Tuesday, August 29, 2006

People Get Ready: New Orleans, 1 A.K.

From today's post, "New Orleans, 1 A.K.," on a blog by "Schroeder" called People Get Ready ([make levees, not war]):
The alarm on the cell phone I never had before Hurricane Katrina went off this morning at 5:15. There are so many things that are going through my head today, I don't even know where to go with this. Every time I touch that phone, I'm reminded that it's an artifact of Hurricane Katrina -- of the need to communicate with people in new ways from the diaspora. A lot of us carry around Katrina phones, but that's a petty observation.

So many things were different then. I was married and had a house note. Today, I'm divorced and I'm a renter again. [...]
Schroeder's blog comes with a long, long blogroll of Katrina blogs and forums, GIS and maps, photos, activist groups, and more. It's a superb go-to resource for anyone following Katrina's aftermath. More from the "1 A.K." post:
Today, writing this post from C.C.'s on Magazine Street, I'm grateful for many things. I'm grateful that I have a job. I'm grateful for new friends -- many of whom are local bloggers. I'm grateful that hundreds of people are pouring into the coffee shop talking about mundane things. Many more like me are reflective. But this is still not the norm.

The norm for most New Orleanians -- for well over 200,000 of us -- is what Ms. Regina is going through. [...]

(very nice photo of her)

Ms. Regina and Ms. Sandra drove down from Michigan, where they've been displaced for the past year, to deal with their mother's house. No one had stepped into the house since it was flooded to the roof last year. Neither Ms. Regina nor Ms. Sandra had driven such a distance before, and they had to rent a car to do it. They were forced to make the trip because the City Council voted to require all property owners to gut their houses within a year of Hurricane Katrina, and to make the property look decent, or the city would condemn the lot and confiscate the property. Both are in their 60's. Their mother is in her 80's. And they're still thinking about rebuilding the house. What else could they do? This is their home. This is their neighborhood. All of their family and friends have lived in the same neighborhood for years -- for generations. [...]

So much more is needed -- still. Groups like the Arabi Wrecking Krewe, which helped Ms. Regina and Ms. Sandra, continue trying to help residents put their lives back together in what may very well go down in history as the most incompetent recovery in the history of the United States. [...]

Ms. Regina called yesterday from City Hall, frustrated with the red tape that forced her to drive down to New Orleans, and asked if I knew anyone who could clear the vegetation growing around the house. She was in a hurry to get out of New Orleans, but was getting quotes from lawn services in the hundreds of dollars. I told her not to worry about it -- that if I had to do it myself, I would take care of it. She started sobbing.
riggsveda, the next part is for you:
It's vitally important to recognize the contributions of the thousands of volunteers who have donated resources and volunteered to come down here to help people salvage their lives.

Thank you. You are the most important part of this recovery, not just for what you do to physically rehabilitate the city, but for the quiet inspiration that your efforts represent to people who are losing hope.
And this is for the rest of us:
There's so much more to do. Please, if you read this, commit yourself to visiting New Orleans in the next year to do volunteer work, and be a part of the rebuilding of lives that are the heart and soul of this unique city.
Via "The Katrinacrat", a story in its own right.


Post a Comment

<< Home