I don’t know what to think

If you’ve listened to WIST Radio in the last couple of days, you know the story about Dr. Ed Blakely and his interview in Australia. If not here’s the text of the part of the interview that has raised eyebrows from D.C. to NOLA.

MARK COLVIN: There are still tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of New Orleans people who really haven’t come back to the city after the floods. Are they going to come back?

ED BLAKELY: Well, I don’t know if that’s the case. New Orleans had slightly under 400,000 people. It now has 230,000 and 250,000 people. That 400,000 person number I think was one that was kept on the books in order for New Orleans to get certain benefits.

I think the actual number is closer to 300,000 and some thousand, maybe 325,000 and we’re at 230,000 now. So, we’re about 100,000 people off the day of the flood.

Complete interview and Audio

What does this really mean? Well it has so many levels to it I’m almost at a loss for words.

Let’s start first with this. I’m from here. Born and raised in Louisiana and I love my city and state. Sometimes too much. I’ve got to say that if; just if the numbers have been twisted I wouldn’t really be that surprised.

I never really thought the census was exact. I mean there is no way of actually counting 455,000 people. But I never really questioned it either. Couple thousand here or there, big deal. One hundred and thirty thousand here or there….eh kinda different.

From my understanding and research, when a census is done, while a Federal operation, it goes down to the locals to actually get the numbers. Just so you know, Dollar Bill Jefferson was the head honcho of the 2000 census. Don’t attack me if that turns out to not be the case but from everything I have read about the rules and the way the census is gathered is that the senior congressman heads up the appointments of the peeps who do the head count.

Draw your own conclusions I guess. I do know this. I respect Dr. Blakely. I’m not buying Mayor Noggin’s response of “he just got his numbers confused.” I’ve talked with the guy way too often to know that he does not really get confused. This guy is a world-renowned recovery specialist. This isn’t some Louisiana political bimbo that shoots off at the mouth every time a microphone is in front of his face. Blakely might have to fall on his sword for this one. Take one for the team per se. And I say that actually thinking that Blakely knows something the rest of us don’t know.

3 Comments so far

  1. Jack Ware (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

    Ed is The Man ! He’s an outsider looking at this through the eyes of experience, intelligence and talent. I’m just wondering if he has the will to resist the political pressure that will come from this. I would hate to see him neutralized since he’s our best hope. And there’s just no way I’m going to take the mayor’s word over his – not a chance – that would be crazy.

    If he is right then anything that’s calculated per capita changes by some percentage right? Like the crime rate, poverty rate, jobless rate, average income, etc. And in some cases, not in a way that is very flattering to the city.

    Then there’s the idea that someone committed malfeasance in office if not many other punishable offenses. Does the city owe the feds the millions of dollars they unjustly collected? Who knows? Where did all that extra money go…roads, schools, levees, the fire department? right.

    And even if none of that really matters we still need to talk about the recovery using ‘real’ numbers so we can plan accurately and set real expectations.


  2. Ray (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

    I don’t buy it. Blakely is saying that almost three quarters of the pre-K population is back living in Orleans Parish. Drive around. Where the fuck are they? Yeah, it’s getting crowded in the sliver, but not THAT crowded. Gentilly, N.O. East, the Ninth Ward, Lakeview…they’re fucking ghost towns. BIG ghost towns. How can half of the city still be so sparsely populated if most of the people are back?

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Just waving your hands and saying, “oh, you know, corruption blah blah blah” might work for your garden variety conspiracy-theory addict, but it doesn’t do it for me. Blakely might have a good story about motive, but if motive is all the proof you need, then I banged Angelina last night and then made her cook me breakfast. I had motive. QED.


  3. Ray (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

    Here’s why this:

    “I’m not buying Mayor Noggin’s response of “he just got his numbers confused.” I’ve talked with the guy way too often to know that he does not really get confused.”

    is BS. Blakely said:

    “New Orleans had slightly under 400,000 people. It now has 230,000 and 250,000 people. That 400,000 person number I think was one that was kept on the books in order for New Orleans to get certain benefits.”

    In the 2000 census, New Orleans had 484,674 people. So on the one number in this whole thing that is reasonably verifiable fact, Blakely was off by almost 100,000 people, i.e., pretty fucking confused. That makes the rest of his numbers really suspect. If our population was really 325,000 as he claims, and the census counted 484,674, that means that back in 2000 somebody had enough smarts and influence to inflate our official population count by 50%? Please.



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