I propose that we count the first of September in the Year of the Lord 2005 as the beginning of the Long Emergency.
Things to watch for in the “saving of New Orleans”, in no particular order.
1) The bulldozing of poor neighborhoods to “fill in” low-lying areas.
2) The reconstruction of some, but not all, levees.
3) American citizens being shot in the streets.
4) The abnegation of property rights for poor landowners, especially poor black landowners.
5) Shoddy construction, shoddy accounting, shoddy workmanship, shoddy politicking.
6) Congressional reluctance to provide more money.
7) Demands for reimbursement by major corporations for things appropriated during the emergency.
8) Large payouts to oil companies to reconstruct rigs, platforms, drilling platforms and repair facilities.
9) Bands of refugees across the South, looking for places to live.
10) Hotels and golf courses — or toxic Superfund wetlands — where poor neighborhoods used to be.
11) Higher prices at gas stations.
12) The collapse or bankruptcy of an airline because it cannot meet new fuel prices.
13) Insurance companies bailing out some, but not all, of their clients.
14) Gas shortages all across the country.
15) Higher prices in supermarkets and other shops.
16) Higher heating oil prices in the Northeast for the winter season.
17) No one ever asking if New Orleans can or should be saved.
18) Limits on long-distance travel by air or ground transport.
19) Cholera, typhus and malaria outbreaks. Toxics reactions. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders.
20) Sky-high natural gas prices (massive damage to the capacity and distribution systems, and no way to import more).
21) Really toxic blame games in affected Gulf states, Congress, Washington, newspapers and TV.
22) Large numbers of people without ID cards, papers, passports or other forms of identification.
23) Terrorists in 20+ years whose papers show them born in hospitals in and around New Orleans prior to the disaster.
24) Insurance companies refusing to sell hurricane insurance in affected areas.
25) Supply chain chaos for months or years.
26) One-of-a-kind items no longer available.
27) The beginnings of the death of Mississippi jazz
28) Huge debt-lease and derivatives problems for banks holding New Orleans mortgages.
29) Explosion of the credit-card bubble
30) Illegal immigration by boat into Louisiana.
31) Long-term difficulties with reconstruction of water purification, sewage treatment, water distribution, and electrical systems.
32) Suspension of Post Office service to affected communities (Happened as of yesterday, “for the duration” according to my local postmaster).
33) Collapse of Louisiana’s budget under the strain of fixing New Orleans.
34) Permanent disruption of schools and religious institutions.
35) The poor getting screwed.