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The Joys of Art

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Orleans needs competent leadership

I wish Mayor Nagin would postphone his "grandstanding" until after the hurricane season....We could sure use more people praying.....It's amazing how it ALL comes back to you in a FLOOD of memories....

"Nagin's re-election was "the final straw" for me and dictated my decision not to return to New Orleans. " -canwegonow » Crime & Safety

"New Orleans will never return if there's not a dollar to be made. If you look at all the growth areas in this country they grew because of decent wages, excellent housing, and low taxes. So the city needs to create itself as a boom town..." -GeoHou » Orleans

New Orleans Wins the War--Randy Newman

Local inertia dooming recovery, report says

N.O. 'has no plan at the moment'

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From staff reports

The lack of a comprehensive rebuilding plan and shortages of housing and labor are crippling New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina, while other communities in the Gulf Coast region are coping with a windfall of economic growth, according to a storm-impact study released today by independent researchers.

The first in a series of reports by the Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York and the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana is critical of leadership in New Orleans for failing to articulate a plan for the future.
"New Orleans has no plan at the moment, and the excruciatingly slow pace of the recovery bears witness to that," PAR President Jim Brandt said. "What seems to make the difference is the ability of local officials to take clear, decisive steps to get the
planning process under way as well as provide an opportunity for as many members of the public to participate as possible."

Communities out of range of the storm, including Baton Rouge and Jackson, Miss., have seen their economies grow sharply as a result of increased population and revenue, according to the study, "GulfGov Reports: One Year Later." Although eastern St. Tammany Parish was hit hard by Katrina, it too is among the communities that have experienced an economic surge since the storm.

The "hurricane economies" were created in different manners across the Gulf Coast.
"Some communities are experiencing an economic boom, while others are fighting to recover economically," Brandt said.
"The recovery of the most damaged communities has been slowed by the uncertainties surrounding federal plans to revise flood-elevation levels (for rebuilding), continuing disputes with insurance companies over damage coverage and the fact that the federal housing aid program is just now getting under way in Louisiana and Mississippi," Brandt said.
Housing and labor shortages cut across the region from Cameron Parish to Gulf Shores, Ala.

"There are not enough workers to fill available jobs, nor is there adequate affordable housing to accommodate them," the report says.
Suggestions for future
The report is part of a three-year project just begun by the Rockefeller Institute and PAR with the help of a $900,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. The John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University and Jackson State University are partnering with the project, which includes a team of researchers focusing on 22 jurisdictions in the Gulf Coast region. Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter is the advisory committee chairman.

The goal of the reports is to provide a baseline analysis of how the storms changed these communities and to make recommendations for future action.
"The importance of a timely planning process cannot be overstated," said Dr. Richard Nathan, co-director of the Rockefeller Institute and the co-principal investigator on the project. "Without clear guidelines from community leaders about what areas will be rebuilt and when, many residents put off making a decision about whether to return, and the longer the delay, the more likely they are to stay where they are. That, in turn, has consequences for any community's long-term survival."

While a few communities have rebuilding plans in place, New Orleans "most notably, does not," the report says. Unless residents have specific information about how and where a community plans to rebuild, they will find it hard to make decisions about rebuilding, the report says.
'Two disasters'
"In the end, Katrina and Rita produced two disasters. The first was the immediate crisis created when the hurricanes made landfall," the report says. "The second was the difficulty various levels of government had in working together to respond to the crisis. This was -- and remains -- the more dangerous of the two because the inability to work well together has spilled over into the recovery efforts, with ordinary citizens caught in the middle.

"The long-term impact could be the haphazard rebuilding of the devastated communities, meaning mistakes will be repeated, segments of the population will be left out, and a rare opportunity to reshape a region for the better will be lost," the report says.
To see the report, visit www.rockinst.org/gulfgov.


  • Food for thought....

    August 23, 2006
    Encouragement for Today
    Principle 4

    “A House Blessing”

    Micca Monda Campbell, Director of Outreach, Speaker Team Member

    Key Verse:
    Psalms 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.” (NIV)


    Several years ago, my husband and I purchased a piece of land, and with God’s blessing, began to build our home. To us, it was very important to invite the Lord into this process. Not only would we raise our children there, but we wanted God to use our home to further His kingdom. It was our desire, for all who entered in, to experience the love of God.

    Isn’t that what you want as well? Of course it is, but unless the Lord builds the house the work of the builder is useless.

    As Christians, we are taught to regard God’s divine providence in all areas of our lives, so why not in our home, too? In all affairs - whether family, business or church - we must depend on God’s blessings instead of our means in order to obtain success. A house may be considered just a structure to some, but God says, “Unless I build it, your efforts are in vain.”

    Seeking to please God, my husband and I carefully picked out scripture verses, wrote them on strips of paper and placed them inside the foundation as it was being laid. We chose a special scripture that became our family’s life verse.

    “Blessed is the [family] who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But [their] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law [they] meditate day and night. [Each] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever [they] do prospers.” (Psalm 1:1:3)

    After placing each verse into the blocks, we prayed that God’s Word would be our foundation in all we do, so that in every season of our lives we would bear fruit and prosper.

    Just after we moved in, we invited family and friends over for a House Blessing. My husband and I asked a treasured friend, who had been a part of many house blessings, to lead our ceremony. After presenting us with a plate to mark this memorable occasion, she asked several guest to choose a room to pray over.

    One by one they lifted prayers to heaven asking for God’s blessings on our kitchen, living room, family room, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room, and even the garage. Requests were made for our children to come to know the Lord as well as others. They prayed for our marriage. They prayed for protection, provision and God’s favor to fill every room. I know God was there. He always shows up where He’s invited. God’s presence was overwhelming that night and has been to this day.

    Allowing God to be the master builder of our home has provided many opportunities to be a blessing and receive some too. We have welcomed many guests into our home. We’ve been protected from the storms and provided with trusted neighbors. Our home has been a safe haven to the homeless, addicted, and the abandoned. We’ve seen friends and family come to know the Lord. Throughout the years, precious memories have been created through these events and more.

    Mostly, we’ve seen God’s faithfulness expressed in ways we never dreamed possible. I’ve come to realize, all of these things have been for our benefit and His glory. God was right, we couldn’t have done it better ourselves. Who’s the master builder of your home?

    My Prayer for Today:

    Dear Lord, be our master builder and create a home full of love, security, and openness to others. May all who enter our home experience your welcoming presence, In Jesus’ Name Amen.

    Application Steps:

    You may not be able to place scripture in the foundation of your home, but you can have a house blessing. Invite family and friends; enjoy some food and fellowship and then pray over each room of your house. You can also stencil verses on your walls or bring in framed passages to hang about your home.

    Reflection Points:

    Who is the builder of your home?

    In what ways can you invite God to be your master builder?

    How do you use your home for the good of others and to glorify God?

    How can you begin sharing the love of Christ through your home?

    Power Verses: Here are a few we used in our House Blessing.

    3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (NIV)

    Joshua 24:15, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (NKJ)

    John 15:16, You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (NLJ)

    Psalm 65:4, “Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.” (NKJ)

    Deuteronomy 31:8, “And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." (NKJ)

    Psalms 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (NKJ)

    By Blogger Sharon, at Wednesday, August 23, 2006 10:40:00 AM  

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