Highballs, herring and fewer poor people

The Wall Street Journal checks in on how the rich are weathering the storm -- and planning for the future of New Orleans.

By T.g.

Published September 8, 2005 4:29PM (EDT)

When the Wall Street Journal engages in class warfare, you can usually be pretty sure which side it's on. Not so today. In a front-page headline, the Journal comes pretty close to sneering at some of the swells who have survived Katrina quite nicely, thank you. "Old-Line Families Escape Worst of Flood and Plot the Future," the headline says. "Mr. O'Dwyer, at His Mansion, Enjoys Highball With Ice; Meeting With the Mayor."

Now, maybe you're thinking that Mr. O'Dwyer, whoever he is, doesn't deserve that kind of singling out. And maybe you're right. The Journal doesn't tell us much about Ashton O'Dwyer's worldview -- just that he's hanging out in his palatial home on New Orleans' "grandest street," surrounded by a cache of weapons, the herring with mustard sauce that was delivered yesterday and all those icy cold cocktails.

But the Journal does provide a glimpse into the thinking of some of the other rich white folks who have survived Katrina relatively unscathed. The Journal introduces us to one James Reiss, a man who "helicoptered in" an Israeli security company to protect his New Orleans home from looters. When the city is rebuilt, Reiss says, it should be a very different place than it was before. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," Reiss tells the Journal. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

We'll let the Journal handle the translation. What Reiss means, the paper says, is that "the new city must be very different ... with better services and fewer poor people."

By T.g.


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