New Orleans roads symbolize crumbling city government

Shea Dobson, Views Editor

It is no secret to any New Orleanian that the roads in the city leave something to be desired. The view, however, differs from neighborhood to neighborhood. Yes, Tulane drivers may get frustrated when they end up stuck in the Willow pothole yet again. But if one’s daily routine keeps them near campus, they may not see the full extent of the structural damage that plagues the city’s roads, the massive cracks and potholes which put on display the equally massive failures of our city’s government.

To be fair, part of the issue lies out of our government’s control. New Orleans, due to its low elevation, was not a terrain designed to hold the roads which have been built on it. With poor quality of soil and high levels of groundwater, the margin of error to begin with was paper-thin. The level of actual error, however, is staggering. Due to a poorly-designed sewage system and constant damage caused by broken utility lines, the roads have fallen into complete disrepair.

Ashley Chen | Views Layout Editor

The problem with road quality was only worsened by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The total costs of the disaster, aside from the thousands of lives lost, weighed in at $125 billion, only $80 billion of which was covered by insurance. These damages include both private property — homes and businesses alike — as well as damages to public property, including the many roads which were almost completely destroyed.

With many roads being left in a state of waste, it must be questioned just how much effort the city has been putting into its infrastructure. Critics of Katrina relief efforts feel that the funds were grossly misused, which curtailed some of the original attempts to fix the damages. These crimes, however, occurred over a decade ago and do not excuse the current city government’s failure to find a solution.

From Ray Nagin to Mitch Landrieu to LaToya Cantrell, each mayor of our city has continually kicked the can down to the next. The city budget for this year is just over $700 million. With so many issues plaguing the streets citizens drive on, perhaps our mayor should make cuts to less necessary expenses and prioritize a problem that affects everyone in this city.

Leave a Comment