Is the New Orleans area and Louisiana, as a state, entering a new phase of coronavirus protections and risks, too quickly? Are we emphasizing our health and safety needs more than we should? Are we abandoning the very real risks of the aged, the unhealthy and those prone to get sick or worse, die? Or, shouldn’t we recognize the irreparable harm to our institutions, our economy and our way of life?
A few days ago, I discussed these general issues with Arnie Fielkow during a Facebook Live event. I looked forward to the interview because it is not everybody who has held the positions of President of the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans City Council, the National Basketball Retired Players Association and now, the Greater New Orleans Jewish Federation. I thought he would bring an articulate, divergent and interesting perspective to the controversy. After all, looking at the issue from the vantage point of an NFL team executive would be different from the perspective of a top public servant or a head of a major not-profit organization.
Is New Orleans ready to reopen?
The nation’s economy in a free-fall. The death toll continues to shock and climb day after day. All communities are debating if and when it should abandon their severe lockdowns and return to a more restricted business-as-unusual. Currently, the United States is facing an unimaginable 20 percent unemployment. Yet, the deaths now hovering over 80,000. Some experts predict that by Memorial Day, an unthinkable 100,000 people will have died as a result of the coronavirus.
For years, Arnie Fielkow was pitching New Orleans Saints to the State of Louisiana as its Executive Vice President. After Katrina, as the City Councilman, then the Council President, he was helping the city rebuild from disaster that devastated the lives of so many and the infrastructure that made New Orleans so special. In recent years, Fielkow, who is far from being short, lived among the real redwoods of the sporting world, running the very respected National Basketball Retired Players Association, leaving the city for Chicago.
He left his heart in New Orleans. Welcome back, Arnie.
We missed you, but we’re so glad you’re home.