07/24/2007 10:40 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Keeps New Orleanians from Seceding

It was a dark joke in the months after Katrina -- "Buy Us Back", a message directed at the French. France, after all, sheltered some New Orleans musicians in a Paris residency, and shared some of the Louvre's masterpieces with the NO Museum of Art, gestures designed to express not only fraternal solidarity, but cultural support. Given the federal government's culpability in the disaster and its tepid response in the aftermath, America started to seem like a foreign country to those in the Crescent City who saw themselves being attacked, as if they caused the levees to fail, as if they kept the food and water from arriving. But what sustained the city's belief in the first word of the country's name -- United -- was and continues to be the influx of volunteers arriving, then and now, to help the slow-motion recovery. Today"s Times-Picayune reports on those who are giving up summer vacation to volunteer. It is the answer to the journalism cynics who maintain that good news is never news.