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There is only us January 30, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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“There is only us.”

I read that line on Facebook, from prominent local activist and blogger Karen Gadbois, in reaction to the news that Inspector General Robert Cerasoli will step down for health reasons.

There is only us. We all remember, those of us on the ground, what Ashley said a long time ago: Sinn Fein. Ourselves alone.

That is all we ever had, and that is in the end how it must be. If we can’t do it, then what hope is there for us?

Since 8-29 we have looked for heroes, thinking ourselves incapable of doing it alone. First came Lt. Gen. Honore’ Russel Honore’, the “John Wayne dude”. If he had not come and ordered the Guardsmen to stop pointing their rifles at the people of the Convention Center and the Superdome and start handing out water, how many more would have died?

He was a hero, our hero, for his short time in the limelight. But he is long gone, rejected as Gulf Coast Hurricane Czar when names were first floated.

Cerasoli was a hero, our hero, for his short time as well. And now he is leaving.

There is only us, but that is all we ever really had.

Between Honore’ and Cerasoli we made our own heroes, and a few of the bloggers were among them. Ashley Morris was our special hero among the bloggers, the spirit of an indomitable love for New Orleans that could not be extinguished. Karen Gadbois is another, one of our own and a leader of the movement against the entrenched inertia of what passes for government in New Orleans. Brian Denzer’s tireless work on crime and other data modeling, Eli Ackerman’s investigations into NORA and Matt McBride’s tireless dogging of the Corps of Engineeers just scratch the surface.

We are a rabble, all of us: the bloggers, the housing activists, the anti-crime activists, the guerrilla artists, all of us in New Orleans. We need more heroes to step up from our own ranks because there is only us, and we have to keep all these ground swells against the old and broken ways going.

Go re-read Ashley’s Sinn Fein pieces. He took the phrase from Ronnie Virgets, who said in a chapter titled “Sinn Fein: Ourselves Alone” that “New Orleans and New Orleanians were the only people that cared about New Orleans”. Yeah, you right.

There is only us. Sinn Fein, baby.

If we cannot save ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us. Cerasoli and Honore’ were the exceptions to the carpetbaggers and scaliwags who, like Ray Nagin, are reading Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctine like a business plan.

I keep getting drawn back to these words from a Wet Bank Guide piece from December 2006 titled “How Long, Lord?”, which I last quoted only a few weeks ago:

If we want a city that resembles the one of memory and desire, perhaps it is best if we are left to ourselves to build it. Give me enough people like Shearer, like the New Orleans bloggers listed at right and I believe we can do it: ourselves alone; Sinn Fein, as Ashley says. Going it alone…will be painful. Some will try and not make it, risk everything to return and rebuild or reopen, only to loose everything. If we must go it alone, this will certainly be a smaller city, and some will leave ruined and broken by the effort. Whether we are recalled as heroes or fools only history will tell, but I think know the measure of those who have chosen to come home and try. There is no finer place to be an American today than in their company

There is only us. We had best get busy.


1. mominem - January 30, 2009

I nominate Lt. Gen. Honore’ Russel Honore’ for IG


2. Wet Bank Guy - January 30, 2009

He’s not a certified IG. I think the current interim guy’s resume looks very good. The fact that he’s African-American might help silence the Nagin and Cynthia defenders who suggest this is all just a plot for The Man to get them.

Look for Nagin and the Cyntyhia’s to suggest that the certified IG requirement will be unfair to local and Black candidates, and move to change that.


3. mominem - January 30, 2009

I think that the fact that he’s run organization several times larger than the City of New Orleans and has a lifetime of organization experience, should probably outweigh the formal qualification.

He’s also a no bullshit kind og guy.

BTW the course to become a Certified Inspector General is only 5 days.

Here are the qualifications;

1. Currently hold an appointed position as an inspector general auditor in a public jurisdiction.
2. Have earned a bachelors or graduate degree from an accredited college or university or have equivalent experience.
3. Have four years of public sector experience performing or managing audits, or directly
related functions.


4. LIsaPal - February 1, 2009

Great post, Mark. Sorry I couldn’t make the book signing today. However, I fully intend to get my copy signed, hopefully before *too* long.


5. Wet Bank Guy - February 1, 2009

The book signing is not until Saturday, Feb. 14 at Maple Street Book Shop, 12-2 pm.


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