The devastation of the federal flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina set the stage for the rehabilitation and resurgence of the great city of New Orleans. Over the ten years since the catastrophic event New Orleans has managed to climb out of its heap of broken homes, broken lives and a broken system of government.
The Boom of New New Orleans and the Superbowl Blackout – Book Review
Yes, we live in one of the world’s ten greatest cities. I’m not just saying that as travel and business magazine have all said it. We’ve managed to not only rebuild the city after the disaster but have somehow with a lot of love, backbone and luck managed to make it better.
With the coming of the 2013 Superbowl the city fathers and their ilk worked tirelessly to do its best to show our best face to the world. Thankfully we have our mayor Mitch Landrieu who’s love for the city is obvious.
And he is also someone who can be trusted and will work for the town’s and its citizen’s best interests rather than his own. It was unfortunate that during the disaster of such a devastation storm in 2005 Ray Nagin was mayor, someone who not only could not be trusted but was completely out of his element. During that time incompetence and corruption reigned supreme.
One hundred days leading up to the Superbowl were critical to making sure that all the important elements of a successful marketing campaign for the city would all be in place. Brian W. Boyles, director of public programming at the Louisiana Humanities Center, recounts his experiences deep within the bowels of City Hall and the movers and shakers in the New Orleans community that are basically in charge of making big things happen in the city.
His new book New Orleans Boom and Blackout: One Hundred Days in America’s Coolest Hot Spot is a must read for anyone who wants to get a glimpse at how things get done here. And being a transplant from Pittsburgh he can count himself amongst the “foreigners” who have moved to the city and are able to put into words that strange otherness that makes New Orleans unique from any other place in the world.
He points up the intricacies, the controversies, the weird idiosyncrasies of our culture, some of them good, some of them at odds with “progress.” Everyone who knows about the Superbowl of 2013 knows that the lights went out during the game plunging the Superdome into near darkness for a time. Of course no one wanted to take responsibility for what happened.
The last paragraph of his books pretty much sums up all that went before and gives a good example of his engaging and sparse writing style:
The one hundred days before Super Bowl XLVII included equal measures of goodness and light but also hostility and shadow. Three centuries from now, future generations may remember a people who lived at the crossroads of hard choices and extravagant celebrations. When they ask, “How was New Orleans doing?” historians will have better answers. The lights of the Superdome and the lights of police cruisers will illuminate their search. The Super Bowl and the rhetoric of the new New Orleans may come to represent this time, either as indicators of coming progress or as unfortunate overstatements.
Through this book I learned a lot about New Orleans that I did not know. The author managed to be at the right places at the right times to be like a fly on the wall, as it were, able to recount in great detail the three months that lead up the Super Bowl and its behind the scenes finagling.
You can get the book on Amazon here.