Mitch Landrieu’s time as mayor of New Orleans has been a lot of things, with much of his bragging points being smoke and mirrors, updates long past due for any city in the late 20th century and certainly the 21st century, and when it comes to city basics, Mitch Landrieu’s New Orleans remains Third World.
“Third World” is a cliche, so it may be best to repeat the definition as per Dictionary.com: “the underdeveloped nations of the world, especially those with widespread poverty.”
The highly-anticipated sub-freezing temperatures this week were widely discussed in advance. The city had to effectively shut down due to the incompetence of the Sewerage & Water Board. Twice in the summer of 2017 New Orleans flooded due to a mismanaged and decrepit drainage system. Neglected for decades, S&WB infrastructure saw no improvements during Landrieu’s eight years.
Come on, Batiste, that sounds like a stretch, no? 15,000 acknowledged clogged drainage basins. And at the time the $3 million allocated for cleaning them was never used.
The 2017 floods exposed the neglect and arrogance of the Landrieu administration. Absentee Mayor Mitch was in Aspen giving a speech and refusing to return to New Orleans for several days. The Landrieu administration claimed all pump stations were working at capacity–they were not.
Then, when Mitch returned home and graced us with his presence he imparted his know-it-all wisdom that everyone else isn’t smart enough to know. “The city was going to flood anyway from this particular event,” Landrieu told reporters the Monday after the Saturday, August 5th flood. Then-Deputy Mayor and Landrieu’s spokesman Ryan Berni re-Tweeted “live in #nola, you’re gonna get wet. Don’t go act a fool. It flooded before twitter.” Arrogance.
WWL TV has run a series called “Down The Drain” which features the disaster that is New Orleans’ drainage system.
When Tropical System Nate threatened in 2017, Mitch overreacted so strongly it was laughable. The good news, everyone can use the water they stocked for Nate now that they can’t drink tap water.
The boil-water advisories are nothing new to the Mitch Era. Half a dozen “precautionary boil water advisory” notices get issued each year going back to at least 2012. Meanwhile as noted by Mike Yenni, Parish President of Jefferson, the neighboring Parish issued a boil-water advisory this week, the first one since after Katrina. Asked if New Orleanians are “starting” to lose faith in the S&WB due to all the advisories, Mitch said, “We have an old, tired system that hasn’t had the kind of deferred maintenance that a system requires.” The magnitude of Mitch Landrieu’s failure as President of S&WB can be demonstrated by that comment and in this 2015 piece in which S&WB was “currently implementing” a capital improvement project to prevent the need for boil-water advisories.
During a joint press conference with Yenni, Mitch Landrieu, with his coat collar flipped up as if he is a movie star, turned rude when a reporter asked about the status of a pump station in New Orleans East that was mentioned in the boil-water press release. After an official responded the station was the location of the gauge, Mitch smugly said “Did you understand the answer to that question?” “I did.” “So there’s nothing wrong with the drainage pump.” Mitch then rambled about “Sometimes things that are said or not said so I wanted to intimate clarity.”
While Mitch’s insecurity gets broadcast to reporters, his city limps along. One tourist told WVUE how the water issues negatively impacted her visit: “You can’t go without water and you can’t use the toilets and you can’t stay here. What do you do? How are they washing the utensils?”
Louis Armstrong International Airport had to bring portable bathrooms for travelers to use and it did not go over well. “There’s nothing downtown, that’s where we came from. The hotel was out, everything and the whole area of the city of New Orleans was out… I know I don’t have to go to the restroom that badly that I’m going to use the port-a-potty outside,” a tourist from New Hampshire said at the airport.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser called it embarrassing, saying, “It’s something that shouldn’t happen in New Orleans.”
The hundreds if not thousands of infrastructure leaks around the city of New Orleans turned into ice patches on Wednesday. Meaning the city’s incompetence contributed to the dangers of the hard freeze. Yet Mitch told reporters during a press conference, “Just a guess, but most of this (leakage) is probably on the private side, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some on the public side too.” Some.
In Mitch’s New Orleans, you have to boil your water like a refugee in, say, a country like Haiti. (And the disaster we endured was five years before Mitch took office, and was 12.5 years in the past.) The bumper stickers and shirts that read “New Orleans – Third World and Proud of It” are good for a laugh, but they’ve been around since the 90’s.
What would be a word to describe a city with flooding issues, drinking water issues, regular power outages, horrific crime, decaying streets, under-staffed police, and a local government who conducts non bid work with oppressive police forces in the middle of the night using masked city employees?
Third World shithole.
Mitch Landrieu’s New Orleans is a shithole. The shithole of a Mitch-hole.