Cost of Hurricanes Will be Long Lasting

The problem with the new-age media is that it bombards us with information and images almost as an event happens. Picture how terrifying it would have been to watch Pearl Harbor come under attack in real time. The events of 9/11 brought us perhaps closer to unfolding tragedy than we’ve ever been.

Last December’s tsunami and the strikes by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma further underscored how in touch we have become with human suffering, witnessing victims in need of assistance even before they receive the aid. And though it’s not as if we forget the tragedy and human suffering so soon after it occurs, the news is readily replaced by the situation du jour, the latest conflict, the day’s top issues.

In the case of Katrina, like an older aunt who wears too much perfume, her impact continues to bombard us long after she’s left. And while it’s no longer breaking news, the aftermath is no less devastating.

A blurb from our Upfront section this month is being repeated everywhere in New Orleans, across all walks of business. As was speculated at the time, those businesses already in a tenuous position before the storm won’t be reopening once the levees are rebuilt and the last of the water has been mopped back into the Gulf. The victim in question, Dixie Web Printing, won’t be firing up its presses, leaving roughly 100 people out of work…then again, how many of those people had already secured a permanent relocation? After all, you can’t collect receivables from a customer that has been washed away.

How many big businesses will return to the Big Easy? When will the printing industry be able to thrive in New Orleans again? Or will the great flood waters leave little more than a rotten cavity where a great city once prospered?

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