Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré issued a challenge to Southern University students to help Louisiana and the nation adapt to a “new normal” on Monday during the university’s “Founders’ Day” 129th anniversary celebration.
Honoré, a Southern graduate and Monday’s keynote speaker, painted a somber picture while discussing the national recession, fears of a viral pandemic, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a third war starting along the Mexican border concerning the war on drugs.
He bemoaned poor health-care services and obesity rates.
“People come to Louisiana because they like the food here,” Honoré said. “This food will kill you.”
Americans must learn to “live with less” as resources decline worldwide, he said. Southern’s researchers, students and graduates can be the ones to develop new technologies and oil-free energy sources, he said. Students must bring their knowledge back to their communities.
While discussing the distance between “Main Street and Wall Street,” Honoré said there also is a “Railroad Street” where land is cheap, schools are struggling and the police are more active. Many people from the Southern nation come from Railroad Street, he said.
“When things go bad on Wall Street, they get a golden parachute. When things go bad on Main Street, they’ll wait until next year to buy a car,” Honoré said. “But ladies and gentlemen, there’s always a disaster on Railroad Street.”
Calling New Orleans’ 9th Ward a “Railroad Street,” Honoré also discussed hurricane preparedness.
“We’ve got to stop waking up in Louisiana surprised there’s a hurricane coming,” he said. People should prepare for the upcoming hurricane season now with supplies and evacuation plans.
“There’s more mention of a tiger and a jaguar in this city than there is about a three-day supply of food and water,” Honoré said of the inflated importance placed on sports.
Mr. Honore has and will always be a hero to me.