Aug 23, 201012:00 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

New Orleans, Five Years Ago This Week

This week five years ago was the last week of New Orleans before Katrina. In many ways the city’s contemporary history would begin anew, to be dated by the event that we now observe as the Year Five. Here is a miscellaneous list of what New Orleans was like in the last days of August '05 before our lives would dramatically change. Your additions are welcomed.


•  Ray Nagin was mayor. He was still popular and seen as a reformer.
•  Kathleen Blanco was governor. She was respected for her experience.
•  Council member at large Oliver Thomas was seen as the most likely next mayor.
•  Very few people were familiar with the federal agency known as FEMA.
•  Donald Trump announced that the Trump Tower would be built in the city. (That ultimate failure would have more to do with the national economy than Katrina.)
• Approval of Federal City, a military complex on the Westbank, was announced.
• Huey Long’s birthday was celebrated at the Fairmont, which was the former Roosevelt. (Now the Roosevelt is the former Fairmont.)
• Orleans Parish’s public school system was a failure and overwhelmed with pockets of corruption.
• Large parts of the population lived in run-down public housing projects.
• Arnold Fielkow was a little-known Saints vice president.
• Jim Haslett was the coach and Aaron Brooks was the quarterback as the Saints limped through preseason.
• The local movie industry was rapidly growing.
• Local levee boards helped maintain lake levees.
• Hibernia bank was still called by that name and had branches throughout the state.
• Cruise ship business was expanding.
• We could watch sunsets at West End and Bucktown while dining at Brunings and Sid-Mars.
• In popular language, pre-K still stood for “before kindergarten” rather than “before Katrina.”

Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival- Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via e-mail at gdkrewe@aol.com or (504) 895-2266)

WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 11:30 P.M. ON WYES-TV, CHANNEL 12. NOW ON WIST RADIO, 690 AM, THE ERROL LABORDE SHOW, 8 A.M. AND 5 P.M. SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS AND 6 P.M. MONDAYS. 

 


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The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

about

Errol LabordeErrol Laborde holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of New Orleans and is the editor-in-chief of Renaissance Publishing. In that capacity he serves as editor/associate publisher of New Orleans Magazine and editor/publisher of Louisiana Life magazine.

Errol is also a producer and a regular panelist on Informed Sources, a weekly news discussion program broadcast on public television station WYES-TV, Channel 12. Errol is a three-time winner of the Alex Waller Award, the highest award given in print journalism by the Press Club of New Orleans. He also received the National and City Regional Magazine Association Award for Best Column for his New Orleans Magazine column, beating out 76 city magazines across the country. In 2013, Errol received the award for the "Best News Affiliated Blog," awarded by the Press Club of New Orleans.

Errol’s most recent books are Krewe: The Early Carnival from Comus to Zulu and Marched the Day God: A History of the Rex Organization. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis and traveling with his wife, Peggy, to anywhere they can get away to, but some of his favorite spots are the Caribbean and historic locations around Louisiana. You can reach Errol at (504) 830-7235 or errol@myneworleans.com.

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