ERROL LABORDE: The need to redefine hurricane season

Hurricane season, we are being reminded ad-nauseam, begins June 1. I am no meteorologist but I will make this prediction there will be no hurricane on the first of June nor is there likely to be much tropical activity during that month.
What we collectively call the hurricane season treats all the weeks of the six-month period as equals, though they are not. My worry is that with all the renewed attention given to the season we are scaring people from visiting, investing or living in our area for six months out of every year. If we send the message to the world that New Orleans is a dangerous place to be from every June through November we will never be able to grow. Thank God the early settlers knew about summer hurricanes but not about prolonged seasons. They might have been discouraged from building a city.
We need to make people aware of potentially dangerous seasonal weather conditions but there must be a more precise picture. Why not divide the time frame into sub-seasons? June though July, for example could be “The Low Level Tropical Season” subject to tropical depressions, tropical storms and an occasional hurricane; August through September would be High Level; October- Moderate Level; November- Moderate to Low. The distinctions could even vary geographically- going up or down in certain months for Florida or the Caribbean.
Doing it that way, people will know to be cautious but also have a better sense of the potential. We need to do something: If we become so paralyzed as a community that we can barely function for half of every year, than Katrina will have done even more damage than we thought.
On the day after his reelection Mayor Ray Nagin spoke to a group at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in the Treme neighborhood. According to a report in The Times-Picayune Nagin, said “he hoped businesses would join him in creating a “new paradigm” and would stay, but if they don’t, I’ll send them a postcard.”
Some business leaders were reportedly offended by the comments though Nagin should at least be complimented for taking the time to write– usually it is those who leave town that send postcards, not the ones who stay.
To date, there is no news of the mayor having actually sent a card to a departed business owner, but when he does, I think it might go something like this:
Dear Former New Orleans Business Owner.
I wish you well in your new location. I hear there are many cities actually looking for new businesses, so you might want to check those suckers out. As for New Orleans, just because your business paid property tax, generated sales revenue and provided jobs, don’t think that we needed you- especially if you’re not going to go along with the paradigm. And Dude, if you were one of those so-called white conservative businessmen who voted for me, you should feel good- remember it was my opponent who was supposed to be unfriendly to business.
Good luck, and, oh, if you’re moving to Dallas, I might see you there in August.

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