4 PLACES TO LOOK
If there is anything good to say about Mayor Nagin and his blundering “Recovery Czar”, Ed Blakely, it is that when the histories of the Recovery are written, the tenacity of the people of New Orleans will look even better because they had to rebuild the city despite those two.
With the absence of leadership, or even inspiration, from City Hall’s executive office here are four sources for leadership in the Recovery:
*Entrepreneurs. This is where there is real energy coming from people with a vision and who have to put up money to prove it. Already we are seeing new businesses and developments emerging. If you want to measure the true commitment to recovery, don’t listen to speeches from City Hall, follow the marketplace. New Orleans was founded as an entrepreneurial venture; entrepreneurship will save it.
*Neighborhood groups. Some of the brightest minds in the city are working hard, for no pay, at the neighborhood organization level. They are empowered by their Web sites, which are the new community forums. They understand planning, they understand the law and they understand that the city is leaderless. There are differences of opinions within these groups but the differences are among people who share passion for their neighborhoods. One day when they build statues to honor the recovery, they should include the neighborhood organizers.
*The City Council. Not everything at City Hall is bad. Someone has to make things official. There are encouraging signs from the council, especially among the newer ones elected last year and a couple of veterans who have a better understanding of government than the executive office. We’ve been told we can’t fight City Hall. In some cases we would be content with it just not getting in our way.
*The Next Governor (Maybe). Whoever is elected, he needs to be someone who can command the national stage and convince the nation that Louisiana is a great place to visit, live in and invest in. Where local political leadership has failed, the new governor needs to fill the vacuum. More so he needs to do so without embarrassing us. That alone would be a big improvement.
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