In response to a question about the privatization of governmental services, Plyer responded that more evidence is needed to make generalizations that apply across sectors. In some cases the privatization of services in New Orleans after Katrina has had benefits, but in other cases the privatization of services has been tremendously inefficient. It “bends both ways.”

Plyer also said that people in every neighborhood in the city tend to express the opinion that other neighborhoods are receiving more money than is their neighborhood. However, tracking the exact expenditures of recovery funds is very difficult. “Can we say for sure that Lower Nine is getting less than Lakeview? I don’t know that there are any numbers that could show that. What we encourage folks to do is really to continue to build their capacity to advocate for what they need in their neighborhood.”

Finally, in response to a question about climate change, Plyer observed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been commissioned to build levees that will protect the city against a 100-year storm. But that level of protection will not be adequate in the future. Many people in the city have become interested in the flood protection measures being built in the Netherlands, where protection against an 11,000-year storm is the goal. Pursuing such a goal for New Orleans would require a tremendous effort. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but the folks who understand what it’s going to take for the city to be sustainable will not give up that fight, because folks are not fooled into thinking that the levees will be sufficient.”

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