Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tool of Civilization, Revolution, Resurrection

A world class city like New Orleans deserves well-kept public spaces. Unfortunately, Katrina and her manmade flood in the city have caused a neglect of some publicly maintained grassy areas. The neutral grounds (medians) in Uptown New Orleans have been cut in some areas by city crews and/or guardsmen, but some neutral grounds are not being maintained.

Citizen action corrects this easily. My property is grassless, but I miss cutting the grass. The Metairie Lowe's had a great price on a solid lawnmower, so I purchased one and have begun working with fellow blogger Dillyberto to improve Uptown public spaces.

American culture has truly triumphed by pitting the individual against an overarching economic/political structure with virtually no strong intermediary institutions. Katrina and the manmade flood in New Orleans (and ensuing chaos) have revealed that small-scale cooperation among people has withered away. Local, state, and federal governments forced us to stay away (even during the early rescue operations when able-bodied people could've helped) for weeks at a time. There are virtually no neighborhood groups functioning in any meaningful way (other than those St. Tammany "neighborhood" groups that voted to keep evacuation trailers out of their gated communities).

How to combat this? Inspire others by cutting public grass, cleaning up, moving old fridges to public spaces where they can be hauled away, etc. More soon on this vital part of how New Orleans will be a beacon to the world for New Neighborhoodism (e.g. keeping people working together in a neighborhood, instead of locking people out).

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