Tag: New Orleans

May 24

Is An End To This War In Sight?

I’m not talking about Afghanistan or Iraq, although it would be nice if we had a president that could keep his word about ending these conflicts. No, I speak of the War Between the States, the US Civil War that is still raging on in many states one hundred fifty two years after General Robert …

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Aug 27

New Orleans: A Tale of Two Cities

It is 10 years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast causing $108 billion in damages, killing over 1300 people and completely changing the city of New Orleans and the coastline.

Today New Orleans has changed in many ways, it is whiter, richer and the poor are poorer:

Ten years later, it is not exactly right to say that New Orleans is back. The city did not return, not as it was.

It is, first of all, without the more than 1,400 people who died here, and the thousands who are now making their lives someplace else. As of 2013, there were nearly 100,000 fewer black residents than in 2000, their absences falling equally across income levels. The white population decreased by about 11,000, but it is wealthier.

The city that exists in 2015 has been altered, by both a decade of institutional re-engineering and the artless rearrangement that occurs when people are left to fend for themselves.

Empowered by billions of federal dollars and the big ideas of eager policy planners, the school system underwent an extensive overhaul; the old Art Deco Charity Hospital was supplanted by a state-of-the-art medical complex; and big public housing projects, at once beloved and notorious, were razed and replaced by mixed-income communities with housing vouchers.

In a city long marinated in fatalism, optimists are now in ascendance. They promise that an influx of bright newcomers, a burst of entrepreneurial verve and a new spirit of civic engagement have primed the city for an era of greatness, or, at least, reversed a long-running civic-disaster narrative.

“Nobody can refute the fact that we have completely turned this story around,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, talking of streamlined government and year-over-year economic growth. “For the first time in 50 years, the city is on a trajectory that it has not been on, organizationally, functionally, economically, almost in every way.”

The word “trajectory” is no accident. It is the mayor’s case that the city is in a position to address the many problems that years of government failures had allowed to fester. He did not argue that those problems had been solved.

Nov 14

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Misremembering George W. Bush

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette



Bush Memoir by Rob Rogers, see reader comments in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

George W. Bush is on a book tour with his new autobiography.  According to critics, there isn’t a lot of new or revealing material here.  W still believes the war in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich and torture were all good ideas.  He didn’t really need to publish a non-reflective memoir to tell us that.

Aug 29

Still Missing New Orleans

I posted the following on September 4, 2005 at The Dream Antilles and I cross-posted it in various places.  Five years later, there’s really very little I can add to this, so I am re-posting it:

Apr 30

‘Gag-inducing’ fuel smell wafting over New Orleans (updated)

New Orleans residents are understandably annoyed over their city being enveloped by the smell of fuel. Mandie Landry, an attorney who works in the city’s Central Business District, told Yahoo! News that “it smells like it’d smell if a bus was in front of you blowing out exhaust fumes right in your face.”

Another local resident, Tulane University employee Laura Mogg, told us that she caught wind of the “terrible” and “gag-inducing” smell from her office building on the school’s sprawling uptown campus. “I smelled it the second I opened the door,” she said. “Really, it’s that strong.”

How many weeks/months will people in Louisiana and other states be forced to breathe these poisonous fumes as wave upon wave of toxic sludge hits their shores?  

What kinds short and long term health problems can these millions of people expect as a result?

We have yet to even remotely grasp the ecological, human and economic damage this disaster will cause.  Indeed, the more I read the more I fear that when the final butcher’s bill is taken, Deepwater Horizon could very well rival Chernobyl on the all time list of man-made disasters.  

And the most horrible part of all?  Nobody can do a damn thing to stop it.  

Apr 30

To Attract Tourists, Louisiana Governor Announces Free Oil Giveaway

Baton Rouge (FNS)-Facing both a massive oil slick from a sunken offshore drilling platform and a second year of declining tourism revenues along the Louisiana Gulf Coast caused by high gas prices, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal today introduced a new tourism promotion that he reports is going to “…make lemons into lemonade”.

Jindal, flanked by British Petroleum’s Director of Marketing Dick Timoneous and the Executive Director of the Louisiana State Tourism Board, Jenna Talia, announced that the “All The Oil You Can Carry Festival” would officially commence today just east of New Orleans, and last at least through the month of May.

Apr 27

“We think those few extra words are worth the effort.”

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I’m on the levees.org email list and I got a message from them today:

Thanks to you, Levees.org was featured in the New York Times!

The article focused on our success in encouraging national media to report accurately on the man-made causes of the metro New Orleans flood.

And making the true story about the flooding as common knowledge as ‘the sun rising in the east’ will help the region recover.

This fine piece of journalism by reporter Brian Stelter greatly increases the reach of Levees.org message!

And it gives evidence that your ongoing efforts are paying off.

And that’s good because when the American people understand that the flooding was a federal responsibility, they may understand that rebuilding is a federal duty.

Thank you for your support!

We’re winning!

Sandy Rosenthal

Founder, Levees.org

levees.org

Here’s the New York Times story.

Jan 19

New Orleans is not Haiti

Ever since the Haiti earthquake happened, it has invited quite a few comparisons to the disaster brought about in New Orleans by the federal flood. There are even those in the mainstream media who have asked if this quake is going to turn out to be Obama’s “Katrina.”

This is not surprising because there are some similarities in the situations–for example, the slowness in rescuing and getting aid to the survivors–which reminds casual observers of the way New Orleanians had to wait a week for food, water and rescue after her levees failed. Also, these catastrophes are manmade–Haiti’s because of shoddily-constructed buildings, New Orleans’ because of poorly-built and maintained levees–both of which had been disasters waiting to happen.

Jan 13

“Big Easy to Big Empty”

by Greg Palast is a documentary that must be seen if one is to understand what’s going on in New Orleans after Katrina and the Federal Flood. Palast’s tough, gutsy journalism reminds me of what “60 Minutes” was, back in the day when that program had cojones. Palast, investigating what really happened in New Orleans on 8/29/2005, interviews then-LSU professor Ivor Van Heerden. Van Heerden says speaking to Palast could endanger his job due to the political connections of higher-ups–and we all know what happened to Van Heerden.

Palast also interviews flood victims discouraged in one way or another from returning home and the nefarious machinations behind attempts to discourage their return.

Here, then is “Big Easy to Big Empty.”

Jan 09

Never forget, never forgive

Nearly four and a half years ago this nation experienced the two worst disasters of this past decade: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans’ federal flood. Today many consider them old news, if not history, but they still are present in the lives of those who survived them.

Oct 15

Obama’s “Tinkle-Stop Tour” of NOLA

Today Obama will be making an extremely short stop in New Orleans. Or what my favorite NOLA blogger calls a “tinkle-stop tour.” In New Orleans, he’ll be visiting a charter school and participating in a town hall meeting in the Lower 9th Ward.

(In contrast, his next stop will be San Francisco, where he’ll be spending four times as much time–16 hours. This has caused Harry Shearer to say,

Total elapsed time in SF: sixteen hours.  They must have experienced a hell of a federal disaster there.  Four times worse, you figure?

Sep 28

Katrina Shorthand vs. the Federal Flood: Why This Matters

Often when people including those in government and the mainstream media who should know better refer to the events of 8/29, it is merely as “Katrina” or “Hurricane Katrina”.

There were actually two catastrophes that happened that day: the storm, which passed to the east of New Orleans, devastating the Mississippi and eastern Louisiana Gulf Coasts, which was a NATURAL disaster, and the falling apart of New Orleans’ federally-built and maintained levees, which was a MANMADE disaster due to poor engineering.

While the use of Katrina as shorthand to cover the two events is easy (I’ve even done that at times) it’s misleading because of the implication that the flooding of New Orleans was a natural disaster. And this matters–more below the fold.

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