LEARNING FROM 2010

The bad and the good

AN ORIGINAL ©MIKE LUCKOVICH CARTOON FOR NEW ORLEANS MAGAZINE

There were three stories that dominated local news in 2010: one that was very bad and two that were very good. We can learn from all three:

First, the bad: The Oil Disaster in the Gulf

What we learned: We already knew how important the Gulf was; from the disaster we became aware of how important it really is. More than just a path for cruise ships to Cancun or a breeding ground for tropical storms, we were reminded about the depth, wealth and grandeur of sea life in the Gulf. By hearing about what we may have lost, we became more appreciative of what we had. Truth is, our region is defined by the Gulf of Mexico, and to the extent that we have any wealth it’s largely due to the bounty within its waters or drilled from its bed.

Prior to the disaster, and since Hurricane Katrina, we could’ve said that New Orleans has given the world two gifts:

jazz and a template for disaster recovery. Now, we hope the oil incident will provide a model for dealing with similar disasters in the future. If so, that will be the third gift. In return, our gift to the Gulf is that we will never again take it for granted.

Now the good: City elections

What we learned: Mitch Landrieu’s lop-side victory showed that, with the right candidate, local voters are willing to look past color lines in pursuit of meaningful change. The city stood united in electing a new mayor and city council. So far, we’re encouraged by what we see. Freed of race-baiting and incompetence at City Hall, New Orleans is now a much more attractive sell to the rest of the world. Everyone benefits from that.

And the other good: Saints win the Super Bowl.

What we learned: We still find ourselves lapsing into daily thoughts about the onside kick and the interception. If ever there was a metaphor for hope, it was the Saints and their tale of how an often-woeful team came so far in such a short time.


Amazingly the two feel-good stories – the election and the Super Bowl– both took place on the same weekend, Sat., Feb. 6, and Sun., Feb. 7, which also happened to be first weekend of Carnival parades. Since New Orleans was founded in 1718 there have been roughly 15,184 weekends in the city’s history. We don’t know of any that was more joyous that that 48-hours.

We end another cycle around the sun that gave us cause to celebrate but once again reminded us how quickly a man-made disaster can ruin our livelihood. From a news perspective, it was truly a trophy year.


 

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