THE VIEW FROM PAEONIAN SPRINGS
Winds of Change in the Land of 'The Big Easy'
Katrina's aftermath will have national implications as well.
by Michael H. Thomson
September 14, 2005
I write articles and generally do not footnote them unless of course I read something that's content is directly related to something I'm writing. Most of the time, I wing it. However, that is not to say that what emanates from my computer keyboard is not influenced by outside sources. For example, I shell out about $110.00 a year for a subscription to The Economist magazine. I also read the Washington Post, my hometown newspaper - The Daily Times in Maryville, Tennessee, and a paper in south Alabama called the Brewton Standard - I know the editor of that paper, Michele Gerlach, and I enjoy reading her articles.
Then…there is the radio. As I do my 10,000 steps along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Northern Virginia, my Sony S2 is tuned to National Public Radio. TV is another story entirely.
To keep myself fair and balanced I force myself to watch some of the programming of Fox News, which I personally consider one of the most biased networks on TV. I cringe listening to the pomposity of Sean Hannity on Hannity and Colmes -cringing even more to the intensified pomposity of Bill O'Reilly on the O'Reilly Factor. In case you're wondering – I stopped listening to Limbaugh about ten years ago.
Although I hate him, I get a great deal of information from the Don Imus show, Imus in the Morning. Since his feud with Contessa Brewer has cooled, Imus has once again developed a very informative program – mostly due to his high caliber guest lineup. See, A Criticism of MSNBC.
That pretty well covers the media as an influence on Mike Thomson and that brings me to five friends and three relatives. Without giving names I'll just call them "The Manufacturer," "The Photographer," "The Lumberman," "The Master Sergeant," and "The Banker." The three relatives, respectively wife, mother, and cousin I'll simply identify as "Rocket Engineer," "School Teacher," and "Nuke Doctor."
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the impact that my fellow writers here at the Partial Observer have on the things I write - even when I disagree with them.
Like everybody, many of my opinions come from the gin of my own experience and travels. The biography at the bottom of this page will give the reader some insight but will not totally define the sources of some of the peculiar insights I'm going to relate to you on the aftermath and impact of the greatest natural disaster ever to befall this country. Here are my unscientific and fearless predictions [in parody form] of things likely to impact us all:
Terrorism: The messenger had been running all night passing through various checkpoints with coded words to reach the desert cave of The Great One with the news he had to deliver of the coastal disaster in the Land of the Great Satan. The Great One sat on a cushion, his Kalashnikov leaning against the wall of the cave. He could see his messenger was excited and made a point to offer him tea to calm him down for what was probably going to be a long story…Minutes later, the Great One himself was excited and sent for his second in command and others in his council. His message to them was clear: "Accelerate our plans for destruction in the land of the Great Satan. Allah, praise His Name, through a mighty wind and flood has put all the enemy's weaknesses on display. We must strike soon while we have an advantage. The once feared Homeland Security is not something for our brothers to fear at all.. Allah be praised!"
Las Vegas, Nevada: Halfway around the world in another desert and in a much more luxurious cave on Las Vegas Boulevard two men watch MSNBC and view the destruction of their most profitable casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
SAL: "Have you set things in motion, Manny?"
MANNY: "Yeah, all the boys are working on it. Not only are we giving money to all the various relief agencies, but also in the confusion, we're slipping some very fat envelopes to every elected official in the state. Nobody is refusing the gift. I have guarantees that the law will be changed and gambling in Mississippi will go from barge-based to land based. By this time next year, Mississippi will be a gambling Mecca. You and I will be on the ground floor.
SAL: "I prefer the penthouse suite…"
Orlando, Florida: In the small meeting room, three people watch Tiger Woods do practice putts on the golf course outside their window:
LUCY: "Did I hear you correctly, Bob. We can start buying up property in New Orleans now and then let FEMA declare it "totaled" and get money out of it for construction of our project."
DAVID: "It might not exactly work that way, but that's the general idea. I already have people ready to invest in our consortium. Money will be no problem. Our investors just want guarantees that the former residents don't flock back in droves and make the place "unpleasant" again."
BOB: "No worries mate, after the Disneyfication of New Orleans, that trash won't be able to afford to live there. What about the levees, David?"
DAVID: No worries again, Bob. The Army Corps of Engineers tells me that engineering will be better than anything in the Netherlands.
LUCY: Well I guess that's it then. All we have to work out are the rides and costumes…
DAVID: "Yeah – I think people will relate to a bigger than life Louis Armstrong character. A new head "mouse" so to speak."
BILL: Hillary, thanks to Katrina, it looks like you have a serious shot at this thing. I don't relish being "First Husband," but I can probably live with it.
HILLARY: I have no doubt. Right now, I have other worries.
BILL: What kind of worries, sugar?
HILLARY: Don't patronize me, you red-nosed boob. I'm worried about Rudy Giuliani – He has more disaster experience than I do.
BILL: You don't have anything to worry about Hon.' You have plenty of disaster experience.
HILLARY: Maybe I'm dense, hayseed, but what disaster did I ever have to deal with?
BILL: [Bill points to himself]
Like 9-11, Katrina will have a long lasting effect on the United States. Despite dire predictions, I suspect our economy will suffer least of all. New construction should provide jobs in the devastated area for years.
The political ramifications will manifest in next year's mid-term elections. I predict that the Democrats will gain at least one house. Any politician directly associated with the current administration will have an uphill battle holding on to any political credibility.
Terrorists will become emboldened by the confusion they saw during and after Katrina. Opportunists in the gambling industry will strike quickly to change the terms of doing business in Mississippi and The Disneyfication of New Orleans is taking place even as I'm writing this.
The thousands of displaced persons will begin new lives far from "The Big Easy." I predict that few will ever return.
That beautiful bayou and river music called "The Blues" will see resurgence in disparate locales such as Phoenix, Arizona and Bangor, Maine representative of the far-flung new homes of hurricane evacuees.
Having lived along the Gulf Coast for many years, some of the changes are sad, but like life – new beginnings can be exciting as well…
About the Author:
Mike Thomson once did business in the Big Easy about every three weeks and threw away a few quarters in slot machines in Biloxi.
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