A confidant sent a letter to one of the members of the debate committee. Since the confidant's tone was quite unlike my snarky note, the member responded.
It appears to me that perhaps the problem was not with New Orleans at all, but with Women of the Storm -- namely, due to the fact that they trusted Nagin and the tourism board to carry their weight. Nagin and his acolytes running the convention center and tourism board are incompetent beyond belief, and are likely to blame for a debate not being held here.
I attach here the initial response from the committee member, the NOLAn's follow up letter, and the reply from the committee member to the follow up.
Dear Name Redacted --
I got your heartfelt email this morning and I wanted to offer you my personal response.
I have been to New Orleans three times since Katrina on church mission trips and have gutted homes in Lakeview, Gentilly, and the Upper 9th. I have also been involved in lots of efforts to raise funding for recovery efforts and have personally witnessed the heroic efforts underway there to rebuild.
I started the selection process for the debates very inclined to support the bid from New Orleans. I was disappointed that the bid organized by Women of the Storm did not come close to meeting the requirements we have. It was hard to figure out when our staff met with the group down there who would take real responsibility for making sure that all the arrangements would be in place. We heard reassuring words from the leader of Women of the Storm but there was not much accountability from the local or state officials who normally figure very prominently in these discussions (and who ultimately have to make good on the promises extended.)
We tried several ways to break through down there but, frankly, New Orleans was not well served by the people who put together the specific answers we needed to make a good decision. In the end, these debates are for every American who votes, not for one city. It would have been irresponsible for us to select a bid that did not measure up.
I wanted you to have my honest response.
Respectfully, Name Redacted
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my e-mail. I truly do appreciate the effort. Many people are working very hard to return my city to, not only her former self, but hopefully a better city. We would like the help of our fellow Americans because the task is greater than any community can handle on their own.
Where is the help? The sad fact is America has become a country where money is the over-riding factor. New Orleans has no money and is therefore forgotten. But New Orleans has something of greater value than money. It has a soul. It has a sense of community that America can only dream of. People have sacrificed greatly to return the culture of our heart and they are making it happen. We will survive as we have through fires, plagues, and, yes, terrible floods. It is just very clear to us now that we are "apart", from the country we pay taxes to.
I am so ashamed of this country, I have been disappointed time and time again by it . I won't expect anything else from it anymore. My heart has been broken enough.
I understand that 100%. I have seen and felt that myself when I have been down there working. But I also see the spirit of that City in the people fighting to bring it back. To be honest, having the presidential campaign descend for 48 hours on N.O. won't make much of a difference. Having one of these jokers elected president pledging to make a long term commitment to rebuilding New Orleans and working with the people will make a difference. And at least some of the candidates seem willing to do that. Thanks for hearing me out!
I will close with an eloquent note from the confidant, to me. Check out that last sentence:
I think it is important to understand why we fail at getting these political events. If we know why we fail there is a chance to correct the problem. I know that this is just one factor in the denial, but it is important to see the situation from an outsider's viewpoint.
At times, it hurts to love New Orleans so much, but she IS worth the pain.
Sinn Fein, y'all.