Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hope amid New Orleans’ slower-than-slow recovery

Another glimmer of hope and positivity among turtle-slow efforts to bring New Orleans back from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina occurred in grand style on Thursday night, January 8.

It was the reopening of the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts in Armstrong Park. A $22 million renovation brought the theater back from the brink of ruin three years ago. The opening concert featured local musical fixtures (would anything else be appropriate?) including the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Freddy Omar, Marva Wright, Philip Manuel, Michael Ward and Ingrid Lucia.

One other appropriate touch… tickets were free but were required since seating was limited.

For reopening details, check out Michelle Krupa’s reporting in The Times-Picayune, The curtain rises at Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Since President-elect Barack Obama has made it clear that an essential ingredient in America’s recovery from the current economic travail is rebuilding the country’s infrastructure as a way to put people back to work, he ought to make sure a lot of that effort is committed to rebuilding New Orleans. In that way, Obama can fulfill the promise that W. made but soon forgot as his presidency spiraled and sputtered out of control in so many ways.

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