On the seventh anniversary of
Hurricane Katrina, the people of Louisiana
were struck again by Hurricane Isaac. This storm was not as powerful or deadly
as Katrina, but it was a monster nonetheless. It might have been the strongest
Category 1 hurricane in history. Initial estimates of property damage exceed $2
billion and that amount will surely rise. Over one million people lost power
throughout the region. While New Orleans was
mostly spared, homes were destroyed in nearby Plaquemines Parish, as well as parts
of LaPlace and Slidell.
Unfortunately, the threat is not over as rising waters continue to endanger vast
regions of the north shore
of Lake Pontchartrain.
Sadly, there were several reported
fatalities, but courageous volunteers and first responders worked tirelessly to
rescue scores of stranded homeowners fleeing floodwaters. Isaac is the latest
in a string of powerful storms to devastate the region. In the past seven
years, Louisiana and our neighbors along the Gulf Coast have been ravaged by a series of fierce tropical
systems: Cindy, Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, Claudette, Ida, Bonnie, Lee, and of
In our colorful history, we have
faced hurricane threats almost yearly, but the people of Louisiana refuse to surrender to Mother Nature. The aftermath of
Hurricane Isaac will be no different. This spirit of resiliency has been a
hallmark of our region since Bienville founded New Orleans almost 300 years ago.
Along with frequent hurricanes, the
area has faced yellow fever epidemics, carpetbaggers, Reconstruction, crime
waves, political corruption, massive floods and coastal erosion among a host of
other disasters. We are clearly
survivors in a beautiful, but very tough environment.
After each challenge, the vast
majority of residents return to reclaim their property and rebuild their homes,
vowing not to abandon their beloved state. The rest of the nation could learn a
great deal from studying the incredible resiliency of the people of Louisiana.
The American people need to have
the same fighting spirit as the people of Louisiana who keep coming back from one
disaster after another. As Louisiana
residents refuse to surrender in the face of hurricane damage, this nation
needs to refuse to surrender to the economic woes we now face.
At the present time, an economic
hurricane has devastated the country. The news keeps getting worse as Americans
are facing a high unemployment rate, anemic economic growth, rising food and
gasoline prices and a housing industry that is in a depression. Food stamp
recipients are at an all time high and more Americans than ever are classified
To recover, America must
once again start to believe in itself. A
change in attitude is more important than any program or policy introduced by
the government. In fact, some good old fashioned optimism is required once
needs the type of confidence boost that was offered by President Ronald Reagan
in the 1980’s. It was a key factor in his successful economic program.
Clearly, this message was not
lost on the Republicans gathering in Tampa
this week. In his acceptance speech, VP candidate Paul Ryan addressed these
issues. As he said to the country, “we can do this,” and overcome these immense
economic challenges, but we desperately need a change of direction. In his
address, Mitt Romney vowed to “restore the promise of America” after
four years of disappointment.
Sadly, the Obama administration offers
no solutions and continued misery. It basically accepts the poor economy and advocates
only more government spending and more dependency. The President presents to
the nation despair and dejection, that the government is the only answer.
In contrast, the Republican Party
needs to heartily embrace an alternative plan, namely free enterprise, the
resurgence of the private sector and the re-creation of a country that is not
dependent on the government for survival. In essence, the GOP needs to stress
good old fashioned Louisiana
In Louisiana, this personal resiliency, not
government assistance, is the reason so many people continue to live in a state
that is prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters. While the government
may help, it will not restore Louisiana
in the aftermath of Isaac. Instead, it will require the hard work of storm
victims, along with their friends and family, toiling night and day to
rebuild. This familiar story has been
replayed countless times in the 300 year history of this region. This attitude
will allow this state to continue to prosper, despite tragedies, whether the
government helps or not.
Here in Louisiana, we love our families and friends,
our cherished traditions and history, the beautiful architecture and unique
culture, our wonderful food and festivals, the scenic beauty and sporting
paradise, and the incomparable musical and political heritage of our state. Our
roots run deep in Louisiana,
it defines who we are, so we stay and live to fight another day.
This country needs that same
spirit to continue to fight this economic downturn. Hopefully, after hard work,
resilience and a change in direction our nation will be able to rejoice in that
expression, “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”
Our nation is a long way from good
times today, but if the Obama administration is replaced, we will be one
huge step closer.