All week long, it's been a never ending coverage of a human interest story. During football season. All weepy-eyed, the sportscasters have been, touting the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation and heart-ache and misery, et. al.
We're happy for you.
Chicago was devastated once. Not the Great Flood, of course, although that will live on in memory. Only in the city of the big shoulders could a contractor drive a pylon through the bed of the Chicago River and straight into an unused tunnel. The effort to plug the hole and pump out the Loop's collection of connected basements brought the Kenny Construction Company to fame, and helped launch the diplomatic career of James Kenny, recently retired as the US Ambassador to Ireland.
Nothing was more devastating than the Great Chicago Fire, which burned up the entire heart of the business district, turning a major metropolitan area into a pile of cinders. A tinder box of wooden buildings and wooden sidewalks, the heat of the fire melted cast iron facades, bricks and stone fused in the heat, and most thought that Chicago had come to an end. What commerce existed there would find its way to Cincinnati or St. Louis, and the town would fade from memory.
The city burned because it was made of wood, so the city's leaders ordered that new construction be masonry. A lesson learned, a change made. And the disorganized zoning, once wiped out by flames, was gone for good as the local government re-structured the commercial areas and created a more cohesive and functional city.
From the ashes of the fire came the first skyscraper, the Prairie School where form follows function, and Daniel Burnham's call to make no small plans. Chicago as it came to exist after the fire bore no resemblance to the city that was consumed by flames on a hot and dry October night in 1871.
New Orleans was built on low-lying ground, on a delta that has been sinking since the French began construction, and the town fathers now want to reproduce the city that existed before the levees gave way and flooded almost every neighborhood.
Stupid is as stupid does.
Let's go Bears.