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Letters to the Editor 

Early Diagnosis

After reading the article "Wigging Out" (Dec. 13) I find myself worrying that there is a premature label being put on the people of New Orleans.

The article discusses the innumerable psychological disorders that we as New Orleanians are probably suffering. It also details all of the different types of psychopharmaceutical drugs we are taking to deal with these problems. It seems as though we are already being pegged as mental-health messes without realizing that all of the "symptoms" -- the problems sleeping, crying spells, relationship problems, and irritability -- are all normal reactions to a very abnormal event.

I do not want to downplay the true psychological issues that some people may be facing due to Katrina, nor do I think that the "normal" reactions people are having are not unnerving. I just think that we need to remember that individuals do have a tendency towards resiliency and most are able to get back to their normal, pre-crisis levels of functioning.

Part of what makes this city so wonderful is its ability to celebrate and to let the good times roll. I hope this doesn't get forgotten.

— Ilyse Goldberg

Thanks for the Voice

I have been struggling for weeks to write a letter to my out-of-town relatives and friends to explain what I'm going through. Now all I have to do is email them this article ("Wigging Out," Dec. 13). To me, the emotional toll the storm has taken far outweighs the loss of property. Sometimes I even feel that the ones who lost their lives in the storm, especially the elderly, were actually the lucky ones.

— Cheryl mire

Stick to the Real Facts

The Advocate and the Times-Picayune have proven themselves as either fools or tools with their misrepresentation of facts about the Orleans Levee District. It is time you publish a bit of real fact rather than out-of-context innuendo.

The Orleans Levee District inspects its levees 365 days per year and conducts a drive-by once per year with Corps of Engineers, Orleans Levee District and Department of Transportation and Development senior staff. Why, pray tell, do you manage to report the annual, one-day affair when it is not relevant to the real inspection effort?

The Advocate has even proved it does not understand the difference between gross and after-tax pay.

Lest I be accused of being vague about "tools," let's be blunt. Both papers are tools of the business lobby -- the Chamber and its auxiliary wives -- who are busy collecting signatures and smearing fine people who have devoted a lifetime seeking to protect all of New Orleans. Someone ought to be sued for that.

The Chamber knows that changing state law to require public bidding for personal-service contracts will cure the whole state, while destroying the Orleans Levee District won't do much more than enrich the "private sector." What is the Chamber's real beef?

Many employees of the Orleans Levee District lost everything they had. And they lost their near-perfect record against flooding.

Many helped evacuate folks from New Orleans East and had to face guns as they evacuated through St. Tammany Parish. I challenge you to tell the positive about them.

— James B. Bollinger
Baton Rouge

Hold Them Accountable

It is common sense that in order for New Orleans to recover, electricity and gas are necessary. Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to grasp this concept and denied funds to "help" Entergy.

I don't believe in government bailing out corporations. But I do believe, along with the legal world, that when one has been wronged by another, they are entitled to restitution. If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was grossly negligent, (criminally negligent?) in building and maintaining levees, shouldn't they be responsible for damages caused by the water flowing through those levees? The federal government should pay for those damages sustained by Entergy that were caused directly from the flood: i.e. power stations, trucks, gas lines, manpower etc. It would not be a bail out. It is paying for the damage they caused -- another concept this presidential administration has a problem understanding.

— Amy Gisleson
Phoenix, Ariz.

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