I sent a letter to the NY Times which was published by the editors today.  Here is the original Times Observer Editorial and my response:

In New Orleans, Life and Hope stir at the Bottom

Published: May 7, 2007

New Orleans is slumping into hurricane season. The danger is not just in the weather. Hotels in the French Quarter are hiring private security squads to soothe jittery guests; the police are considered outmanned and unreliable. Those polite young men with black polo shirts and Glocks are not busboys. The restaurants and bars are humming, though, and the beat of rhythm and blues pours into the street. It is a faint approximation of a civic pulse.

Outside the tourist zone, New Orleans remains a city of indolence and ruin. On the edges of the Central Business District, fires are erupting in abandoned buildings, at least three in the last week. The smoke curling under the highway overpasses has an ugly chemical smell. The Lower Ninth Ward is still mostly empty, vast and mute. But there is hustle and energy in the baking heat, in places like the parking slabs near Home Depot and Lowe’s, where Hispanic, black and a few white laborers gather every morning for work.

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