What's In a Map

Things look different this morning.

I woke up to Google maps showing New Orleans completely intact. No cranes attempting to patch the levees, my mother-in-law's Gentilly home intact, and presumably the palm plants still on my Mid-City balcony.

I live in Illinois now so it's bracing to see the web jump 19 months backwards.

Poor Chikai Ohazama, Google product manager for satellite imagery, had to say in a press release that the change is because of numerous factors - "everything from resolution, to quality, to when the actual imagery was acquired."

The kerfuffle has led to the House Committee on Science and Technology's asking Google Inc. Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt to explain why "Google's use of old imagery appears to be doing the victims of Hurricane Katrina a great injustice by airbrushing history,"

And the story has already taken the spin that "locals smell conspiracy" because officials want to show progress. Who would these local be, and why would our local officials want to show progress that does not exist when they desperately need funding to make it a reality.

The words "New Orleans conspiracy theories" were also edited into the narrative, as if we are downloading maps while sporting tinfoil hats.

Would this gaslighting continue if Google showed -

The Towers Standing

Saddam's Statue Untoppled

Piza's Tower Vertical

Rome and Carthage Unpillaged

The Titanic Afloat

The Superdome without a single paint chip

And almost 3,000 New Orleaneans souls returned to this earth?

I was told about one more New Orleans suicide tonight. These dominoes are falling faster and faster and none of it is reflected in the maps of what is left of our landscape. Psychological or otherwise.

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