10 July 2008

Boo hoo! 

This is hardly surprising news. What's crazy is Kip Holden's angered reaction to it.

First there was triumphalism (thanks be to jeebus for all the new concerts!!)

"We've met our 10-year business-development plan in just a few weeks," says Stephen Moret, CEO of the Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge. "It's an opportunity, but it's a difficult situation because it's within all our interests for New Orleans to get back on its feet."

Signs of boom times are everywhere. Wal-Mart trucks stream in with blankets, water, gasoline cans and food for new residents jamming the chain's 14 local stores. Traffic jams rival those in Los Angeles. Airlines have added passenger flights to Chicago and other cities. FedEx and other cargo carriers are boosting service, too.

Then they wondered how they might deal with the social ramifications of the population explosion.

Baton Rouge -- a formal city, home to the state's government -- had long seen itself as an antidote to the laissez-faire goings-on in New Orleans. But now, after a year of new realities and soul-searching, Baton Rouge has found itself frightened of what the hurricane has thrust upon it, worried that its sense of order has been forever altered.

"Be honest with me," says Cora Nixon, who works as a health-care aide for the elderly and has lived here most of her life. "These New Orleans people aren't going back, are they?"

At times it can feel like a brew of every ill that has flummoxed major American cities in recent decades has come to land in Baton Rouge.

Local officials wake up each morning wondering what crisis might toss their day into turmoil -- a shooting at one of the FEMA-run trailer parks, a car accident that ties up traffic for miles, a neighborhood skirmish over gang turf. A "What next?" feeling is pervasive.

Now Kip Holden is just mad at "erroneous numbers".

Holden said the city has requested another full census before the federal government’s official 2010 count but has not made any progress with the Census Bureau.

“In two more years, it’s going to be really embarrassing when they realize that they have used bad figures,” he said.

Embarrassing to whom? Demographers? I'm sure they'll all be red-faced and cowering under their covers if these numbers turn out wrong. Maybe someone's happy people are finally going home.

09 July 2008

Change I can believe in 

Meanwhile, this can only be good news for Barack.

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