Pitfalls for Planning in New Orleans

“I want to be as candid as I can be without losing my job,” Eric Shaw stated with frank humor as he began his talk “Planning, Institution Building, and Long-Term Recovery in the State of Louisiana,” which he delivered to a packed audience in Lewis auditorium last Friday afternoon. The young, Harvard-educated hired gun brought in from previous urban planning positions in D.C., Miami and Silicon Valley, he was in the unique position of a technocrat who was running not to be elected to public office, but rather to create a new public office. Still, he had to carefully negotiate paying lip service to the stance of disinterested academic expertise while playing kiss-up to the interests of his political superiors.