Surely, it was terrific to see three Presidents, many federal officials and national media visit the area. The focus allowed New Orleans to bask in the glory of recovery although the points were often made, there are two recoveries, one successful, and one not. The argument is, those outside of the realm of wealth and power, particularly those in the African American community, have not seen the Katrina benefits, yet. I believe that case is one of perspective and degree. Surely, the beautiful multi-income housing replacing the projects, the better schools, the jobs created during the recovery have benefited many in the black community. Yet, still much more needs to be done not only for them, but by them.
There was another value in revisiting the memories of ten years gone by. We had a chance to re-consider events, take a look at history more objectively than we did when we were out of house and wondering if our friends, neighbors and relatives would ever return.
Some have insisted upon maintaining the blame game. Some of my Republican Party friends will go down to their grave, blaming Governor Blanco for the difficult recovery, Nagin for single-handedly stealing and wasting whatever good will and momentum, existed. Some of them will even and still blame Obama for the Katrina failures, although he virtually had nothing to do with the initial recovery phase as of course, he was not even in power at the time.
Then, some of my Democratic Party friends will blame President Bush for failing to provide adequate monies, for picking a fight with Governor Blanco, for not acting fast enough and even for not mentioning Katrina during a State of Union address or visiting the city enough.
Taking the high and I believe the right road, was Donna Brazille for praising Bush. Bush was a victim of the moment as was Blanco, Nagin and so many others. We were living not only a nightmare but a time in life that had no precedent, no manual and no right or wrong way to navigate the turbulent times. We were struggling to reinvent government, put tens of thousands into shelter and then homes. We reconstructed our schools. For the most part, despite some will argue otherwise, we were able to transfer billions of dollars to needy homeowners and billions to rebuild our infrastructure, with a minimum of politicians greasing their palms. Sure, Nagin got his due as did a number of others. But, when you think about the billions of dollars that came our way, we got it right.
While there were numerous events during this week to help us remember, to pray and to honor, I unfortunately only attended two. The first was to watch President Obama speak to the city and the nation. The second, was to attend and video the final commemoration with President Clinton as the Keynote speaker.
Below is a video I created which are snippets of these two incredible moments.
If there is one lesson I have learned during this ten year period and the week of remembrance, no political party owns the recovery, nor the blame for those things that went wrong.
As we now look forward, it is time for us to put the partisan politics aside. We have and will learn from our mistakes and more importantly, we will survive.