Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours XXVIa

Today I heard on WWOZ internet broadcast that Mid-City Rock N Bowl will be reopening this Thursday night. For those who don't know, Rock N Bowl is one of those amazing local sites that tourists rarely see -- a bowling alley with live music, local food, and a dance floor. It's in Mid-City, which was completely flooded. It's on the second floor of an old strip mall, which is why it could reopen so soon. The fact that it's reopening is a great sign in an otherwise devastated neighborhood.

1) Here are a series of photos of the Lower 9th Ward, taken by my brother. That's one massive cleanup:

2) New Orleans needs a Category 5 declaration, pronto!:

Category 5Sunday, November 06, 2005

Greater New Orleans needs a levee system capable ofwithstanding a Category 5 hurricane. Our homes, ourjobs and our lives are at risk, and so are theeconomic interests of an entire nation.

Now that the floodwaters have receded and anightmarish hurricane season is ending, the metro areais out of imminent danger. But our efforts to recoverfrom Hurricane Katrina are caught in limbo. Owners offlooded houses can tear out carpets and pick throughmementos, but can they rebuild? Should they raisetheir homes on pilings? If so, how high?

The answers to these questions and many others willdepend on the strength of the levees protecting us.Which neighborhoods will remain viable? Will floodinsurance be offered at a decent price? Morefundamentally, how many people will feel safe enoughto resume their lives here? For residents who wererescued from their attics, for business owners whoseemployees and customers fled in the face of advancingfloodwaters, for people who have been cut off fromloved ones for weeks or months, peace of mind dependson the levees, too.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,President Bush vowed to "make the flood protectionsystem stronger than it has ever been." But sincethen, the White House has been conspicuously silentabout how strong that might be. If the president andCongress withhold their support for a Category 5system, they will cripple this metro area for good.
. . . . . . .

The present levee system was designed to stand up to aCategory 3 hurricane. But three storms reachedCategory 5 in the Gulf of Mexico this year. HadKatrina tracked slightly to the west, and had thestorm not weakened somewhat as it approached theshore, the effect on the New Orleans area would havebeen even more catastrophic.

As it was, Katrina laid bare the weaknesses in thecurrent levee system. Whipped up by the storm, theGulf of Mexico surged across coastal marshes and intoLake Pontchartrain, rushed over earthen bermsprotecting St. Bernard Parish and pressed hard againstthe floodwalls along canals in New Orleans. When thosewalls gave way, water rushed out in a torrent. In someplaces, homes broke loose from their foundations. Inother neighborhoods, the inundation was a slowtorture; water crept down streets and bubbled upthrough storm drains and cracks in the pavement. Morethan 1,000 of our neighbors, friends and relativesdied.
But despite the outpouring of sympathy for Katrina'svictims, few members of Congress seem to understandwhy our levee system is their problem.

Here's why it is: The federal government has longtaken responsibility for building flood-controlstructures along the vital Mississippi River. Indeed,the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed the currentlevee system.
The levees along the Mississippi have a significantdownside. Because they have cut off the flow ofsediment from the river, they contribute to thedeterioration of coastal marshland that used to shieldmetro New Orleans from hurricanes. (Energy explorationin Louisiana has benefited the entire nation butexacerbated the erosion problem.) To make mattersworse, during Katrina's onslaught some parts of themetro area's levee system, including the 17th Streetand London Avenue canals, appear to have failed underconditions they should have withstood.
. . . . . . .

Building a Category 5 levee system for SoutheastLouisiana will be an enormous undertaking, bothfinancially and as an engineering project, but it canbe broken into segments.

The highest priority should be the segment that wouldprotect the most people: a barrier extending from theMississippi River in St. Bernard Parish across themouth of Lake Pontchartrain and over to the PearlRiver basin near the Mississippi state line. The seagates into the lake would remain open most of thetime, to minimize disruptions to the environment, butcould be slammed shut when hurricanes approach. Thecost of this segment, perhaps $4 billion, is hardlypocket change -- but it's much less than the amount ofdamage Katrina caused.

A federal commitment to a stronger, smarter leveesystem wouldn't relieve Louisiana of the obligation tohelp itself. The state will have to pinch pennies topay for more coastal restoration projects -- even ifCongress starts pitching in more money -- becauseletting more marshland give way to warm, open waterisn't an acceptable option. Also, Louisianians shouldbe ready to abandon the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet,a waterway that offers conveniences to some businessesbut greatly increases the danger of flooding.

And Louisiana's elected leaders will have to agree totreat flood protection as a key public interest,instead of using seats on levee boards as a prestigeposting for second-tier cronies. Gov. Kathleen Blancohas already floated the idea of consolidating thearea's numerous levee boards into a statewide agency.In truth, the hydrology of metro New Orleans isdifferent from that of, say, Lake Charles, and puttingboth under the control of a new state agency makes nosense. But a regional levee board for SoutheastLouisiana would.
. . . . . . .

The New Orleans area is a national treasure, and thepossibility of future Katrinas represents a gravethreat to its survival. Now that the cameras are offand tearful evacuees are no longer begging for help ontheir knees in the street, it's easy for PresidentBush and members of Congress to forget theircommitments to help us rebuild.

But the need for a Category 5 flood-protection systemis urgent. In this stricken region, the danger offlooding will never be yesterday's news.

3) I couldn't agree with this writer more:

Feds are treating Louisiana like enemy
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Bob Marshall

After Hurricane Katrina whacked New Orleans it wasfashionable for commentators to compare our losses tothe devastation wrought by the 9/11 atrocity.Initially, I didn't like the analogy. Sept. 11 was anattack by a human enemy; Aug. 29 was a shot fromnature. But lately I'm finding myself warming to thatassociation, because I'm beginning to hear a hauntingquestion made famous after 9/11: Why do they hate us?
This time it isn't directed at residents of anotherland. It's aimed at Congress and the White House.

How else should a coastal Louisiana resident feelafter last week's news that President Bush has askedCongress to spend $250 million on the state'sdesperately needed coastal restoration projects.Sounds like a big check, unless you know we need $14billion to do the job. Bush knows. And unless he wassleeping on all those tours of the disaster zone, healso knows what's happened to our coastal wetlands andwhy they're important to protecting this city andregion from future storms.

No one would ever accuse this president of being anenvironmentalist, but he's certainly made it clear hecares about security. So maybe he'll review testimonygiven the Senate Homeland Security Committee lastWednesday in a hearing concerning the lack of securityprovided by the city's hurricane protection system. Ifhe does, he'll notice Ivor van Heerden, director ofthe LSU Hurricane Center, giving this answer to aquestion about the role wetlands play in stormprotection:

"It we had the wetlands today we had 100 years ago,the surge would have been dramatically less."
Van Heerden goes on to explain that the marsh andswamps that once blanketed our coast provided enoughfriction to seriously -- and rapidly -- dampen thepower of a hurricane's two main threats: tidal surgeand wind. Van Heerden used Hurricane Andrew -- aCategory 3 storm as it came ashore at the mouth of theAtchafalaya Basin -- as a prime example.

"Andrew made landfall in Louisiana in 1992, and itspath came up the central part of the coast where thereare still extremely healthy wetlands (marshes andswamps) and two emerging deltas. The surge at MorganCity -- just 20 miles inland -- was only seven feet.In terms of wind velocity, between the coast andMorgan City (Andrew) lost 50 percent of its energy.That's an example of how valuable wetlands are inreducing hurricane impacts from wind and surge."

That storm-killing potential has been lost for theportion of our coast surrounding New Orleans. Wetlandsthat once formed a 50-mile-wide security blanketbetween the city and the Gulf were sacrificed to along series of decisions their supporters claimed werein the national interest: levees to protect cities andagriculture from rivers; dredging to prevent deltasfrom being built; 30,000 miles of canals dug forenergy exploration and shipping.

And last week the U.S. Geological Survey announcedKatrina took another 100 square miles of our coastalwetlands.

None of this should have been news to those senatorsor to a president who claims to care about keepingAmericans safe. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,under the ultimate command of the president, spentmost of a decade helping Louisiana create a plan torestore those eroding wetlands. But when the commanderin chief and the Congress were told it would cost $14billion, Louisiana was told the nation couldn't affordthe price.

That was before Katrina, at $200 billion (andcounting), the costliest natural disaster in thenation's history. In the weeks after the full impactswere known, Louisiana, using corps data, askedCongress and the president to approve a Category 5hurricane protection system that could cost roughly$31 billion -- $17 billion for levees and floodgates,$14 billion for the coastal restoration plan.

They were optimistic the plan finally would receive apositive hearing. After all, Katrina had provided thecost-benefit analysis.

"We told them for years what a bargain this would be,"said Sidney Coffee, Gov. Kathleen Blanco's executiveassistant for coastal activities. "Now I think theycan see our plans were pretty darn cost-effectivecompared to what the costs are now."

So far they haven't. Congressmen have been critical,even insulting, about Louisiana's needs for protectionand restoration. Last Wednesday, the president piledon.

The best summation may have come from King Milling,the banker who also chairs the governor's
advisorycommission on the coast, when he told The AssociatedPress:

"I think it is grossly inadequate and reflects a lackof appreciation of the issues that we are facing inthis part of the country.

"Worst of all, if they do understand them (the facts),then it may be that they may have written us off."
Which brings me back to that 9/11 question.
. . . . . . .

Bob Marshall can be reached at or (504) 826-3539.

4) For those interested in FEMA's Katrina response, here are the emails released by US Representative Melancon concerning Michael Brown. Melancon represents the district that was most completely devastated by the storm (St. Bernard to the coast), and his constituents are in no mood to forgive FEMA:

5) There's some buzz about possibly holding the 2008 Democratic convention in New Orleans. I tried to stoke that buzz a bit myself with the following message to Daily Kos' discussion board a couple of days ago:
As a native New Orleanian and a reader of Dailykossince 2003, I beg all of you to push for a New Orleansconvention in 2008. The infrastructure will be readyby then (the hotels suffered minimal damage, theairport is already back to normal, the showcaseneighborhoods are already returning to normal, and theSuperdome can be ready for normal operations byOctober 2006), and the city will desperately need toshowcase its return to prime time in conventionhosting. That's why New Orleans needs to host theDems.

Why should the Dems choose NO? First of all, there isno better domestic location to showcase Bush'sfailures. Secondly, if the Republican-controlledCongress ends up declining to rebuild New Orleans(which is appearing more likely by the week), then theDems have a chance to pick up both Louisiana andpossibly Mississippi simply by announcing a promise tomake NO capable of withstanding a Cat 5 storm andsupport for a comprehensive coastal restorationinitiative (total cost: ca. 20 billion USD). Whenasked where the money should come from, simply ask whywe're spending more on Persian Gulf warfare than onGulf Coast reconstruction. Finally, if such aconvention is remembered as a milestone on the path toreconstruction, then Louisiana might revert back to asolid Dem state well into the future.

6) Here's an article about the buzz -- anything readers can do to push this buzz into reality is appreciated. For that matter, anything any reader can do to get their associations to land a convention in New Orleans after January 2007 is welcome:

Some Demos touting N.O. for 2008
Convention idea tied to renewal drive
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
By Bruce Alpert
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON -- A Maryland congressman is urging hisfellow Democrats to hold the party's 2008 presidentialnominating convention in New Orleans as a signal ofnational support for the city after its devastatinglosses from Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., made the suggestion afterparty officials announced that their 2008 conventionwill be held Aug. 25-28. Declaring New Orleans as thehost city for the party's national convention,Cummings said, would demonstrate to its residents thatthe city "has not been forgotten."
It would be reminiscent of when Republicans held their2004 party convention in New York City to show supportfor the area after the 2001 terrorist attacks killedmore than 2,600 people at the destroyed World TradeCenter.

The decision on a convention site will be made byDemocratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean andparty leaders, after reviewing bids from a dozen or socities with sufficient convention and hotelfacilities. The process will begin in January when theparty asks for bids. The choice will be announcedsometime after the 2006 midterm elections.

Democratic members of the Louisiana delegationimmediately embraced the idea, although partyofficials were noncommittal and no mention was madethat the convention is scheduled for the heart of thehurricane season and would end one day before theanniversary of the date that Hurricane Katrina madelandfall.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. William Jefferson,D-New Orleans, liked the idea.

"That would be wonderful," Jefferson said. "It wouldkeep the rebuilding effort in the Gulf center stagefor all Americans."

Landrieu called it "a fantastic idea. Hosting the 2008National Convention in New Orleans would demonstrateto the nation that despite unprecedented tragedy, theCrescent City's spirit remains strong. It is thatspirit of Southern hospitality and national pride forwhich we're still remembered after hosting the 1988Republican convention."

The Democrats aren't the only ones looking at theCrescent City.

Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, said he has alreadysuggested to Republican National Committee ChairmanKen Mehlman that the party hold its 2008 convention inNew Orleans.

"I think it would be a great signal that the city ofNew Orleans is open and ready for business," Jindalsaid. It would be fantastic if the city could hostboth major party conventions, he said.

While New Orleans succeeded in getting the 1988 GOPconvention, which nominated George H.W. Bush and DanQuayle, the city has had no luck in attracting theDemocrats. One reason recently has been that theparty, with its close ties to organized labor, prefersmore hotels with union contracts than New Orleans canoffer.
Josh Earnest, a spokesman for Dean, said the partywould welcome a bid from New Orleans. "It is fair tosay that Governor Dean will be considering bids from anumber of American cities and he'd be pleased toconsider a bid from a revitalized and rebuilt NewOrleans," Earnest said.
. . . . . . .

Bruce Alpert can be reached at or (202) 383-7861.

7) Here's another article by Jordan Flaherty, on post-Katrina NO. Note the extra internet sources at the end of his posting:

Changing New Orleans
by Jordan Flaherty
November 4, 2005

Its bittersweet being back in New Orleans. Although the architecture is the same, and its a relief to walk the streets and reunite with old friends, already this is a very different city from the one I love. Its a city where some areas are quickly rebuilding and other parts are being left far behind. A city where people who have lived here for generations are now unwelcome in a hundred different ways.

White New Orleans is steadily coming back, and Black New Orleans is moving out. A grassroots organizer with New Orleans Network tells me she has been speaking to people in every moving truck she sees. She reports that in every case, “they’re Black, they are renters, they’re moving out of New Orleans, and they say they would stay, if they had a choice.”

Inequality continues through the cleanup of New Orleans. Some areas have electricity, gas, and clean streets, and some areas are untouched. Medical volunteer Catherine Jones reports that driving the streets of New Orleans at night, “ I felt like I was in the middle of a checkerboard. The Quarter lit up like Disneyworld; poor black neighborhoods a few blocks over so dark I couldn't even see the street in front of me.”

The Washington Post reports that although both the overwhelmingly White Lakeview neighborhood and Black Ninth Ward neighborhood were devastated by flooding, “It now appears that long-standing neighborhood differences in income and opportunity...are shaping the stalled repopulation of this mostly empty city.”
While Lower Ninth Ward residents are still being kept from returning to their homes, “Lakeview, where 66 percent of children go to private school and 49 percent of residents have a college degree, was pumped dry within three weeks of the storm. Memphis Street (in Lakeview) smells now of bleach, which kills mold, and resounds to the thwack of crowbars and the whine of chain saws. Insurance adjusters have begun making rounds.”

A similar story is unfolding in South Florida, where the Miami Workers Center reports, “Close to 24 hours after Wilma struck, power returned to Miami's affluent and tourist districts such as South Beach, Downtown and the Brickell Financial District. In the past week, power has returned to most suburban communities. But power has been slowest returning to black, latino, and immigrant poor urban neighborhoods. Many of the 400,000 still in the dark have been told not to expect power until as late as November 22nd.”

Miami Workers center volunteer Terry Marshall reports, “this experience is showing...that it’s not a question of where the hurricane hits. It’s a question of where the resources are missed.”

New Orleans was, as more than one former resident has said, the African city in North America. It is a city steeped in a culture that is specifically African American - from Jazz to blues to bounce. It is the number one African American tourist destination in the US. The Bayou Classic and Essence Festival, two vital Black community events, bring tens of thousands of Black tourists to the city every year. Walking around town, its hard to imagine these tourists coming back to the new New Orleans - a city was once 70% Black and now feels unwelcome and hostile - or at least uncaring - to its own past.

Last Wednesday alone, 335 evictions were filed in New Orleans courts - the amount normally filed in a month. There have been countless reports of landlords throwing tenant’s property out on the street without any notice. New Orleans human rights lawyer Bill Quigley reports that “Fully armed National Guard troops refuse to allow over ten thousand people to even physically visit their property in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. Despite the fact that people cannot come back, tens of thousands of people face eviction from their homes. A local judge told me that their court expects to process a thousand evictions a day for weeks.
Renters still in shelters or temporary homes across the country will never see the court notice taped to the door of their home. Because they will not show up for the eviction hearing that they do not know about, their possessions will be tossed out in the street. In the street their possessions will sit alongside an estimated 3 million truck loads of downed trees, piles of mud, fiberglass insulation, crushed sheetrock, abandoned cars, spoiled mattresses, wet rugs, and horrifyingly smelly refrigerators full of food from August.”

A recent poll from Gallup reports that, even adjusting for differences in income, White and Black New Orleanians have had deeply different experiences of this disaster. Blacks were more likely to fear for their lives (63% vs. 39%), to have been separated from family members for at least a day (55% vs. 45%), gone without food for at least a day (53% vs. 24%) and spent at least one night in an emergency shelter (34% vs. 13%).

The New York Times and other papers have reprinted former FEMA director Michael Brown’s emails from the time when our city was being flooded - stunning evidence of how little the agency cared about what was happening in New Orleans. “If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god,” reads a typical email from the day after the hurricane hit. Other emails showed Brown and his staffers to be more concerned with his dinner reservations in Baton Rouge and a dog sitter for his house than with anything happening in New Orleans.

The demographics of New Orleans have changed in gender as well as race. The thousands of contractors and laborers that have arrived from across the country - in addition to National Guard, police agencies, security guards, and other workers - are overwhelmingly male. Because most schools are closed, there are few kids below 17 or their families. Women I know who have returned report feeling uncomfortable and unsafe.

A large Latino immigrant population has come to work in the city’s reconstruction. These workers have been demonized by everyone from Mayor Nagin to local talk radio. Grassroots medical volunteers report that some of the workers are forbidden by their employers from talking to anyone or even leaving their rooms at night. They are working in hazardous conditions, for low pay and little safety protection - already many have become ill, and they have no access to medical care, and face a hostile city.

There are still thousands of New Orleans residents who have not been convicted of any crime trapped in maximum security prisons and “no one in a position of power finds this pressing,” says Ursula Price, a staff researcher with A Fighting Chance, an indigent defense group. She estimates at least 2000 prisoners from Orleans Parish Prison remain in Angola, the notorious former slave plantation in rural Louisiana. These are people who were picked up for “misdemeanor offenses such as public drunkenness, traffic violations, soliciting a prostitute,” Price says. If convicted, at most they would have served less time than they have been in for. But, in Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish, courts have been closed for most of this time, and public defenders have been laid off. “The system is not working with us,” Price tells me. “I don't understand why prosecutors are in there arguing against release of someone on a misdemeanor charge. We have women who have had miscarriages, mental heath problems, physical health problems, and no one in power seems to care.” The total population of Orleans Parish Prison at the time of hurricane Katrina was at least 7,000 people. In a city of just 500,000, that's a significant population.

The people of New Orleans are not just physically displaced, but also disenfranchised from their city in other ways. According to the Wall Street Journal, when FEMA officials were asked by Louisiana state officials for access to the FEMA database so that they could inform New Orleans evacuees about their right to vote in upcoming municipal elections, the response was a terse email - “(FEMA) will not let you have a copy of the FEMA applicant list. Sorry!!!” What better way to let people know that the city is not theirs than to have an election to which they are not invited?

Many in New Orleans are struggling with an even more basic and vital concern - the recovery of their loved ones. Less than a quarter of the bodies so far reported discovered in New Orleans have been turned over to families. The rest are at the New Orleans coroners, currently relocated to St. Gabriel’s Parish. “Officials in coroner's offices in several parishes reported that they sought to keep their victims from going to St. Gabriel,” reports today's Times-Picayune, which describes one families long ordeal in recovering their mother’s body. Just one more area where people of New Orleans are left behind.

While this tragedy multiplies, while evictions mount and exploitation increases, the former residents of New Orleans have their choice of a dizzying array of forums, hearings, panels, tribunals, town halls, committees, subcommittees, commissions, meetings, marches and demonstrations, most of which are seeking the input of the people of new orleans.

In the space of two days last week, I went to a public meeting with a representative from the UN High Commission on extreme poverty. I went to a meeting of the housing subcommittee of the urban planning committee of the mayors blue ribbon commission on rebuilding New Orleans. I joined a rally at the State Capitol featuring Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, and various Government officials. At each event I saw hundreds of poor folks from New Orleans. I also met representatives of a community group for East New Orleans residents displaced to Baton Rouge - they report that 500 people come to their weekly meetings.

This Monday, I will march across the bridge from New Orleans to Gretna, to join in protests called by a wide array of national organizations against a crime Cynthia McKinney has said "might become the worst American civil rights episode of the 21st Century," the blockade by Gretna police of the only exit out of New Orleans for thousands of evacuees. I also plan to join the People's Assembly initiated by the People's Hurricane Fund on December 8-10.

There are many outlets for action, as well as plenty of anger and energy, but also a deep skepticism. The people of New Orleans have a justified distrust of the people and institutions who have arrived with promises and resources. Hundreds of well-meaning volunteers have come in to town, and many have done vital work, but in some cases this has increased tensions. “Some people have come here with this attitude, ‘we’re bringing organizing to New Orleans.’ They don’t seem interested in what was here before,” reports one community organizer.

These divisions are not only concentrated on the grassroots - disagreements within the mayor’s commission on rebuilding New Orleans have become increasingly public, with some representatives complaining to the New York Times of not being invited to private breakfasts between the mayor and other commission members.

"The truth is," said one longtime activist, "people have a lot of anger and grief, and they don't where to direct it." We are all tired, frustrated and sad, but the struggle for justice continues.
Jordan Flaherty is a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. This is his tenth article from New Orleans. You can contact Jordan at
Jordan’s previous articles from New Orleans are at =====================================
Based on conversations with organizers and community members, Left Turn Magazine has compiled a list of grassroots New Orleans organizations focused on relief, recovery, social justice and cultural preservation that need your support. The list is online at =====================================
A Fighting Chance needs donations and volunteers to help with their work providing defense for prisoners in New Orleans. If you have a phone line you can volunteer to help reunite family members from wherever you are located. Email

More info on the March to Gretna this Monday:

Other Resources for information and action:
Catherine Jones’ Blog from New Orleans is at:
Abram Himmelstein’s Blog from New Orleans is at:
United Houma Nation -
Saving Our Selves coalition -
Miami Workers Center -

8) Here's job information and an appeal posted by my blogger colleague, Paulette Swartzfager. It sounds grim. If you have any job news for educators, we're all ears:

Hello all

While I am lucky enough to have an undamaged house, some adjuncts have lost everything and are trying to support a family and pay a mortgage.

As many of you know, quite a few of the adjuncts from Loyola will be laid off or have already been laid off. The same is true throughout the Katrina Impact area--UNO, Tulane, Xavier, Dillard, etc. The Chronicle of Higher Ed forum and other such forums are providing a good source of panic, but not much else. I have set up a blog for Loyola Adjuncts to share job links, resources, helpful info, etc. Though we may all have serious issues with what is occurring throughout New Orleans, the really urgent need here is to get us all employed and taken care of.

I can't and won't reactivate APT (the Association for Part Timers) that I had lead years ago. Frankly, there may not be much any adjunct can do except expect fair payment through December (i.e. 1/2 the year long salary), and sufficient notice to be able to apply elsewhere and to apply for unemployment.

It would be really nice if Human Resources provided direct help in doing this and in filing for Cobra --extended health benefits--or as Orleans Parish Schools did-provide a reduced "catastrophic" health coverage for those who could not afford to continue Cobra coverage (where the insured has to pick up the university's cost of the health insurance in order to keep the coverage).

So, I have the following listed on my Loyola home page:

I have started a blog for us to send these messages to each other. You can post a comment anonymously (though I am moderating the comment blog to prevent self-destructive flaming). The blog is called Loyola Adjunct Help and can be found at

If you just want a list of good job links--

Thanks for any help you can provide to your colleagues.


9) Another article about NO by a UNO prof:

What Needs to Be Done in New Orleans Now
By Günter Bischof

Mr. Bischof is a professor of history and director ofCenterAustria at the University of New Orleans; in thewake of Katrina he is a guest professor of history atLouisiana State University in Baton Rouge during thefall term of 2005.

Thinking about New Orleans these days always producesambivalent feelings and a jumble of emotions. Someparts of town (Uptown, French Quarter) begin to looknormal even though a lot of businesses are stillclosed and people not back. Other parts continue tolook totally blighted ( Lakeside, Gentilly, 9th Ward)and one does not know when and whether they’ll evercome back. While you see a growing number of peopleback in town going about their business, one can readstories every day about those people who died in thedisaster. It is hard not to get heartsick when youread how a mother in Chalmette drowned in the surgewave with her arms around her quadriplegic son – a sonthat she had taken care of for 30 years after anaccident – because the ambulance service did notevacuate “special needs” as it was supposed to.Imagining their final hours is hard to contemplate andthere are thousands of stories like that, though somewho suffered similar abandonment survived.

Remember conspiracy theories after 9/11 (thegovernment bombed the twin towers)? Disasters ofKatrina's magnitude inevitably produce wild conspiracyhistory. Given the reality of the abandonment ofmostly poor black New Orleansians during the storm,conspiracy theories seem to find very fertile soilamong African Americans, including some of theirleaders. The Reverend Jesse Jackson seems to think NewOrleans does not want its African Americans back (andthere are actually white landlords that do make noisesin that direction). So he bussed a few hundred inhimself, only most of those he brought were apparentlyNOT from New Orleans but people looking for a job. TheReverend Louis Farrakan tops conspiracist thinkingwith the charge that the “U.S. military” was seen todrop charges to dynamite the levies and flood the cityand produce “mass murder” among citizens of NewOrleans. He puts the burden of proof on the federalgovernment that they were not mass murderers. Farrakaneven bests Oliver Stone when it comes to darkconspiracies of the “military industrial complex”against the American people.

Public finances are in shambles locally, regionallyand nationally. Mayor Nagin told the City Council thatthe city has money to pay the (much reduced) workforceuntil March 2006. The State of Louisiana has budgetshortfalls of 1.5 billion dollars and probably more.Health care and higher education are not protected bythe state constitution. So guess where the cuts willbe coming first? The President in Washington isfinally releasing 17 billion of the 60+ billionearmarked by Congress for post-Katrina relief butmainly to rebuild federal facilities and roads – stillno talk about bailing out the hard-struck health careand/or education systems. Senator Landrieu now openlynails President Bush with charges of being moregenerous to Iraq than to Louisiana. Clearly, the GulfCoast can’t be rebuilt in the long term withoutmassive federal relief. The triple punch of Katrina,Rita and Wilma has created such a need for federal aidin the entire Gulf Coast region that Washington isoverwhelmed (as if Iraq, “Plamegate”, and the failedMiers Supreme Court nomination were not enough tohandle at one time).

The politics of advisory panels is interesting toobserve and tells us a lot about the narrow-mindedapproach Louisiana politicians take to rebuilding. TheMayor and Governor have both appointed blue ribboncommittees to advise on the larger issues ofrebuilding. Predictably, these committees are anassortment of Nagin’s and Blanco’s friends (an obscureUniversity of Louisiana-Lafayette fundraiser), localdignitaries (the Archbishop of New Orleans),university presidents (Tulane’s Cowan on Nagin’scommission and Xavier’s Francis chairing Blanco’s),plenty of business people (the State’s panel is heavywith oilmen and the mayor’s thick with localdevelopers and financiers); both commissions are shorton nationally known figures (Walter Isaacson onBlanco’s) and leaders in the culture field (WyntonMarsalis on Nagin’s). Why not put some top-notchnational and international experts on such committees,like the best people from the big nationalphilanthropic organizations, engineering and cityplanning fields? What do the bonanza of oilmen and theabsence of cultural figures tell us about thepriorities of Blanco’s reconstruction authority?Governor Blanco clearly emerges as the Louisianan“professional politician” most overwhelmed by Katrina-- even before the storm hit. A columnist in the localpaper suggested snatching former governor Edwards witha Coast Guard helicopter from federal prison to comeand relieve Blanco.

New Orleans will come back but no one knows how longit will take. Among the big issues of rebuilding thecity are: will there be federal funds rolling into thecity soon to begin building a levy system that willwithstand a category 5 hurricane? What parts of thecity may have to be abandoned because they can’t beprotected against floods? What elevations will homesthat are rebuilt require to get insurance protection?Which insurance companies will abandon the areabecause they no longer want to take the enormousrisks? Will businesses come back and which ones andwill they blackmail the state government to get taxbreaks before they come back? Will developers find aheyday in the city abandoning strict building codes inand around the historic French Quarter? Will theunique historic housing stock of New Orleans vanish asflood-stricken old houses are torn down and arerebuilt without historic preservation in mind?Property rights are sacrosanct in Louisiana aselsewhere in the U.S. So lawyers and legislators arecoming up with ideas about “usufruct rights” and“recovery corporations” for the government to acquiretens of thousands of blighted properties. No one daresto tell the people of Eastern New Orleans and theNinth Ward that probably big parts of those districtscan’t be salvaged and won’t be protected by levies inthe future.

All of us associated with the University of NewOrleans have been taking pride in our leadershipbringing back the university only six weeks afterKatrina – the only New Orleans area institution ofhigher learning up and running again. While the campusis still closed due to mold mitigation and cleaningup, UNO was relaunched from its Jefferson ParishCenter on October 10. 7,000 of 17,000 UNO students areenrolled in classes on line, while another 1,000students are taking regular classes in our satellitefacilities in Jefferson Parish and the North Shore.UNO and the universities obviously will play a crucialrole in the rebuilding of the city. Why not play amore prominent role “below radar” in the long-termplanning of the future of New Orleans too, while themayor’s and governor’s commissions jockey for thelimelight?

UNO’s partner institution, the University ofInnsbruck, had a “jazz brunch” fundraiser in Innsbrucka few weeks ago and raised enough money and more tohost eight UNO students for the fall term in Innsbruck– and this after the Tirol has been hit by terriblefloods just a week before Katrina. Now the Universityof Graz in Austria offers eight semesters free ofcharge for UNO students who want to come and study andthe University of Munich another five slots for NewOrleans students. Good things are happening everywhereto give people hope here too. As Randy Newman said ata recent New Orleans fundraiser at New York’s AveryFisher Hall, “human kindness is overflowing.”

10) I'll never understand why people live in tornado alleys:

IN-08: Mr Hypocrisy strikes by kos
Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 06:03:33 PM PDT

I blogged earlier how Republican Rep. John Hostettler,whose district was decimated by a massive tornado afew days ago, was one of the few to vote againstKatrina reconstruction aid. Well, I didn't realizethat he has just asked the feds to help rebuild hisdistrict.

When the House voted in early September for a $1.4billion relief bill for victims of Hurricane Katrina,Rep. John Hostettler (Ind.) was one of 11 Republicansto oppose it.

Yesterday, the congressman, who is facing a tight racenext year, and several other Indiana members askedPresident Bush for money to help victims of anothernatural disaster -- the tornado that ripped throughmany areas in his 8th District [...]

Jay Howser, the campaign manager for Democrat BradEllsworth, who is challenging Hostettler next year,said that the campaign had already raised Hostettler'sKatrina vote and that now is not the time to bring thetornado, which killed 22, into the conversation.

"I just don't want to go there right now," Howsersaid. "We're less than 24 hours from this happening."
Howser said Ellsworth, the sheriff of hard-hitVanderburgh County, spent yesterday assessing thedamage. The county encompasses Evansville, one of thetwo population hubs in the 8th District. Howser saidthe county includes 25 percent of the voters in thedistrict [...]

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)declined to comment on the race. But privately,Democrats voiced disbelief and amusement withHostettler, saying the fifth-term congressman wouldrather help tsunami victims halfway around the worldand rebuild Iraq than aid poor Americans drenched byhurricanes.

One prominent Indiana Democratic source recalled:"It's something that we were talking about when hemade the first vote. What happens if something likethis happens in our own back yard? And then it did."
Interesting point at the end of the article --Hostettler only has $28K cash on hand at this point ofthe race. Ellsworth has $258K CoH.

11) This quote is in the article: On Friday afternoon, Randy Fertel, a son of the founder of the Ruth's Chris Steak House empire, who heads the family charitable foundation, felt compelled to distance himself from the chain's current executives, who decided to move its corporate headquarters to Orlando, Fla., after serious damage by Katrina. "My mother would never have done that," he said to cheers from the audience, "and she would have reopened our original Broad Street restaurant, too."

DINING & WINE November 2, 2005 Pralines, Seasoned With Tears By R. W. APPLE Jr.

At a food symposium in Mississippi, lamentations for New Orleans food dominated the conversation.!@!BBQ22@FF@B!@xsrsrQ25@B!JZYQ7D1RW,Y

12) Here's coverage in the Guardian about Katrina:,16546,1636599,00.html

We'll return for your sister's body, the rescuerssaid. Two months on she was still in the house

Gary Younge in New Orleans
Tuesday November 8, 2005
The Guardian

Nobody knows how long Deborah "Bodie" Fisher, 85, hadbeen trapped in her home with the corpse of heryounger sister, Delia "Sis" Holloway, 82, upstairs,and 2ft of flood water downstairs when help finallyfloated by on September 2.

It was five days after New Orleans's levees hadbroken. Bodie waded downstairs to tell the rescuers toleave her alone. "My sister is upstairs," she toldthem. "Let me die here with my sister." Then sheslammed the door and went back in.

The rescuers overruled her. They broke in through anupstairs window, went past Sis's body and let Bodiepack a bag before they took her to the makeshifthospital at New Orleans airport. They said they wouldcome back for her sister.Two months later two family friends, John Gaines andStacey Martin, went to the house. Ms Martin used toclean for the women and Mr Gaines thought taking herto the house would give her some closure.

"I left Stacey alone to get her memories," Mr Gainessays. "She went upstairs and after a while shescreamed, 'Sis is in here. Sis is in here.' I thought,'Here we go. She's hallucinating.' So I went upstairsand sure enough, there was Sis."

Two months after she was first seen, Sis's body laydecomposing in a townhouse in the business district.Mr Gaines says she died with one of her feet on thefloor, as though she was trying to get out of bed. Thefoot had rotted from the leg. Someone had covered herbody with clothes. But when Ms Martin tried to removethe clothes, Sis's face started to come off with it.Just as downstairs bears the flood's watermark, so theheadboard shows the stain her hair made as it splayedout above her head. "She had no face," Mr Gaines says."The skin had shrunk right up to the bones on the bodyand was jet black. All the fluids had run out of her."

This is the gruesome sequel to the story that startedon these pages two months ago. Bodie is my wife'sgodmother. She had decided, along with her sister, tostay put as Hurricane Katrina came barrelling over theGulf. The house had been in the family for at least acentury and had withstood all other hurricanes.
Mr Gaines kept offering to take them out with him, butthey stayed put. "Bodie was the commander in chief andshe wasn't moving," Mr Gaines says.

"They thought they would be OK," says Sis's daughter,Deborah Holloway. "I wasn't happy with their decisionbut I knew that's how they wanted it to be."

Indeed, the wind caused little damage to the house.But when the levees broke, the bottom floor filled up.Someone managed to get through to the women on theTuesday, and they were fine. Nobody knows quite whathappened between that conversation and the time whenthe rescuers arrived three days later. One of themwrote "Help" in red lipstick back to front on awindow, and hung a red scarf as a sign of distress.All around the house there are bottles of water, somehalf finished; upstairs in the back room is half aloaf of bread.
What followed was a tragic tale of callousincompetence compounded by institutional indifference,and individual kindness negated by systemic failure.

Bodie was flown in an air force plane from New Orleansto San Antonio. Somewhere along the way, says MsHolloway, she had her bag stolen. When the familytracked her down in San Antonio, they went to see her.Ms Holloway says: "She was coherent, talkative, angryand very upset about her sister." Her aunt lookedfrail and had lost a lot of weight.

Ms Holloway went to get Bodie some new clothes and herfavourite Jamocha almond fudge ice cream. Shortlyafter she came back, she died.

"She died in San Antonio but she died because ofKatrina," Ms Holloway says. "I hope she's counted asone of the dead."

Two days later, on September 8, someone wrote in blackmarker pen, "1 elderly DOA [Dead on arrival]. 2ndfloor bedroom. No hazards," on the front wall of theNew Orleans house. On September 10, Ms Holloway wascalled in California and asked for a DNA sample sothat her mother's body could be identified. She wastold that a sample of Sis's DNA had been taken, put itin a pouch with her identification and it would bematched with her daughter's before the body wasreleased.

On September 13 Steven Pacheco, an official of theSociety for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals(nobody knows how that organisation got involved),went to the house and called to inform Ms Hollowaythat her mother was dead and that her mother hadwritten a letter to her daughter that was in herpurse.
Ms Holloway asked him if he would mind going back andgetting the letter and some other keepsakes. MrPacheco did. "There were so many good people all alongthe way," Mrs Holloway says. "But so muchincompetence." That day someone wrote "DOA upstairs"and the date on the same front wall of the house inred spraypaint.

On September 17, Ms Holloway held a double memorialservice for her mother and her aunt, presuming thather mother's body was in St Gabriel's morgue and wouldsoon be released. She kept calling but nobody couldhelp her locate the body. One volunteer said they didnot know which body was in which bodybag.
More than two weeks later, Mr Gaines arrived to findSis's body still in the house. He called the emergencyservices and they finally came to take her away. Thistime they marked the house in yellow spray paint,right over the red.

Three days after the body was removed, thefirefighters came. They were gathering informationabout people who had not been found by their lovedones and wanted to know what had happened to Sis.

As of Friday, her body was at St Gabriel's, still aprisoner of the appalling bureaucracy. "They say theywill not
release her until they have positiveidentification," Ms Holloway says. "And I can't tellyou how long that's going to take. My mother deservedbetter than this. Whatever happened to dignity? Whowas responsible? She can't be the only one."

13) This is a little old now, but it shows how financially desperate LA is going to be. FEMA is currently asking a state with a 7 billion USD annual budget in a good year to pony up 3.7 billion USD for the stellar relief effort they've put together to date:

Louisiana can't pay Katrina, Rita bills
By Alan Levin, USA TODAY
Fri Nov 4, 7:49 AM ET

Flood-ravaged Louisiana can't pay the $3.7 billion that the U.S. government says is its share of hurricane relief, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Thursday.

"You can't squeeze $3.7 billion out of this state to pay this bill. Period. That would be difficult for us on a good day," the spokeswoman, Denise Bottcher, told USA TODAY.

Staffers for the governor "about fell over" Wednesday night when they received the Federal Emergency Management Agency's estimate of the state's costs for hurricanes Katrina and Rita, said Mark Merritt, a consultant working for Blanco.

FEMA projects that it will spend a total of $41.4 billion in Louisiana, about $9,000 per resident. Federal law requires state and local governments to pay a portion of disaster relief costs. That share can be as much as 25%. The $3.7 billion estimate is roughly 9% of FEMA's projected costs in Louisiana.

The $3.7 billion represents just under half of the $8 billion the state spends per year and comes as the extensive flooding around New Orleans has severely undercut tax revenue. The state is in the midst of heavy cost-cutting to whittle down a projected $1 billion shortfall.

Congress would have to enact legislation to forgive Louisiana's debt, FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said. President Bush has waived certain state and local costs, such as debris removal, but he is bound by law to collect the $3.7 billion from Louisiana, she said.

Mississippi and Texas, also hit hard by this year's hurricanes, have not received FEMA's projected costs.
The issue of a state's obligation to pay disaster relief costs occasionally creates controversy. On rare occasions, FEMA has threatened to report local governments to the U.S. Justice Department because federal money wasn't reimbursed.

The bulk of the money Louisiana must pay will go toward paying for personal property lost in the storms. FEMA pays up to $26,200 per household for uninsured losses. Blanco's office estimates that 60,000 households in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish alone will qualify for the payments. FEMA this week began notifying people that they will receive money.

Merritt is a former FEMA official who now works with former FEMA director James Lee Witt, an adviser to Blanco on hurricane recovery. Merritt said the scope of the disaster far exceeded anything envisioned when the relief agency was created. He called the costs "astronomically unprecedented."

Before Hurricane Katrina, the largest FEMA disaster was the Sept. 11 attacks. FEMA spent $8.8 billion for relief in New York after Sept. 11, which equaled less than $500 per resident of the metro area, Merritt said.
"A disaster of this magnitude ... has never happened on this scale in U.S. history," Merritt said.

14) Katrina comparisons, or why the US is sticking it to NO so far:

Taking offense at comments by Gov Jeb Bush and because of numerous comparisons between our Louisiana experiences and circumstances in Florida or New York City, below is a list gathered from several sources that underscores the extent of the Katrina disaster compared to other hurricanes, including 1992's Florida Hurricane Andrew, formerly considered America's most destructive. All disasters are horrible, all hurricanes frightening, and each death is a tragedy in that family. Every effort to present an accurate picture was made, however one consistent problem has been an inability to nail down firm numbers. No statistics could be found for those still missing since Katrina, or those who died after evacuation to other areas.
Katrina 1,302 lives lostRita 119 lives lost (6 directly)Wilma 47 lives lost (21 directly)Andrew 65 lives lost (26 directly)
Katrina 250,000 to 350,000 homes destroyed Rita 10,000 homes destroyedWilma 150 homes destroyedAndrew 25,000 homes destroyed
Katrina $130,000,000,000 projectedRita 8,000,000,000 Wilma 15,000,000,000 Andrew 25,000,000,000
Katrina disaster assistance from Feds lowers to 75% after November 26Andrew disaster assistance from Feds was 100%September 11th disaster assistance from Feds was 100%
Katrina SBA loan approval rate: 1.6%Over 500,000 out of workCustomary SBA loan approval rate: 40-55%

15) After this article came out, the Saints agreed not to move for another year. This article shows how local sentiment stacked up about a potential Saints move that is still eventually likely:

16) A little humor for those fed up with Republicans:

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