Burnin' Down the House

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

These are photos of the former residence of Bishop Rodger Moran in New Orleans. He lived across the street from Notre Dame Seminary on Carrolton Ave. His house was looted and set ablaze in the aftermath of Katrina. He lost everything in the fire except his chalice, which he was able to retrieve when combing through the wreckage. I wonder if those bishop's vestments come in handy in some way to the looters.


who, me? said...

There must be an ethical or economic principle (maybe enlightened utilitarianism) that would address this behaviour and its opposite.

Here we have "I'll just help myself to something unutterably precious to many people, and ruin it or apply it to purely fungible ends. This is good, because it takes high value from them and might add an iota of value for MEEE, MEEE, MEEE."

Or else it's just an evil animalistic tic -- steal whatever is not locked down.

On the other end of life, we have Saint Maximilian Kolbe, who said, "My life? You can have it, if it saves the life of a man for his family."

Knucklehead said...

who, me?

Or else it's just an evil animalistic tic -- steal whatever is not locked down.

And burn what you can't steal. Animals are opportunistic but rarely just plain mean. It takes people giving in to the worst of their animalism, and then sinking even lower, to engage in this sort of behavior.

BTW, I'm currently reading A Wilderness So Immense - The Lousiana Purchase and the Destiny of America which goes into some detail about 18th century New Orleans. New Orleans was devastated by fire in March of 1788.

Governor of Lousiana, Esteban Rodriguez Miro, by all accounts I am aware of a remarkably capable administrator, and Intendant Martin Navarro (the Intendant being a seperate position the political equal of the governor but responsible for all tax revenue from Lousiana to Carlos III), despite the loss of all but roughly 150 of the more than 1,000 buildings that then made up New Orleans, including all but 3 of the commercial buildings (warehouses and such), and with no outside help available for weeks, apparently managed to insure that none of the 5,500+ residents was without food or shelter within 24 hours.

That was then and this is now, of course, but the difference between capable and inept local administration is, as it has always been, the key to dealing with disaster.

truepeers said...

It takes people giving in to the worst of their animalism

Come on Knuck, you're giving animals an unfair rap. They never do things like this.

We are both animal and human and the fundamental human relationship is to the sacred, whether the sacred that is at the root of human significance and consciousness be originally a man-made creation, or a gift from God. And being fundamental, it is reducible to some basic terms, albeit paradoxical ones: the sacred is both alienating and attractive; it creates a basic choice between love and resentment for the central being to which our lives are inextricably bound, but which we cannot assimilate and own.

This is the essential human choice. It is not reducible to reason or any utilitarian principle. A lot of people simply choose resentment. That's irrational, a lot of the time, but there it is.

terrye said...

What a waste. I wonder which was the most destructive...Katrina or the people? I would guess Katrina, but not by much.

Knucklehead said...


Are you confusing me with who, me?? I asserted that it takes something uniquely human to be just plain mean enough to burn what what cannot steal. Animals are notorious theives. I have one sleeping nearby that is apt to steal when the mood strikes and opportunity presents. She is, however, never mean about that or anything else. We even have a name for her attempted getaways - "The Dash of Shame".

truepeers said...

Sorry Knuck, I misread you.