So when I first proposed that the only way New Orleans was going to rebuild properly was by New Orleanians doing it in my Sinn Fein post, I credited Ronnie Virgets from his first book, Say Cap' (out of print at Amazon, available from the publisher...the local publisher). One of the chapters in that book, which was in storage but I remembered from several readings, was entitled Sinn Fein: Ourselves Alone.
In this chapter, Virgets outlined that New Orleans and New Orleanians were the only people that cared about New Orleans...and all that needed to, really.
He's right, and any credit for the phrase goes to Ronnie.
The economic rule is this: the more local, the better. Let's use home repair as an example, something that all New Orleanians can relate to now. My resolutions:
Don't buy it at Home Depot out in the suburbs if you can buy it in New Orleans at Harry's Ace, a couple of miles away. Don't buy it at Harry's Ace, two miles away, if you can buy it at Clement Hardware, two blocks away.
When you go to the grocery store, go to a local non-chain one if you can. If you can't, look at the things you're buying. Buy New Orleans if you can. If you can't, then buy South Louisiana. If you can't, then buy Louisiana. If you can't, buy...well...Jordanian, I guess.
What good does it do us if NOLA is rebuilt so that we're within walking distance of stores and restaurants if the stores are Walgreens and the Gap and the restaurants are Chili's and Bennigans?
Support our own, OK? This is the essence, in my opinion, of Sinn Fein.
On Tuesday night, I went to a book signing and reading by Ronnie to promote his new book, Lost Bread. I guess if he called it Pain Perdu, non New Orleanians would think it was an S&M guide or something.
Listen to him talk about The Point in this podcast.
He read from the book, and related his tale of the flood. It's the last chapter in the book, so go ahead and buy the damned thing. When I'm made King of New Orleans (wait, that's my kid), then I'll make Ronnie Virgets poet laureate.
I asked if he still smoked cigars, and he said not so much. Then I pulled out a 6 year old Cohiba Lancero, and he said he'd have to keep that one. When I was talking to him while he signed my book, I mentioned the Sinn Fein chapter in Say Cap, and his eyes lit up (even brighter than normal) as he remembered. He said "yeah, ourselves alone. I need to revisit that topic".
And he signed the book: To Ashley, Ourselves Alone.