New Orleans had been in long-term decline well before Katrina, losing more than a quarter of its population since 1960. The ills of the city had been well known.
Yesterday's LA Times reported "Speculators Rushing In as the Water Recedes". Sure, buy low, sell high. The long descent is over; the bottom has been sighted. And the feds will be sending boatloads of pork for some time. The President's speech confirmed it and it was wise to start the bidding even before the words came out of his mouth.
Several forces will be converging on the disaster area. They include decent charitable work, big government hand-outs (many of which will be wasted and/or stolen), heavy-handed government rules and programs, and entrepreneurial activity. While charitable work is wonderful, the heavy lifting will be spurred by the entrepreneurial sector.
Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta are great American cities that were once practically razed. They survived and came back, better than ever. It may be sad but true that it took the likes of Katrina and its aftermath to turn New Orleans' decline around.
It has been sport these days to come up with cities that did not come back. High on such lists are Sodom and Gommorah. It is still unclear whether Bourbon Street makes the cut.