Hey, remember Hurricane Katrina? It was ten years ago, almost! It was devastating. The final death count was 1,836 in Louisiana and Mississippi, and over half of them were elderly. Eighty percent of the city of New Orleans was flooded, and in poorer areas, the city is STILL rebuilding, or worse, not rebuilding. Yes, it’s rebounded in many ways, and of course it’s a hipster magnet, yadda yadda, but some of the things that have sprung up in the last ten years are NOT so great, like how the public schools were already failing before Katrina, but the new holy grail charter school system isn’t really doing any better. Oh, and also, too, much of the “rebirth” that’s happened in New Orleans is super fucking GREAT if you are middle-class or above, but if you’re poor? Sucks to you be you, honestly.
But Kristen McQueary, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, sees all that and apparently thinks, MAN, wouldn’t it be, like, so badass? If a big storm like Hurricane Katrina? LEVELED CHICAGO!
Introduce yourself to Ms. McQueary, please:
McQueary penned herself a right nice column, which has now been edited heavily, about her dreams for Chicago. And she has also said “OOPS SORRY, was that column bad?” Yes, ma’am, yes it was. Let’s just look at the original, preserved by the New Orleans Times-Picayne for reasons we can only guess at, maybe they hate her:
Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
No, no it is not.
But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.
That’s what it took to hit the reset button in New Orleans. Chaos. Tragedy. Heartbreak.
Like maybe one of them whirly-gig tornaders that are so popular in the Midwest, but BIGGER.
Go on, madam:
Residents overthrew a corrupt government. A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans’ City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.
An underperforming public school system saw a complete makeover. A new schools chief, Paul Vallas, designed a school system with the flexibility of an entrepreneur. No restrictive mandates from the city or the state. No demands from teacher unions to abide. Instead, he created the nation’s first free-market education system.
Hurricane Katrina gave a great American city a rebirth.
FREE MARKET WHITE PEOPLE PARADISE!
McQueary spends the next few paragraphs talking about all the Chicago stuff she thinks could be destroyed by a good dose of Hurricane Katrina, if we could convince the old girl to awaken from her slumber and travel upriver to do some more destruction. Budget problems, bad schools, Rahm Emanuel is bad. These are her Reasons.
Not these rich people parts though, these are all good:
This weekend is the Chicago Air & Water Show. Thousands of people will stream to Chicago’s lakefront to marvel at the city and its offerings. All five senses, satiated. Visitors will clamp their palms on their ears to tame the vibration. They will gasp at the stunning skyline. They will taste the sand-swept breeze. They will feel the sun’s touch. They will smell the engine fuel.
They will delight.
Ahhhhh, the sand-swept, sense-satiating, engine fuel smell of white people success! So let’s keep that stuff safe, we guess, but for the rest, let’s LITERALLY have a giant, destructive, murderous storm come and kill it all. Wouldn’t that be great? Again, from her original column:
That’s why I find myself praying for a real storm. It’s why I can relate, metaphorically, to the residents of New Orleans climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help and waving their arms and lurching toward rescue helicopters.
A REAL STORM. Not some pussy fake “metaphorical” storm, that won’t be good enough, oh wait, here’s the updated version of that passage:
That’s why I find myself praying for a storm. OK, a figurative storm, something that will prompt a rebirth in Chicago. I can relate, metaphorically, to the residents of New Orleans climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help and waving their arms and lurching toward rescue helicopters.
OK, OK, OK, she says. She was totally having trouble telling the difference between her “literals” and her “figuratives” that day, we guess. But she RELATES to the poor, old black folks of New Orleans, many of whom died in the aftermath of Katrina, standing on their rooftops and hoping somebody, ANYBODY, would show up and save them, because that’s just like what McQueary is feeling right now, from her cushy job at the Trib.
Here she is, doing her “relating” face:
She ends her column where she began, weeping for the fact that nobody thinks her idea for a natural disaster is a good one, so guess she’ll just go sit on the roof of the high-rise she probably lives in, drink 5 or 6 bottles of rosé and think about how she’s just like those New Orleanians, because she’s on the roof, waiting for the helicopters to come and take her away. Literally. Or figuratively. WHICHEVER IT IS, God, what do you think she is, a journalist or something?