In The Folk of the Fringe, Card writes that "civilization lives on among those folk whose bonds of faith, tribe, and language are strong." As a native New Orleanian, I couldn't help thinking of Hurricane Katrina. With the federal, state, and local governments all failing to mount a rebuilding plan, the city's revival was left to grass-roots, neighborhood-based organizations. It's not surprising group that the city's most tightly knit and most homogeneous group—the Vietnamese-American community of New Orleans East—came back the fastest. Partly inspired by a priest from the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church who traveled around the South persuading evacuated parishioners to come home, Vietnamese residents of the Versailles neighborhood turned out to help each other and help their church. Within nine months, 45 of 50 neighborhood businesses had reopened. Within two years, 90 percent of the area's pre-Katrina residents returned, double the citywide average.
In New Orleans, civilization lives on among those folk whose bonds of faith, tribe, and language are strong. In America, perhaps civilization will carry on in the same way.
* Correction, Aug. 7, 2009: This piece originally stated that Mormons are counseled to keep a two-year supply of food. In 2007, the church advised families to keep a three-month supply plus stores of food for longer-term needs.
** Correction, Aug. 8, 2009: This article originally said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that Jesus will rule on American soil. The LDS Church believes he will return, not be resurrected. In addition, the church believes that Jesus will also reign in the old Jerusalem.