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More Katrina

// September 8th, 2005 // No Comments » // News

Here is a very worrying account by two paramedics that were in New Orleans attending a conference when the hurricane struck.

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions… We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept, and racist.

One Bar In New Orleans Still Open!

// September 6th, 2005 // 61 Comments » // News

Wynton Marsalis was on CNN last night, playing “St. James Infirmary” over pictures of the Katrina disaster, and it got me quite emotional. The scale of the human tragedy and the sadness of that beautiful city with such a vibrant culture is really overwhelming. Salon has some great articles:

Johnny White’s, located on the corner of Bourbon and Orleans, is still open and serving drinks. “We never closed,” the bartender tells me. It’s the only bar open in the city. They serve warm beer and shots. As it gets darker, they light candles on the countertops.
A city in ruins – Stephen Elliott

I can’t believe what he’s saying. These people were lying in shit two days ago. We passed hundreds of empty buses on the way to the airport. How could a well-staffed, clean, secure, working shelter with 150 open beds in Louisiana sit half full for two days while people are being turned away at the Astrodome in Houston and bussed to Utah?
Gimme shelter – Stephen Elliott

The continuing news coverage of the catastrophe remains rightly focused on the refugees. However, the rest of the city’s population, the evacuees, remain too scattered throughout the South to have a coherent voice in the media. While the New Orleans we know may be gone, I believe the city’s many evacuees will find a sense of righteous indignation over this natural assault, and with that anger will come a determination to replace the city they once knew with something just as unique and magical.
My New Orleans – Christopher Rice

Given that our government, the richest in the world, has failed to provide the basic tools for its citizens for generations, we should not now be surprised that the poor and stranded in New Orleans have no reasonable expectation that the government will do anything to serve them and have taken things into their own hands. Perhaps if the government had made adequate investment in our citizens and our city’s infrastructure in the first place, we could have avoided this mess.
Dreams unrealized – Billy Sothern

In some good news, it appears that the French Quarter and waterfront are by and large dry. Preservation Hall and Cafe du Monde are still standing, as is St. Charles Avenue. Fire is now the greatest risk.

Katrina and the Waves

// September 1st, 2005 // 52 Comments » // News

I am sad as I visited New Orleans a few years ago and it was a beautiful, astounding, atmospheric city and one of my favourite places in the USA. Not to mention its lovely people. Incredible that it is now 80% under water. It struck me as quite an impoverished city in certain areas and the looting is pretty much inevitable. Thank god they did evacuate the city though or it really would have been tsunami level of deaths. Will New Orleans ever recover though?

I hope Anne Rice is okay.


// August 14th, 2001 // 7 Comments » // News

More on the crisis enveloping Australian banks and conveyancing – seeming more and more appropriate.