Jim Coningsby 
Member since Jul 4, 2012


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Re: “"New Orleans became a blank slate after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005..."

Disclaimer: I was only here for about a year before the storm so feel free to snipe. I am usually in a weird position because I am one of those who started my own non-profit to help rebuild people's homes which is an industry that is mostly occupied by visiting 'do-gooders', something I've tried to lean against by prioritizing hiring people from here, but that's not always the result. I've never thought of New Orleans as a blank slate or something I could improve upon and have just tried to use my program as a vehicle for people putting their lives back together. Oddly enough, I was recently ousted from my own organization due to some board politics and most post-k people I know had the same reaction "so are you going to go back home now?" It was so disturbing to me because this is my home. I didn't come here to help people, I came here to live and then the storm happened and I knew as a neighbor I needed to help people. So my being ousted from that doesn't change the fact that I lived here regardless (I recently took another position with another organization doing similar work). It was so instinctive for them to do the math like that tho...no more recovery job = move back to where you came from. I definitely had a hard time not lecturing those folks on what it means to live some place and not just be here to do something because it's en vogue. Recently I was brutally assaulted and have yet to get the 'so are you going to move away now' remark but I fear for the first person to propose that because I will yell at them. But you're right, most of these people will leave the minute it doesn't go their way. The retention rate of post-k people particularly those doing Teach for America or helping rebuild is pretty low because eventually the city eats them up because they only live here for the festivals and fun things to do and don't live here for the bad too. Home is about being someplace where it is your base level and the things that happen around you are just what you deal with in your life. If the things that happen around you dictate where you live, then those places aren't your home.

22 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim Coningsby on 07/04/2012 at 7:28 AM

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