As I sat in the dark, listening to the endless coverage of Ida’s destruction on my transistor radio, I had an epiphany. Hearing the pleas for help from our ravaged citizenry, I realized our beloved city is in its death throes. The outcries of its populace represent nothing less than New Orleans’ death rattle. It is reverberating from Lakeview to the East, from Mid-City to Uptown and from the Lower 9 to the French Quarter.

And it is all our own fault. Why? Because over the years we have given our poorer citizens fish and not taught them how to fish. More and more have become wards of the state, reliant upon governmental largesse and not their own hard work and initiative.

They reliably vote for those who will provide them with this welfare-type funding. This is done without concern with what is best for the commonweal but what is best for themselves.

What is the upshot? The poorer population burgeons, not unlike feral cats being fed by some kind soul. His intentions are laudable. The results are not.

This increase erodes the tax base as these folks overburden city services. Crime increases. Infrastructure deteriorates. And the middle classes are driven out.

What is left is a shell of a once-great city, eaten from within by a giant tapeworm created by selfish power-hungry politicians whose only interest is themselves. They claim eleemosynary motives. Yet their only concern is manipulation for personal gain. Has any politician left office not richer than when they entered it?

Education of our people coupled with their desire to be so educated is the only solution. A hand up, not a handout, creates pride and wealth. School choice provides an avenue out of this morass. Teach our brothers and sisters to fish. Stop giving them fish!

CHARLEY IRELAND

retired, emergency preparedness

New Orleans