Friday, September 02, 2005
OK-- This post will be brief. First, thanks for the phone calls. Apparently, the nice people at Sprint are not so ready to handle this mess. My cell phone has been useless for the past two days. It actually got worse a day or two after the storm. I haven't been able to retrieve my voicemail since Wednesday. But some of you managed to reach me at the motel. Which leads to the second thing, Tonya sagely suggested we get a post office box. We have. The address is P.O. Box 987, Port Allen, LA, 70767. Great idea. ........OK. So everybody is fighting about why the response has been so underwhelming and whether race and/or class plays a part. I do think there is a lot that needs be investigated about this 'response effort.' Somes of the comments have been particularly cruel, suggesting that people who didn't evacuate somehow deserve their fate. I will take some time and write more about that later. What I don't understand is why efforts are not being taken to control the flooding at the Tennessee Street breach in the levee system. The 17th Street breach they keep mentioning on the news and taking such care with, empties into a part of town that is largely populated by whites and is full of commercial interests. The Tennessee Street breach is the one that as most likely devasted my grandmother's neighborhood and perhaps added to flooding in the suburb where I live New Orleans East. The lower ninth ward is predominantly poor and lower working class African Americans and it gives way to a suburb--Chalmette-- of poor and lower working class whites. I had just finished reading Rising Tide by John Barry about the 1927 Mississippi River flood. Apparently that part of town has been sacrificed before. As for New Orleans East, I have long complained of the consumer racism in the city. Our suburb is shockingly underdeveloped. A shopping mall has wanted for tenants and capable developers for nearly a decade. Despite the presence of a stable middle-class population, commercial interests have not seen fit to attend to our area in the way they have Metairie, Jefferson, Kenner and the western end of the municipality. But I'm sure there are sound engineering reasons why the 17th Street breach is being attended to and not the other...Perhaps someone will tell me what they are. Next time I will tell you all about the life of a Katrina victim...I've registered with FEMA and for food stamps. Next week, I'll file for unemployment and who knows what else...This is definitely a new ball game.