Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles, one of my least favorite (and in this I join the Joint Chiefs), had a cartoon about New Orleans the other day: it featured a “Mission Accomplished Sign” and words like, “Here we go again.”

The implication: the federal government isn’t doing enough to help New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina. I hope Toles is right. 

The best thing that can happen to New Orleans is *not* to be swamped (if you’ll excuse the verb choice) with federal aid. A heady dose of capitalist enterprise is the only thing that can save one of the greatest cities in the world. As James K. Glassman, my editor at a New Orleans weekly during my misspent youth, put it recently in the Wall Street Journal:

“The rebirth of New Orleans does, however, require a leap into the unknown. It can’t be meticulously planned. Preserve the old buildings. Rope off the lowlands. But then let imagination takes its course. Unfortunately, Mr. Nagin’s Bring Back New Orleans group is loaded with central planners prescribing a dream city built around such highlights as light-rail transport, a ‘jazz district’ and a neuroscience center. Typical is Michael Cowan, head of the city’s Human Relations Commission, who warned that ‘the alternative to a ‘good-enough’ plan for the future of our city is free-market chaos, also known . . . as every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’

“Actually, it was precisely this chaos that made New Orleans a great city in the first place. It was planning–specifically, the horrifying housing projects, largely destroyed in Katrina; the stultifying school system; the Superdome and other wasteful public-works projects–that held the city back.”