NOLA activist on Chicago Tribune editorial calling for a Hurricane Katrina

NOLA activist on Chicago Tribune editorial calling for a Hurricane Katrina
NOLA activist on Chicago Tribune editorial calling for a Hurricane Katrina

NOLA activist on Chicago Tribune editorial calling for a Hurricane Katrina

Late last week, Chicago Tribune editorial board member Kristen McQueary wrote an opinion column about Chicago’s deep financial crisis. It was about government, schools, borrowing, and the citizens of Chicago being either unwilling or incapable of getting the change we need. McQueary wrote that Chicago needs to wipe the slate clean, and she wished for a natural disaster, another Hurricane Katrina in her words, to do the job. “I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops,” she wrote. It was meant as a metaphor. But many readers called it tone deaf, clueless, or a sad display of white privilege. McQueary is white, and many of the more than 1,800 people who died during Katrina were elderly, poor, and black. On Friday and over the weekend, the column spread around the internet — to New Orleans, to Washington, even internationally — and the backlash was swift and cutting. “As someone who experienced Katrina first-hand, the ignorance in this column is trivializing, grotesque and upsetting,” one person wrote on Twitter. Some readers defended McQueary and the Tribune, saying it was a bad metaphor, nothing more. Down in the Big Easy, many residents took issue with McQueary’s glossed-over version of their city after Katrina. In her depiction, things are peachy. Government corruption has been rooted out. Dilapidated buildings have been torn down. The schools are great. Our next guest says that’s far from the case. We turn to Vanessa Gueringer, Vice President of “A Community Voice,” a non-profit community organization in New Orleans made up of and serving the working, poor, elderly, women, children, and families. (Flickr/Infrogmation of New Orleans)