Sunday, December 18, 2005

No Sleep ‘Til New Orleans

It looks like evacuees are staying close to home:
Hurricane Katrina may have emptied whole sections of New Orleans, but it hasn't set in motion the great national diaspora that was widely foreseen. Instead, the vast majority of displaced households are staying close to their former homes, postal records show.
Overall, more than 80 percent of all evacuees remained in the southern states nearest the gulf region, with the top destinations being suburban New Orleans, followed by Houston, Baton Rouge, La., Dallas and Atlanta.
I would guess that many of them are staying close to facilitate moving back.

Meanwhile, FEMA might be asking them to stay away:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging hurricane victims living in hotels to consider moving out of state — even temporarily — until more housing becomes available in southern Louisiana.
If evacuees are staying in hotels anyway, why can’t they be staying in hotels here in New Orleans and the surrounding area? We need residents more than tourists. And, if FEMA pays the hotel costs, the residents get housing here in the city and the hotels make money. Win-win, no?

Just a thought. I’m not big on the tourism industry anyway. If it were up to me, I would turn all those downtown hotels into condos and apartments, revitalize downtown as a place to live, work, and shop – not just visit, and reclaim New Orleans for New Orleanians.

But, that’s another fight for another time.

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