Shearer Shows his Love

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

When it comes to New Orleans' supporters, Harry Shearer might not come immediately to mind — but he's one of its most vociferous voices of support. Speaking of voices, he's also of course the man who voices many of our most beloved Simpsons characters, and he's wishing we'd all be a little less like Mr. Burns, and a little more like Ned Flanders when it comes to characterizing the plight of that city. We'll talk to him today about the city that he's been a part-time resident of for the past 11 years, and its progress, two years after Katrina.

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New Orleans writer Poppy Z. Brite has a post called We're Still Not OK

http://docbrite.livejournal.com/2007/08/29/

Sent by Steve Rhodes | 2:13 PM | 8-30-2007

Because teachers are paid with taxes, paying them appropriately often means raising taxes, which as the elections of recent decades have shown, is not a popular idea.

Sent by Jean | 2:39 PM | 8-30-2007

Harry Shearer was never in Best In Show. As an avid Christopher Guest film worshiper, and a huge fan of everything Harry has been involved in, that blunder bothers me. I know it's off topic now, but quick mention to correct it would be nice.

Sent by Shanklin | 2:56 PM | 8-30-2007

Thanks for pointing that out, Shanklin. IMDB confirms your super-fan knowledge, and we'll correct it.

Sent by Barrie Hardymon | 3:03 PM | 8-30-2007

I was only listening briefly to your program but you wanted comments from listeners that have been to New Orleans post Katrina. I have been there over 20 times since the storm. The issues are bad geography ,lousy leadership and a lack of realty about what happens in a natural disaster. When someone is drowning you don't ask them how they would like to be saved. That is what we have asked New Orleans to do.New Orleans is mainly 5 parishes Orleans,Jefferson,St Bernard,St Tammany and Plaquemines. St Tammany is across Lake Pontchatrain and is where the eye of the storm hit. The others surround New Orleans.Jefferson and St Tammany are back to mostly normal.New Orleans East and St Bernard are the heart of the lost population and have the missing 200000+ residents. The abandoned housing needs to be torn down and replaced and that is what is not happening.The excuses are endless about why they can't tear them down but houses are mostly full of mold and are a hazard.They are unliveable.
The bad geography is simple . there are 3 bridges that cross Lake Pontchatrain and 2 that cross the Mississippi. The Causeway is 22 miles long and the other 2 Lake Pontchatrain bridges are 11 and 6 miles long approximately. The 2 bridges that cross the Mississippi are the Huey Long (which has begun a 3 year $1.3 billion repair that will soon allow no trucks) and the Crescent City Connection which is 2 bridges side by side. The problem with the cleanup is the dumps are across the bridge from New Oreans East and St Bernard in Jefferson Parish. The main dump River Birch is between 32-42 miles from the damaged area. The costs of teardown and removal is formidable and the dump space is disappearing. You have to dump all the housing units and all the construction debris when you rebuild.
There is no leadership providing or managing this situation with this overview.The state is just writing rules that are so full of regulations and LDEQ (Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality) red tape that the doesn't recognize the ludicrousness of the hauling situation. The Army Corp ( our federal watchdog) is in charge and they are the biggest non responsive part of the leadership vacuum. They are into hauling debris and don't spend a second on managing where it goes or what is needed to create new development.
Every idealist in the country have exotic ideas but the bottom line is that residents need homes to live in.There is no plan and the old useless homes are mostly still there.New Orleanians are about their neighborhoods and they rarely cross each others boundaries. The idealists think there are no boundaries but New Orleanians want there boundaries and their neighborhoods. Unfortunately all they ever see is there neighborhods so all they do is complain about there neighborhood.They really don't consider the next neighborhoods issue. (once again that overview that no one has).

My last comment very simple but tell tale about the poor infrastructure. My partner and I have similarly priced homes. His is in Harahan (a city in Jefferson Parish) and mine is in Cincinnati. He pays $1200 in property taxes and $7600 in insurance. I pay $1200 in insurance and $7600 in property taxes.

Sent by John J Heekin | 11:52 PM | 8-30-2007

On topic... I finally learned the actual series of events the other night while watching a public broadcasting documentary (it is perhaps telling that this was airing from midnight to two). It just wasn't totally clear for me and for many Americans, I'm sure, what exactly had gone on. I think Mr Shearer is right in that people all the way up the line are shirking their responsibilities by characterizing the disaster as an act of God or Mother Nature. The hurricane certainly was (although that too is arguable), but the destruction and death toll were NOT.

Sent by Rebecca Fenton | 1:17 AM | 8-31-2007