In case you missed it, Ken Foster has written another article for Salon. This one does a pretty good job of summing up how many New Orleanians–or at least Ken and I–feel about the media and the stories they want us to feed them.
I gotta say this is a very well written piece. And I do have a sincere love for conspiracy theories. There certainly is some truth in the story, but I can’t say I agree with it. Still, it’s worth reading; especially since we don’t get much of this perspective on MB though I often think we should. If you disagree with it, don’t fool yourself into thinking that it isn’t a very popular perspective here in the city. I can assure you – it is.
An open letter to America:
Good afternoon my fellow Americans. Everyone here in New Orleans wanted to thank you for paying attention to us yesterday. We really do appreciate this country taking time out to say hello on the 2nd anniversary of the thing.
To all the mass media that took time away from covering the latest Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton exploits, thanks for stopping by! It was nice to see you for a change. It’s been what a year or even two for some of you so again, thanks for passing through.
To our wonderful fantastic leaders in Washington D.C., thanks for taking time away from sending taxpayer dollars to either your cronies or to some far away land that needs a windmill. We know how busy you all are, either shooting things in Texas or trying to move a moron from one disaster (see Homeland Security) to another (see Attorney General).
Thanks for giving us that wonderful news President Bush. Even though you made a decision to not speak with anyone who lives here, except for other losers like yourself (meaning politicos), we thank you for noticing that things here are so much better. I know that view from a schoolyard is a really good way to understand what folks here are going through.
Once again, we cannot express how grateful we are for everyone paying attention for a day. It has really made everyone feel safer and just gives us a tingling feeling.
Don’t forget to mark your calendar for August 29th 2008. We know we probably won’t see you until then but I’m sure we’ll still be here, waiting for your yearly drop-in.
A question occurred to me a couple of years ago that I’d put behind me. I remembered it yesterday during the day-long extravaganza of bullshit that this city became. How long would it take for New Orleans to just disappear if we were all to leave? I mean gone. The more I think about it though, I was really imagining everything south of I-12 and east of the Baton Rouge/Morgan City line. It’s a morbid question, I know. But I kinda feel like we’re all fighting the city’s desire to be left alone. On some level, though it makes me sound like more of a liberal, hippie, tree-hugger than I am, I feel the whole planet is like that. I guess since the storm I’ve become more aware of our interactions with the planet and how something is amiss. Or maybe it’s just easier for me to look at Katrina as being the earth’s immune system attacking a particularly sickly part. Cancer alley. Drilling platforms, refineries, destruction of wetlands, elimination of sedimentary deposits all along the delta…I just can’t see where we, as human beings, are doing anyone any favors by being here. Even we suffer for our impact you could say….obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hyper tension, heart disease in general, various cancers…
Anyway, I’ve always figured the earth would get rid of us when it had had enough of our shit. I guess I just didn’t think it would be during my lifetime.
While looking around for more information on how long the earth would take to rebound from humans living here I discovered this interesting little site that some of you may already be aware of.
By the way, from what I can tell, the answer to the question is around 300 years. Ironically, that’s about as long as New Orleans* has been here. Kinda puts us at the half way mark in some ways.
**…as a city as we sort of understand it so don’t be an ass and go off on me about some fucking mound building Indians because that’s not what I’m talking about and you know it.
…note this line from the blog of NBC’s Brian Williams this evening. Of course, you know, he’s a well-known Lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllliberal (insert eye-roll icon here)…
“….A senior administration official, travelling with President Bush, just told me by phone that the president was pleased with the feedback he received during his visit here. (Mr. Bush spent the night here last night before two events here today, and then took a dicey helicopter ride through boisterous, stormy skies to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi). The official said the feedback was “99 percent positive,” with very little talk of the problems of the past — FEMA complaints, etc…”
Well, two years have gone by. I think most residents have learned to cope with the slow pace of recovery and the persisting swaths of destruction and the inconveniences this brings. I know I am far more concerned about the crime, the increasing cost of living, and the general air of uncertainty that we are faced with. But too much has been said about all of these things already, so screw it. I think it’s more important to look at small metrics of progress, and so here is the report from my block.. Block meaning both sides of my street on the block that I live. The flood waters peaked at about 6-7 feet from street level here, making it deep enough to screw most everything up, but we weren’t as hard hit as neighborhoods closer to the lake and of course most of St. Bernard and the Lower 9th Ward, which had over 10 feet in many places.
So, as of now, there are six houses with people living in them. That’s three doubles and three singles, mine included. There are two houses undergoing a slow rebuilding process. There are four houses that have been gutted and are laying vacant. At least one of these four is supposedly slated for demolition, with no set timeline. There is one vacant lot where a double was demolished this winter. Perhaps most strangely, there are two houses which did not receive flood waters, yet are uninhabited.
So out of a total of fifteen houses pre-K, there are six that have folks in them. That’s 40%. And this is supposedly one of the flooded areas that’s come the farthest in its recovery. So that’s where we’re at. I don’t really know what else you can draw from it.
At least we’ve got the best neighborhood bar in the city on the next block. And the best neighboorhood restaurant is 5 blocks down.
Obviously, there’s a lot going on here today–a lot of visits, a lot of tours, a lot of speeches, protests, news reports. I thought I’d become immune to most of the grandstanding, the spinning, the misinformation, but then I came across this article in today’s New York Times, and well…. Well, there’s so much going on here, I just couldn’t help myself. So maybe it’s sophomoric, and maybe it’s just my general state of bitterness, but here’s my version of the story, edited for New Orleans’ readers.
President Bush toured New Orleans today, delivering a message of hope to a city devastated by wind and flood two years ago and still divided over the speed and effectiveness of federal help. If by “divided” you mean “in agreement” and by “speed and effectiveness” you mean “lack of”. Not that state officials have been any better–and local officials may have been worse. Much worse.
Mr. Bush led a moment of silence (a welcome relief for his beleaguered speech writers) at a school, asking for “the Almighty’s blessings on those who suffered,”(which, when paired with $1.25, would ordinarily get him on New Orleans’ minimally functioning streetcar, if only his entourage hadn’t shut it down for today) then envisioned “a more blessed day” just ahead, thereby offering definitive proof that our president is really a Jehovah’s Witness. “And there’s no better place to do so than in a place of hope, and that’s a school,” he said. “So long as that school isn’t one that I’ve saddled with the No Child Left Behind Act and its ass-backwards measurements of accountability,” he added. “That’s what Cheney calls ironical. I just think it’s damn funny.”
A foundation for a building or structure has been poured on Perdido Street by the interstate, nestled between the old VA Medical Center and the Delgado Community College School of Nursing building. Does anyone know what it is going to be? I have been avoiding the local media a bit lately and I can’t bring myself to look at NOLA.com today, so my apologies if this is some major construction that I should already be aware of.
It’s that day again. Yeah it is a Wednesday this time. Year number 2. I wonder if it will feel different somehow when it falls on a Monday. Let’s hope I’m here to find out.
It’s a question I think most American’s ask or want to ask any New Orleanian. Why are ya’ll still there? I get it from friends, former co-workers, hell even people that live here ask me “the question”. It’s different for everyone. Here’s one dude’s reasons.
“Everything’s falling, and I am included in that
Oh, how I try to be just okay”*
I’ve been thinking for a few days about what to write for the 2nd anniversary – a classic longass post in my usual style. Hasn’t really worked out. Then last night I was watching television and cleaning up around the ol’ FEMA trailer. Nova was showing a rerun of an hour by hour time line of events surrounding Katrina. Surfing around I found a few other shows with some relevance to Hurricane Katrina. That’s when I realized we’re in syndication or sorts. Not really syndication but I couldn’t think of a better word for it. It’s like when a famous actor dies and that weekend stations play whatever movies that actor was in that they hold the rights to. You’ll see they’re biggest hit, if it was recent, playing on TBS in a loop for 48 hours. You’ll see they’re early work on TCM. An encore presentation of Inside the Actor’s Studio on A&E if one was ever filmed. You see what I’m getting at…
Still, things are a little different. We’re also now Bill Clinton’s Saxophone. We’re a political prop – a vote getting gimmick – a podium from which to spew rhetoric.
Those are my complete thoughts on this whole thing. There’s nothing more.
*Rachael Yamagata – “be be your love”