Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New Orleans' main problem is moral poverty

...Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the group Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), says the city of New Orleans' main problem is moral poverty, not a lack of money. The conservative black leader was appalled to learn that an investigation into Katrina disaster aid has uncovered widespread waste and fraud involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The month-long investigation by two federal agencies revealed that nearly half the 2.5 million applicants who received federal aid after Katrina had made fraudulent claims. The investigation also found that many FEMA-issued debit cards were used for such things as gambling, pornography, tattoos, and even a diamond ring. "Folks turned the Superdome into a ghetto in three days," Peterson asserts, "and then they turned FEMA into an ATM machine. When you give folks something without requiring them to earn it, this is what we get. They don't develop character. You only can develop that by working hard." Also, BOND's spokesman finds it interesting that many Big Easy residents seem so preoccupied with bringing back the city's decadent Mardi Gras festivities. "It really speaks about what New Orleans is all about," Peterson says. "You'd would think that would be the last thing on their minds, but they can't wait to get back to their old ways."

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