Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"We Must Stand Up"

This afternoon I met Angela, a Gentilly business owner who is preparing to reopen.

We talked briefly about all the services that small businesses (and residents) need to come back. The machinests. The plumbers. The electricians. There are too few in the city to accomodate the needs, so the waits for these services can be long. And then there are money issues. How do you pay for this work to get done? Hurricane insurance doesn't do much for you if when the damage is flooding from a levee, as opposed to wind damage.
As we were talking, Angela summarized my own feelings about this. "We must stand up," she said. The resources may not be here in the moment, but we must find a way when we can see the future value. Angela's definitely a real entrepreneur...
I relate to what she's saying. I'm having to change my return flight home for a second time -- on this unexpectedly organized after-Christmas trip -- to keep our progress moving. Honestly, a part of me doesn't want to spend the money, because I know there may be up to $6,000 extra on my personal credit card waiting for me when I get back because of this trip. And I don't really know yet how I will pay for it. This project is moving faster than any foundation or institutional grant than I have access too, and I didn't expect this to unfold quite in this way so fast.
But what we are doing here makes sense and must be done. From a scientific and practical point of view, we need to have a complete color coding of Gentilly within a relatively short period of time. Within a month's time span will be good as a start. The longer the period, the higher the errors associated with changes that happen locally in the meantime.
I must stand up here now. It's easier than it'd otherwise be, because I know I'm not alone. Residents of Gentilly and New Orleans have been standing for months now.


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