A City Frozen In Time

A sign against the bulldozing of homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina is seen in the Lower Ninth Ward district of New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006. Under pressure from angry residents and a lawsuit, the city says it will soon begin notifying owners of every hurricane-damaged home slated for demolition, even those pushed into streets by floodwaters or reduced to piles of debris. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
I sense you're getting a little tired of hearing about this, but New Orleans is still a mess. I bring it up because a reporter friend of mine just returned from the Crescent City and she said, "My God, you're right — it's as if the city is frozen in time."

All the more important is the hype Mardi Gras is getting. Today's USA Today has a piece with a headline "Big Easy Could See A Mardi Gras For The Ages." It quotes a hotel official saying, "There's a lot of misunderstanding…this is a chance to really let people know we're open"

I want people to go to Mardi Gras. I want them to fill the hotel rooms, spend a lot of money. But I don't want anyone to forget that hundreds of thousands of people still can't go home.

The White House rejected a Republican proposal which would buy up destroyed houses this week. It was an idea a lot of people down there were counting on. Now it's back to the drawing board, and the time keeps slipping away, and with it the soul of the city.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith