their streets and help others. It is amazing that al of the debris has not been moved. Are we waiting for some MEGA company to get a billion dollar contract to clean up the area? use the prisoners, use the community to do that work and you would probably find that they will be more invested in their city that they helped to bring back from the devastation of Katrina. I say this country is not ready for any type of large scale displacement of peopleor any disaster. six months later we are seeing just how inept our government is
as they are allowing insurance companies and government bureaucracy to dictate the pace of recovery. Get that debris removed, recycled from the communities. Get streets paved, repaired. Get some trailers in their from Arkansas. Get some electricity and sewage going. Get cable tv or satellite to use their workers to help. Please use some trailers for schools and lets see some children and then maybe people will want to return.
Posted By Anonymous Gloria Thompson, Baltimore, MD : 7:10 PM ET
Definitely saying something that needs to be said and should have been said a long time ago.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, New Orleans LA : 12:45 PM ET
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