This is sad

[size=18] Notes From Inside New Orleans[/size]

Notes From Inside New Orleans

by Jordan Flaherty

Friday, September 2, 2005

I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I
traveled from the apartment I
was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee
camp. If anyone wants
to examine the attitude of federal and state
officials towards the victims
of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of
the refugee camps.

In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway
near Causeway,
thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor)
stood and squatted in mud
and trash behind metal barricades, under an
unforgiving sun, with heavily
armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus
would come through, it
would stop at a random spot, state police would open
a gap in one of the
barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with
no information given
about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were
told) evacuees would be
told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge,
Houston, Arkansas, Dallas,
or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a
bus bound for Arkansas
(for example), even people with family and a place
to stay in Baton Rouge
would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it
passed through Baton Rouge.
You had no choice but to go to the shelter in
Arkansas. If you had people
willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they
could not come within 17
miles of the camp.

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red
Cross workers, Salvation
Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and
although they were
friendly, no one could give me any details on when
buses would arrive, how
many, where they would go to, or any other
information. I spoke to the
several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if
any of them had been able
to get any information from any federal or state
officials on any of these
questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to
local Fox affiliates
complained of an unorganized, non-communicative,
mess. One cameraman told
me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two
days, the only
information I can give you is this: get out by
nightfall. You don’t want to
be here at night.”

There was also no visible attempt by any of those
running the camp to set up
any sort of transparent and consistent system, for
instance a line to get on
buses, a way to register contact information or find
family members, special
needs services for children and infirm, phone
services, treatment for
possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash

To understand this tragedy, its important to look at
New Orleans itself.

For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you
have missed a incredible,
glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and
energy unlike anywhere
else in the world. A 70% African-American city where
resistance to white
supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and
unique culture of vivid
beauty. From jazz, blues and hip hop, to
secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians,
Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and
rice on Monday nights, New
Orleans is a place of art and music and dance and
sexuality and liberation
unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where
walking down the block can
take two hours because you stop and talk to someone
on every porch, and
where a community pulls together when someone is in
need. It is a city of
extended families and social networks filling the
gaps left by city, state
and federal governments that have abdicated their
responsibility for the
public welfare. It is a city where someone you walk
past on the street not
only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.

It is also a city of exploitation and segregation
and fear. The city of New
Orleans has a population of just over 500,000 and
was expecting 300 murders
this year, most of them centered on just a few,
overwhelmingly black,
neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying
that they don’t need to
search out the perpetrators, because usually a few
days after a shooting,
the attacker is shot in revenge.

There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and
distrust between much of
Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In
recent months,
officers have been accused of everything from drug
running to corruption to
theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police
officers were recently
charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have
been several high
profile police killings of unarmed youth, including
the murder of Jenard
Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests
for several months.

The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of
black ninth graders will
not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on
average $4,724 per child’s
education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest
teacher salaries. The
equivalent of more than two classrooms of young
people drop out of Louisiana
schools every day and about 50,000 students are
absent from school on any
given day. Far too many young black men from New
Orleans end up enslaved in
Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where
inmates still do manual farm
labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the
prison. It is a city
where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are
are low-paying,
transient, insecure jobs in the service economy.

Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana
politics. This disaster
is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect
and incompetence.
Hurricane Katrina was the inevitable spark igniting
the gasoline of cruelty
and corruption. From the neighborhoods left most at
risk, to the treatment
of the refugees to the the media portrayal of the
victims, this disaster is
shaped by race.

Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the
tragedies of this week
our political leaders have defined a new level of
incompetence. As
hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us
to “Pray the hurricane
down” to a level two. Trapped in a building two days
after the hurricane,
we tuned our battery-operated radio into local radio
and tv stations, hoping
for vital news, and were told that our governor had
called for a day of
prayer. As rumors and panic began to rule, there was
no source of solid
dependable information. Tuesday night, politicians
and reporters said the
water level would rise another 12 feet - instead it
stabilized. Rumors
spread like wildfire, and the politicians and media
only made it worse.

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with
nowhere to go and no way to
get there were left behind. Adding salt to the
wound, the local and
national media have spent the last week demonizing
those left behind. As
someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it,
this is the part of
this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me

No sane person should classify someone who takes
food from indefinitely
closed stores in a desperate, starving city as a
"looter," but that’s just
what the media did over and over again. Sherrifs and
politicians talked of
having troops protect stores instead of perform
rescue operations.

Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population
were transformed into
black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a
stereo from a store that
will clearly be insured against loss is a greater
crime than the
governmental neglect and incompetence that did
billions of dollars of damage
and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic,
just as the eighties
focus on “welfare queens” and "super-predators"
obscured the simultaneous
and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan scams
and mass layoffs, the
hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used
as a scapegoat to cover
up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real
criminals here. Since at
least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the
danger faced by flooding to
New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this
week’s events, was more
about politics and racism than any kind of natural
disaster, illustrated
exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials
have consistently
refused to spend the money to protect this poor,
overwhelmingly black, city.
While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending
danger to New Orleans
and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce
and protect the city, the
Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has
cut or refused to fund
New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists
warnings of increased
hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as
the dangers rose with the
floodlines, the lack of coordinated response
dramatized vividly the callous
disregard of our elected leaders.

The aftermath from the 1927 flood helped shape the
elections of both a US
President and a Governor, and ushered in the
southern populist politics of
Huey Long.

In the coming months, billions of dollars will
likely flood into New
Orleans. This money can either be spent to usher in
a “New Deal” for the
city, with public investment, creation of stable
union jobs, new schools,
cultural programs and housing restoration, or the
city can be “rebuilt and
revitalized” to a shell of its former self, with
newer hotels, more casinos,
and with chain stores and theme parks replacing the
former neighborhoods,
cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.

Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a
hurricane of poverty, racism,
disinvestment, de-industrialization and corruption.
Simply the damage from
this pre-Katrina hurricane will take billions to

Now that the money is flowing in, and the world’s
eyes are focused on
Katrina, its vital that progressive-minded people
take this opportunity to
fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is
a special place, and we
need to fight for its rebirth.

Good of you to dig this up for display.
I have no use for those bullies with their HUGE ego. Anyone that sells arms openly or clandestantly, then storms in to the same to subjigate, does not get any respect from me.

I sell beer clandestantly.

So what you’re saying is, is that if George Bush didn’t hate black people, the hurricane would not have hit?


Delay help, act indifferently and you are rid of many more that were needy before and will continue into the future. A secondary cleansing!

Could become another powder keg of riots.

Forgot to mention that TEXASS is next on the list. Should be interesting.

Wonder what crude will cost next, let alone where the economy goes from here.

Go have a global look at the weather. Mother nature has declared war on humanity! Serves us right for disrespecting.

[quote]orgot to mention that TEXASS is next on the list. Should be interesting.

Wonder what crude will cost next, let alone where the economy goes from here.

Go have a global look at the weather. Mother nature has declared war on humanity! Serves us right for disrespecting.[/quote]

You hit the nail right on the head dude or dudette. Hey they warned us this time, switch your radios, SHERYL CROW is up next. 8:18 am. EEEEK!