Thursday, April 24, 2008

So, I'm back.

Back from trying to tell my family that private homes are on the chopping block and people who are doing their best to rebuild those same homes are coming back to find that the house they gutted in order to prepare it for new drywall and such is now gone. They didn't believe me...or, rather, they didn't believe that people couldn't be adequately informed about such doings. I felt like Cassandra...or like the people who had escaped the Shoah to come to this country and tried to tell others what they had seen. It all seems too incredulous, too outrageous, so un-American for that to happen. Well, I'm hailing from un-America, and it's happening. Pardon me while I hie back to the south side of I-10. Thanks for your time.

Back to what Sheckrastos calls Debrisville, and there is most certainly more debris here now than, possibly, since the advent of the Federal Flood. We drove past the remains of B.W. Cooper on the way back home and the little guy said, "Hey, look! A junkyard!"

"It is now," is all I could say. "People lived there once."

Back to some serious heat in the air. Back to heading to JazzFest, but being unable to eat much of anything there the first weekend, because it's still Passover, dammit. Why can't some K for P vodka be offered at the Fest? Nothing like a screwdriver of affliction** in a city suffering from some serious affliction. Must find teensy flask and conceal it in my purse...

Back to reading about Katrina fatigue. Daaaaamn right.

Back to reading about some sick reasons why this area is still not further along in its recovery:

In addition to its work guarding private companies, banks, hotels, industrial sites, and rich individuals, Blackwater was quietly handed a major no-bid contract with the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, ostensibly to protect federal reconstruction projects for FEMA...Documents show that the government paid Blackwater $950 a day for each of its guards in the area - some $600 more per man per day than the company was allegedly paying its men on the ground. That contract kicked off a hurricane boon for Blackwater; by the end of 2005, in just three months, the government had paid Blackwater at least $33.3 million for its Katrina work for DHS. All of these services were justified by the government's claim of not having enough personnel to deploy quickly in the hurricane zone, though spokespeople carefully avoided drawing a connection to the various U.S. occupations internationally...By June 2006, the company had raked in some $73 million from its Katrina work for the government - about $243,000 a day....

The hurricane's aftermath ushered in the homecoming of the "war on terror," a contract bonanza whereby companies reaped massive Iraq-like profits without leaving the country and at a minuscule fraction of the risk. To critics of the government's handling of the hurricane, the message was clear. "That's what happens when the victims are black folks vilified before and after the storm - instead of aid, they get contained," said Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and an editor of Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch. Kromm alleged that while seemingly endless amounts of money were doled out to scandal-ridden contractors, vital projects had "gotten zero or little money" in New Orleans in the same period, including: job creation, hospital and school reconstruction, affordable housing, and wetlands restoration. Even in this context, DHS continued to defend the Blackwater contract. In a March 1, 2006, memo to FEMA, Matt Jadacki, the DHS Special Inspector General for Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery, wrote that the Federal Protective Service considered Blackwater "the best value to the government."*

Please, somebody, tell me something I don't already know, but the rest of this country should know. I mean it, now.

Because I'm back here. And, aside from all the tourist hoopla that is still getting people to come, we are still not really being seen. Not really being considered.

Forget "next year in Jerusalem", people. In the hopes that we will be fully freed from the tyranny of mainstream media posturing, misspent monies, and exploitation of many other local resources, I will hereby encourage us all to state:

"Next Year in New Orleans!"

at the conclusion of each seder.

How in hell can we talk of Jerusalem when we can't take care of what is right here on our own soil?


*Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
** matzah=bread of affliction

4 comments:

nola said...

Well, welcome back. Wanna join a few NOLA twitterers for a drink tomorrow evening? 5:30ish at Cooter Brown's. Would love to see you again.

The long, long road home,New Orleans said...

This is a frequent conversation in our home. When Katrina hit my husband was in helicopter aviation stationed at fort hood(really close to NOLA). His unit was more concerned about their upcoming deployment than katrina. The army had them send a few token helicopters and their pilots. But sending entire units, nope. My husband and I were furious. Its one of the reasons he left the military.

Anonymous said...

Darlin' I may not be Jewish (and I may be missing the point), but this Witch will wholeheartedly agree that I will say "Next Year in New Orleans" for my own soul's home's sake every night and at the end of each ritual! :)
Peace out,
Elspeth

Leigh C. said...

Thank you, madame!