All The News
A note to say how much I’m enjoying the smart new slogan which accompanies the Weekly Beat email newsletter: “All the entertainment that’s fit to click.”
Naturally, readers of the New York Times will recognize it as a savvy spin on “All the news that’s fit to print.” And of course devotees of Mad magazine would put it this way: “All the news that fits.”
Either way, as we like to say in the trade: “Talent borrows. Genius steals.”
—Leo Sacks, Beacon, New York
United States Postal Service finally got around to delivering the February issue. All of the magazines I subscribe to (New Yorker, Opera News, Living Blues, etc.) have the same problem now. The magazines arrive halfway through the time period their events calendars cover, even though they are mailed out far in advance. The mailman blames it on sorting, they blame it on someone else, etc. We used to have a reliable postal system. Remember those days?
—Jay Drury, Sacramento, California
Bring Back Storyville
The following letters are in response to Jan Ramsey’s blog post, “Bring Back Storyville,” suggesting we’d have more money to repair our infrastructure, educate our kids, decrease violence and squelch the drug trade.
Living in Amsterdam and visiting New Orleans twice a year, of course I was interested in your story. Funny thing is you compare New Orleans to Amsterdam. Well I can tell you that our famous Red Light District has had its best time too. A lot of “windows” were closed the last couple of years. We also have to deal with human trafficking. People wonder if this thing still is something to be proud of in the twenty-first century. Our Red Light District is the most beautiful part of the city and more and more Amsterdamers think it’s a pity that only drunk people coming from abroad have their parties there. Believe me, very few Amsterdamers or even Dutch people go there. The same goes for Bourbon Street. My guess: In ten years there is no more Red Light District as we now have it in Amsterdam. Of course, Storyville was something magical, but to bring it back? Times have changed.
—Marc Stakenburg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The [“Bring Back Storyville” blog] post states: “Not too long after Hurricane Katrina almost destroyed this city, and we were wondering what the hell we were going to do to get back on our feet…” While this article presents many intelligent angles, the fact of the matter, according to the experts, is that the flooding of New Orleans was overwhelmingly the fault of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was responsible for designing and building the levee system—not the hurricane itself.
An irregular, flawed federal funding process led to a piecemeal levee system that included some low-cost solutions that compromised the quality, safety and reliability of the designs, according to a 2007 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers Hurricane Katrina External Review Panel, as well as a 2015 study by the International Water Association.
Had there been no design defects present in the levees in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina would have made much less news and would not now suffer the fate of being referenced only as a terrible “natural” disaster. Rather, it would be labeled a terrible “engineering” disaster. It is my hope, as a former resident of New Orleans, that with wider dissemination of correct information, blame for the city’s flooding will eventually shift from nature to the failed infrastructure.
—Dr. William Ferguson, Staunton, Virginia
Where I Got My Shoes
I’ve been to New Orleans 15, 20 times [and] eventually got one of my nephews hooked on New Orleans. Prior to his first visit, he asked me for one important piece of advice not in the travel guides. Without hesitation, I told him: go to Goodwill and get a cheap pair of shoes, and when you leave your hotel, leave the shoes. He told me that’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given him about anything.
—Stan Beyerman, Tampa, Florida
OffBeat welcomes letters from its readers—both comments and criticisms. To be considered for publication, all letters must be signed and contain the current address and phone number of the writer. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for length or content deemed objectionable to OffBeat readers. Please send letters to Editor, OffBeat Publications, 421 Frenchmen St., Suite 200, New Orleans, LA 70116.