More to Big Easy than tourist areas

Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 12:11 a.m.
Eugene Robinson got it right when he said in his column (Jan. 14) "the old New Orleans is dead." But it's been dead a long time, since long before Katrina flooded it. Robinson has merely a visitor's view of New Orleans. He doesn't have to live there, amid the poverty, crime, congestion, decay and corruption. He can check in and check out of town without having to encounter its dark, dangerous, depressing side, which the people of New Orleans have had to live with every day and night.
He doesn't have to remember what New Orleans was like before the swollen suburbs took away the importance of Canal Street, before Pontchartrain Beach became blighted, City Park became a danger zone, old neighborhoods became slums, and the scenes of a native New Orleanian's happy childhood vanished.
New Orleans is more than Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, Mardi Gras or the riverfront hotels. It's a city of the people who live there - or used to. It needs to be rebuilt for them, not just to be quaint, but to be livable, as it once was.
Ben Patterson, Gainesville

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