New Orleans residents held marches and vigils on Wednesday to mark the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Ray Nagin rang a bell at the precise time when a major levee broke, flooding the city, and choked up as he talked about children who “cry every time there’s a hard thunderstorm, because they’re afraid another storm is coming.”
President Bush visited the still-davastated city. Residents and activists said the day-to-day struggles of rebuilding and recovering from the storm will continue for a long time.
New Orleans is facing a new threat, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. The city’s government is sending out new property tax assessments that are intended to correct past errors and corruption, but the effect on many homeowners will be higher tax bills. The City Council will have to step in to help if it wants to “give homeowners a strong reason not to flee” before their tax bills arrive.
New Orleans should have been turned into “a tax-free enterprise zone” long ago, said Larry Kudlow on National Review Online. Then the free-market would have taken over and the rebuilding of the city would have been more efficient. Instead, the federal government sent the city a “$127 billion check.” What a waste.
“Two years have passed, and Americans are still displaced, waters are still rising,” said author Walter Mosley in The Philadelphia Inquirer. So don’t call this an anniversary, because that suggests there is something to celebrate. “What we are scratching on the calendar is more like a notch on a raw gravestone, a count of the days and years that have passed without a reckoning for those who died, those who lost loved ones, and for a city that is still in critical condition.”