Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Orleans: looking forward, looking inward

Talking about New Orleans today, our town manager Cal Horton, who knows a thing or two about the workings of cities, speculated that it might just never come back. I don't know, though. I'm betting on the Big Easy. Cities are resilient. "Although cities have been destroyed throughout history--sacked, shaken, burned, bombed, flooded, starved, irradiated, and poisoned--they have, in almost every case, risen again like mythic phoenix," write Lawrence Vale and Thomas Campanella. Curiously, "the rate of resilience seems to have increased since 1800 even though the mechanisms for destruction have multiplied."

But that will take time. Now is another story. Yesterday's story was that martial law had been declared in and around the city. Today's correction is that martial law is not, technically, possible under Louisiana law, though it is certainly possible to declare a state of emergency.

Ah, the phrases that come so easily, the metaphors we live by. I wonder why?

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