Tell 'em, sista!
If someone out there in the world feels that the children here need beans, then by all means let them send us some. We'll make a gourmet meal out of them. However, if someone chooses to use their own time and money to go out and buy beads, toys, and other trinkets to give New Orleanian children the opportunity to see that life goes on even after the hurricanes, then God bless 'em for understanding southerners. And if you happen to be one of those people who understand how to mix activism with fun, you can come down and see the parades and also participate in the home-buildings sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, Home Clean-Outs sponsored by ACORN, volunteering at the public hospitals, and all sorts of other activities the city has planned to make use of all the willing extra hands that will be in town.
Now, to answer the question: "Shouldn't the city dedicate every iota of energy, target every appeal and pour every dollar into New Orleans, the hometown, moreso than New Orleans, the tourist trap?"
The city should work intently towards making New Orleans the hometown of a lot more people than are currently residing here. At the same time, it should devote its energy to all that the people here find important and that includes Mardi Gras. It was this culture that produced the first original music form in this country and it is this culture that has kept it alive all the while. It is this culture that continues to churn out the best Jazz and Blues musicians in the world. It's one of the only places in the world where, on any given day, you can just walk down the street without a dime in your pocket and go see free, live music so sweet you'd remember the experience for the rest of your life. It's celebrations like Mardi Gras that keep international visitors coming and spending their Pesos, Rupees, Euros, and Yen despite how unpopular this country is these days. So, if we want to take two weeks out of our year and celebrate the fact that we are still alive, then I think we've earned the right to do so.
Check her out! Hey Sister, Go Sister, Soul Sister, Go Sister, Hey Sister, Go Sister, Soul Sister, Go Sister....!