FanDuel - WFBC

February 26, 2008

You can help ease New Orleans' pain: David Stern saw a city in pain, and I think he wanted to help, and I think he wouldn't have been able to forgive himself if he didn't help.

posted by justgary to basketball at 09:35 AM - 11 comments

It's a nice article, and Simmons gets it right as to why it's so hard to think of New Orleans as the kind of place it used to be, but I can't help but remain cynical about the self-serving angle of Stern's actions (seriously, could they have found any photographs that looked any more PR-approved and self-congratulatory than the ones that ran with this piece?), and I wonder how NBA players or volunteers are there this week, now that the All-Star weekend and Bill Simmons aren't in town to shine a spotlight on the good deeds being done.

posted by chicobangs at 10:11 AM on February 26

I agree - David Stern has proven he knows how to get the most out of opportunities like this one. But at least they did something, regardless of what the motives were.

posted by chamo at 11:25 AM on February 26

Forgive me, but I can't seem to remember exactly who said this originally (I'm thinking it was Steve Nash for some reason), but during the NBA effort in N.O., one thing became very apparent---there's still so much that needs to be done, or an awakening to how little has been done. Sport events have played a prominent part in the affirmation that New Orleans is once again "open for business", but this most recent NBA campaign seems to have reminded people that it is still not business as usual for much of the impacted area. Ah, yes, it was Steve Nash, et al, in this write-up by Dave Zirin. And I concur. As "self-serving" as this might be (and who can blame Stern, really?), it is still an effort by some of the most prominent figures in the sporting world that has raised awareness about the need that still exists in New Orleans. Great post, justgary.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:00 PM on February 26

but I can't help but remain cynical about the self-serving angle of Stern's actions (seriously, could they have found any photographs that looked any more PR-approved and self-congratulatory than the ones that ran with this piece? Yeah, I know what you're saying. And I have no idea if it was all PR. But not backing out of the event was big, even if done for partly selfish reasons. The part of the article that struck was Simmons' comments on New Orleans. I visit often and he nailed the feeling of walking down the street. Saturday feels like thursday, etc.

posted by justgary at 12:38 PM on February 26

Yeah, I agree, and I'm loath to say anything ill about it. It just seems to serve the PR needs of the players and the league more than it serves the good of the city, and something about that doesn't sit quite right. I don't for a moment wish that they didn't do it, but -- I just wonder who's left there to keep that work up this week. It's been three years, and there are still entire neighborhoods that are not only unlivable, but won't be livable any time soon. And Steve Nash and Jason Kidd putting on hairnets and painting half a door each while mugging for a camera isn't really helping.

posted by chicobangs at 01:41 PM on February 26

I just wonder who's left there to keep that work up this week. And you're probably right. I wouldn't give credit for any work done without seeing proof that it has continued. It's the actually coming to new orleans that's important. And probably more important in that they didn't not come, if that makes any sense. For a city that lives on tourism the league deciding not to go, for whatever reason, would have had a negative impact. It's been three years, and there are still entire neighborhoods that are not only unlivable True, but they've made quite a bit of progress also, and that doesn't get the press that the shortcomings get. Much of New Orleans is back and I don't think most people realize that. Getting people to realize that and return with money would certainly not hurt the work that still remains. Though I doubt that the city will ever return to the size it was before meaning some of those neighborhoods might never return.

posted by justgary at 02:46 PM on February 26

I lived and worked in New Orleans this summer. I had an absolutely great time. Unfortunately I never went there before Katrina, but I did visit it two summers ago. And in the year between my visit and the time I lived there, the condition of the city improved dramatically. Yes, there is a lot to be done. ESPECIALLY in New Orleans East, where, even this summer, two years after Katrina, it was literally impossible to find a fast food place to eat. (Ironically, though, my friend and I golfed at a golf course there, which only had the front 9 open. However, the opening of the golf course was a huge step toward returning to normalcy.) The other thing that struck me is that New Orleans has more people living there who are natives than any other place that I have lived by such a large margin that it's not even comparable. And I have lived in 7 different states. Their dedication to the city is so incredible that it is almost impossible to not be inspired by it. From meeting these locals, the biggest obstacle to New Orleans' future sustainability is that many of the larger corporations have decided to move out of New Orleans (either across Ponchartrain or to cities like Houston). I was so impressed by my experience in (even post-Katrina) New Orleans that I tell everyone I know that people under the age of 30 should be required to spend 3 to 6 months (at least) in New Orleans. I had an amazing time and I really hope that New Orleans can return to its previous state, if it was so much better than it is now. Otherwise, I will still love New Orleans as it is now, and if no one else can see its greatness, then I will get to enjoy it with fewer people.

posted by edub1321 at 01:22 AM on February 27

chicobangs: "I can't help but remain cynical..." Well, Mr. Cynical, have you gone there and looked at the still remaining devastation? Do you realize that EVERY DAY since Katrina happened, there have been volunteers there working to help bring back New Orleans, or at least to provide some livable space to the thousands of people whose lives were torn apart? Maybe it is your turn to go - spend some of your vacation time. Your entire perspective on the human race will change - you will have hope for humanity when you leave.

posted by twoman at 03:42 AM on February 27

Twoman - I don't think chico was being cynical about the great job that the volunteers are doing. He was referring to the possibility that David Stern was exploiting the situation for ulterior motives. I, for one, am looking forward to the next All Star Game being scheduled in Darfur. What? Oh.

posted by owlhouse at 04:15 AM on February 27

Maybe Kosovo, owlie, there are some ballers from there.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:05 PM on February 27

Well, Mr. Cynical, have you gone there and looked at the still remaining devastation? You may want to reread chicobangs' comment. I had an amazing time and I really hope that New Orleans can return to its previous state, if it was so much better than it is now. Otherwise, I will still love New Orleans as it is now, and if no one else can see its greatness, then I will get to enjoy it with fewer people. It wasn't that it was better. It still feels like new orleans. It still is new orleans. It's a matter of scale. In many ways I prefer this new orleans with less people crowding popular establishments. But new orleans thrives on tourist dollars, so it's basically a catch 22. I'd rather enjoy new orleans crowed than watch it fade away. I have no doubt it will be fine.

posted by justgary at 05:22 PM on February 27

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.