Fear and Loathing in the French Quarter

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted September 1, 2005

Dear Wealth Daily reader:

I’ve been to New Orleans several times.

To be honest with you, I can only take that city in very short durations. A two day visit is ideal. Three is the max.

The last time I was there was in November 1999 to speak at the Blanchard conference. I was there for 4 days, and I nearly left in a body bag.

New Orleans is a seductive siren that’ll kill you if you’re not careful.

It’s one of the reasons I haven’t been back in over 5 years.

However, my attitude about returning to the Big Easy was changing.

The Wealth Daily team was entertaining invitations to attend this year’s conference held at the end of October. As you can probably guess, Mike Schaefer is in high demand these days to speak about his Cassandra-like insights into the natural resource markets and peak oil.

Today, that invitation was withdrawn by both parties. It appears the conference is postponed for at least 6 months. I’ll keep you updated.

BAM! When Emeril Lagasse Meets Thomas Hobbes

The chaos that’s occurring in New Orleans is the modern-day example of what Hobbes described man in the state of nature: Nasty, brutish and short.

I have a lawyer friend who lives in an upscale part of NO, near the historic St. Charles Street district.

He tells me the city has effectively slid into the abyss. It’s over the edge.

I won’t go into the details. You’ve seen enough on CNN and Fox.

But he’s telling me that 4 days without water, food, and power, the people are losing hope. And when people lose hope, they become desperate and primitive.

As I was driving into work today listening to talk radio, call after call came in arguing that the looting in New Orleans was justified.

One caller even remarked, "How’s the looting in New Orleans any different than the looting that was done by Enron directors?"

Nice try.

This is what happens when order in society is lost. Fear and loathing sets in at the worst possible time. Animal instincts takeover. It’s survival of the fittest.

Of course, the issue on everybody’s mind is the one concern nobody will admit: Sure the human suffering is tragic, but when will the refineries come back on-line to start producing gasoline.

If the answer to that question is months, the chaos we’re seeing in New Orleans could spread to the rest of the US.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the changing face of America: Welcome to Niagra Falls.

-Brian Hicks

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