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Letters to the Editor 

Get the word out
Your main editorial column for the Sept. 25 issue ('Objective Proof," Commentary) was very powerful. What concerns me, however, is whether the people who most need to see these facts will actually see the column.

I have little doubt that many, if not most, regular readers are already very familiar with the whole story. The issue is that there have been a spate of editorial columns around the country recently to the effect that New Orleans doesn't deserve any more attention or aid because: (1) Since New Orleans residents are all lazy and corrupt, the aid disbursed so far has all been wasted, and (2) anyone who lives here is foolish and deserves to suffer if a storm comes.

Unfortunately, it's very easy for many to quickly buy into such sentiments. Even in many quarters around the state there's very little love and a very low regard for New Orleans and many of the things for which it stands. While many people from around the country like to visit and party here, they don't take New Orleans seriously and share the same 'lazy, corrupt whiners deserve no giveaways" perception as many upstate residents do.

This is not to deny New Orleans has done damage to its own cause. Nevertheless, the city is in a tough fight for fairness and its own survival. Which way will the federal decision-makers turn? Will they be fair or will they only hear the voices of their anti-New Orleans constituents, whose volume seems to be growing?

Every single member of Congress and everyone at FEMA needs to have this editorial in front of them and pounded into them, not to mention certain columnists around the country.

Richard E. Parisi

Injustice for All
Two independent policy research groups' recent reports state that Louisiana got shortchanged on federal recovery money (Re: 'Objective Proof," Commentary, Sept. 25). Both studies consider falsely that the primary damage caused to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida was the result of hurricanes. In the case of Louisiana, that is untrue; Louisiana's losses were primarily caused by the U.S. government.

Katrina was a secondary cause of the damage and loss of life in Louisiana. The U.S. Congress and the U.S. Corps of Engineers are 100 percent responsible. Congress and the Corps created the first causes of this disaster with the faulty design and construction of the Mississippi River levee system that began in the 1920s. This diversion of silt from Louisiana's wetlands destroyed our natural barriers to hurricane damage.

In 1968, Congress charged the Corps with designing and building a levee system around New Orleans to protect against at least a category 3 hurricane. The Corps' design was fatally deficient and was proved to be faulty by Katrina, which was a category 2 hurricane when it reached New Orleans. The Corps' construction was also deficient. It was both structurally weak and had heights below even its own, woefully inadequate designs.

Going back 40 years before Katrina, each Congress failed to properly fund its own mandate or properly oversee that the Corps complied. All of Louisiana's senators and representatives were doubly guilty. For decades prior to Katrina, the devastation of New Orleans was predicted in widely published studies by reputable engineers. Before Katrina, Congress, and particularly members from Louisiana, became ostriches. Since the hurricane, all of Louisiana's senators and representatives have morphed from ostriches into beggars, seeking favors from other guilty lawmakers.

The damage to Louisiana and the damage to Iraq were both equally caused by the U.S. Government, but Iraqis get more consideration and federal dollars for recovery than do Louisianans.

Harry L. Tabony

Love Your Park
We thoroughly enjoyed your article and superb coverage on the recovery of City Park ('Putting It Together Again," Sept. 11). It is fantastic that the number of volunteers continues to grow. The Mystic Krewe of Shangri-la adopted the Train Garden in City Park last year and is maintaining this special area.

It's amazing that with all that is needed and yet to be repaired, City Park is looking to improve, enhance and add additional facilities and activities. Can't wait for the bike paths! Every celebrity that comes to the city for a photo op, should pick up a broom or a rake and help with the clean up and rebuilding efforts.

Valerie Wild Killion


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