More Blues in New Orleans
Congress is about to swamp plans for new hospitals downtown.
Poor New Orleans, poor Iraq vets. Trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina, the city is trying to build a medical complex downtown that includes the fabled Charity Hospital and a VA hospital, but Congress took a step backwards yesterday on the plan.
And wouldn't you know — the only House member standing up for the city during a hearing yesterday in D.C. was a guy with no cred, William Jefferson, the Louisiana Democrat indicted on corruption charges.
The city wants a rebuilt hospital complex to help revitalize its downtown. Care of New Orleans' people is also a consideration. But others want the hospital complex, which would include a VA hospital that was destroyed during Katrina, moved to the suburbs.
This is more than the continuous whitening strikes raining down on New Orleans. Some in Congress want the VA hospital put in Pensacola, Florida. Congressman Bill Miller from that area argues that New Orleans is too prone to flooding. He doesn't mention that Pensacola was ravaged by two hurricanes in 2004.
Some representatives of veterans have mixed feelings about putting a new VA hospital in downtown New Orleans. But one is desperately needed somewhere. As Kate Moran reports this morning on the excellent Times-Picayune site, nola.com:
We can't afford much else than the war in Iraq, thanks to our unjustified invasion four long years ago.
A far more serious case of corruption than the William Jefferson case is that the U.S. Corps of Engineers was busy building dams, levees, hospitals, and health clinics in Iraq when Katrina ravaged New Orleans in the summer of 2005.
The city became a charity case, and its Charity Hospital, founded 250 years ago, was the exemplar, a huge hospital already crumbling when Katrina hit. Read Clayton James Cubitt's elegy from October 2005:
And a horror house during Katrina: Hundreds of patients, along with doctors and staff, were trapped by Katrina's floodwaters for nearly a week with no food, power, or water. Patients who died were moved into stairwells. Other hospitals were evacuated before rescuers focused on Charity.
Bush Beat reader Jeffrey Schwartz up at MIT, who tipped me off to this latest indignity to New Orleans, neatly sums up the political realities of the current situation:
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