5-23-05 - 6:09 A.M. - THE PLIGHT OF THE POOR PEOPLE
DREAM - I was working on 70th St. at A-C. I lived on 16th St. and since I
didn't have a car, I had to walk home. It was a long way and it was winter
and there was a cold wind blowing.
It was 5 p.m. and time to go home. I started to get ready to go home and
put on a heavy sweater and then my coat. I looked for my shoes which I had
kicked off under the desk, but I couldn't find a pair that matched or were even
the same size.
My boss was still there and he said he had the same problem and would have
to buy a pair of shoes on the way home. I thought that was a great idea since
there was a shoe store not far from where we worked.
I started gathering things together to carry with me, grabbed my purse and
made sure my keys were in my pocket.
I started walking down the hall to stay in the building as long as
possible. There were other women still working though it looked like the men had
already gone home.
All of a sudden I was back in my office again. I had fallen asleep
standing by my bosses desk and he had left without me. I was tireder than I
The cleaning women had come in and were starting to work. I was still
looking for a pair of shoes to wear.
Finally, I looked under another secretary's desk and found 4 pair of shoes
and they were all mine.
I put on one of the pair of shoes and put the other 3 pair into an empty
old purse I found to carry with me.
I also found some extra sweaters and a couple more old empty purses. I
packed all that into a large wicker basket with handles to carry it with me.
It searched my coat again and made sure I had my keys in my pocket and
headed out the nearest door.
When I got out the door, I was ready to be blasted by the cold air and
wind, but it wasn't as bad as I expected and thanked God for the better weather.
The stop light on the corner was red so I had to stop and wait for it to
turn green and while I was standing there, some black people were jostling my
basket and I discovered that the purse I had put the extra shoes I had and a
couple sweater got stolen by the people who jostled me.
But I still had my purse with the credit cards and money, my basket, the
extra empty purses and the rest of the sweaters and when the light turned green
and I started off walking towards home.
I made the mistake of taking a side street instead of the main street and
here the city hadn't plowed the snow in the street and the people hadn't
shoveled the sidewalk either.
There were a lot of black people trudging in the street, but I thought it
best to walk on the sidewalk.
At first there was a narrow path to walk though I wasn't actually on
sidewalk. The snow was about a foot deep and someone had made an attempt to chop
ice off the sidewalk, but that only made dangerous holes in the path to trip in.
The snow on the sides of the sidewalk were turning a dirty brown from the
pollution. I saw a Sheltie dog come out and pee in the snow, then saw him run
into a tunnel he had dug himself to keep himself warm.
I had gone about a half a block and came to a group of people who had
stopped by a street vendor who was selling something next to the sidewalk.
I stopped to see what she was selling. She had a box of toy cars, all
shiny and new, still in their boxes.
While I stood there, she saw my basket and started accusing me of trying
to steal her toy cars.
I protested and said that all I had were old sweaters, but by then the
people were angry because I had more than they had.
I got away from them and then I started to cry as I walked along.
A man came up to me and I recognized him as Depak Chopra. He saw me crying
and he walked over and said, "God loves you."
His kind words made me stop crying, but as soon as I stopped crying, he
walked away towards another woman who was crying farther on down the street.
I realized he only had enough time to tell me that God loved me, not to
actually help me and then he had to move on to the next crying person, because
there were so many crying people.
I continued walking, but I had to climb a dirty snowbank and walk in the
street like the others because nobody had shoveled the sidewalk.
I walked few blocks in the street and there were fewer and fewer
people as people went into their houses to get out of the cold.
I came to a group of children playing in the street. These kids weren't
even dressed for the weather. The older ones had just T shirts and underpants.
The babies just had on diapers.
Here the snow had turned to mud in the street and the place where the
children played was filthy.
I saw that these children were all Hindu and though they were playing,
they were cold, unclothed and dirty.
I also sat that this was a Hindu orphanage school and these children had
no parents either.
I took the hands of the two oldest children who were about 4 years old to
take them inside to ask for them to be dressed warmer. Just as I got to
the steps, I saw a toddler about age 1 stumble and fall face down in the mud,
next to a couple babies laying in the street.
The toddler didn't event cry or whimper. He had already learned that
crying didn't get him anywhere and he had to pick himself up and help himself.
Obviously that wasn't a lesson I had yet learned.
NOTE: This whole dream reminds me of what happened to the black
people in New Orleans during Hurricane
10-3-05 - 4:44 a.m. DREAM - I was in my New Berlin house
with my family.
We were all in bed sleeping. I woke up and needed to go to the
bathroom. When I was done, I opened the door and found my husband
standing there, waiting for me. I knew he wanted to fool around, but I
wasn't in the mood and made an excuse that I felt a cold draft coming
from the boys bedroom across the hall.
So we went into the boys bedroom, where they all slep in bunkbeds
My husband moved the beds around into a different arrangement
"to conserve heat", he said.
We left the room and then I felt a blast of heat coming up the
stairs from the kitchen.
There shouldn't have been anyone down there at all, so I sneaked
down the stairs, which wasn't easy because I had books of many kinds and
sizes along the way on the stairs that I had to move along the way.
In the kitchen I discovered my sister/daughter entertaining a
homeless woman named Nancy.
I remembered Nancy from years earlier. She was an insurance
saleswoman for a time. She was wearing a yellow dress and had brown
My sister/daughter was making a pizza for her and feeding her
without telling us.
My husband came downstairs and met Nancy, and put his arm around
her shoulders gently.
I was afraid he was going to have an affair with her, but he put
her to work.
I watched them as he showed her how to clean along the edges of
the floor with a little spinning brush on a long wand, while he ran the
big floor scrubbing machine.
I watched her do the job my husband gave her. She did a very lousy
job. I watched as the brush would bounce off the ledge o nthe
floor edge and she would just ignore the spot she missed and keep
going just to get around the room behind my husband instead of taking
care to do the job right.
I was getting upset, watching her do such a bad job and not caring
about the quality of her work.
I then had a vision of a chart in the air showing me the different
categories of poor people.
NOTE: After I woke up, I remembered ex-president Clinton
describing how New Orleans would be rebuilt with neighborhoods to be
rebuilt so the poor people would not be segregated into slums and
everyone would work and go to school and have hope for a brighter
|Debatable -- Should race be
considered while rebuilding New Orleans?
WASHINGTON - President Bush's housing secretary
has touched off a tempest by saying that a revived New Orleans may no
longer be a majority-black city and that some of the low-lying and
predominantly black neighborhoods probably should not be rebuilt.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson said he
expected New Orleans, a city of about 475,000 that was two-thirds black
before Hurricane Katrina struck in late August, to emerge only 35
percent to 40 percent black and with possibly 350,000 residents.
"Whether we like it or not, New Orleans is not going to be 500,000
people for a long time," Jackson told the Houston Chronicle, which
published his comments Thursday. "New Orleans is not going to be as
black as it was for a long time, if ever again."
Jackson's remarks drew howls from some black leaders, who said they
would serve only to alienate Katrina's black victims. Some housing
experts said they reflected the absence of an administration policy to
deal with providing affordable housing for tens of thousands of
Should race be considered while working to rebuild New Orleans? Jackson,
who is black, took to task the black activists who have been criticizing
the administration. "I wish that the so-called black leadership
would stop running around this country like Jesse and the rest of them
making this a racial issue," he said, referring to Jesse Jackson,
president of the Rainbow PUSH
Jesse Jackson, speaking by telephone from Detroit, where he was meeting
with families who had lost their homes in New Orleans, said the housing
secretary's comments would make the evacuees feel they would get a
hostile reception when they returned to New Orleans, which they want to
"The displaced persons have a right to return home," Jackson
said. He accused the housing secretary of promoting the gentrification
of one of America's historic cities.
He also found a political overtone to the housing secretary's prediction
of a permanent decline in New Orleans' black community. Blacks have
elected one of their own, Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., to Congress,
and Jesse Jackson said black votes accounted for the margins of victory
for Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
Alphonso Jackson said in his interview with the Chronicle that he told
New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin that "I think it would be a mistake
to rebuild the Ninth Ward," the largely black area that lies mostly
below sea level and was inundated after the storm. Any new buildings,
Jackson said, should perhaps be on stilts, with parking places at ground
He conceded that Nagin did not respond warmly. "He wants to rebuild
it like it was," Jackson said, "and I don't think I can give
the president that kind of advice."
Bush has said that one way to bring low-income residents back to New
Orleans is through "urban homesteading." Evacuees could get
federal land for free in return for a pledge to build homes on it.
"We want evacuees to come home, for the best of reasons - because
they have a real chance at a better life in a place they love,"
Bush said in a speech from New Orleans on Sept. 15.
Brookings Institution housing expert Bruce Katz, who served as HUD chief
of staff during the administration of President Clinton, said the
federal government owned too few properties in New Orleans - perhaps
1,000 - to make much of a dent in the need.
At the same time, Katz said, "The worst thing we can do is recreate
New Orleans exactly as it was. It was a failure across the board,"
he said - particularly in its concentration of federally subsidized
housing near downtown.
He offered his own suggestion: That the displaced people of New Orleans
be involved in the planning and be guaranteed the right to return if
Michael Franc, vice president for government relations of the
conservative Heritage Foundation, agreed with Katz on the need to avoid
replicating the old New Orleans. But he called the administration's
homesteading idea "an enormous step in the right direction."
He said it was wrong for Alphonso Jackson or anyone else to make the
reconstruction of New Orleans a racial issue.
"It ought to be about people, not race," he said.
Victims of Katrina: Dissed, Dispersed, and Exiled
Revolution #017, October 9, 2005,
posted at revcom.us
(This was posted October 5, 2005 on the internet)
Before Hurricane Katrina, Black people made up about 70% of the
population of New Orleans. On September 29, in an interview with the
Houston Chronicle, Bush’s Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development Alphonso Jackson predicted the rebuilt city will be only
35-40% Black and said: "New Orleans is not going to be as Black as
it was for a long time, if ever again."
This is right in line with Bush’s plan for "rebuilding New
Orleans"--a strategy for turning devastation into profit (see
Revolution #15). This is a plan with billion dollar
construction contracts, new zoning laws, no environmental protections
and even lower wages--a plan where it isn’t profitable to rebuild
neighborhoods and new housing for the hundreds of thousands of Black
people displaced by the hurricane.
This is a system and a ruling class that looks at hundreds of
thousands of poor Black people losing their homes as an opportunity to
try and "solve" the intense social contradictions of poverty
and racism by literally getting rid of a huge population of poor Black
people. This is what’s behind Louisiana Congressman Richard Baker’s
statement, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We
couldn’t do it, but God did it."
There is intense bitterness and anger among the people in New
Orleans about how they were depicted and treated like criminals. One man
still in New Orleans told Revolution reporter Michael Slate,
"They say they trying to help us, they say they came with
buses for us. They didn’t. Don’t believe them. Instead of having
people to help us, they gonna ship army guys down here to take what we
got, to punish us cuz we wanted to survive.."
There is also a deep sense that the government’s neglect and
abuse is part of a bigger, conscious and even more oppressive plan. One
woman still in New Orleans told Slate,
"Since it’s a lot of minorities here, it is a lot of
Black people here--do you want us all just to die? Is this a bigger
part of the plan that we don’t know about or something? ‘The more
of them that dies, the less we have to worry about.’"
Author Mike Davis, speaking about the destruction of public
housing in the years before Hurricane Katrina, pointed out,
"There has been a kind of policy of triage, where you tear
down two of the largest public housing projects in the city--the
famous Desire project and St. Thomas in the Warehouse District--to
make room for a Wal-Mart and gentrification. You re-house only a
portion of the population--a minority--and the other residents are
basically thrown out onto the streets, with the expectation that they
would leave the city." ("The struggle over the future of New
Orleans," September 23, 2005)
And what is happening to the hundreds of thousands of Black people
evacuated after Katrina? These are the people HUD Secretary Jackson says
won’t (or won’t be allowed to) come back to New Orleans.
The whole world saw the absolutely inhuman way people were treated
at the Terrordome and how thousands of people were left to sit on their
rooftops for days with no food or water.
Now evacuees from New Orleans are being treated as criminals or
potential criminals--shuttled off to destinations unknown, often far
away from familiar surroundings, almost always separated from their
People in Baton Rouge, Houston, and cities scattered throughout
the country tell of how they pleaded with officials to let them get to
areas where they knew they had family they could reunite with. But they
were told they had to go wherever the bus they got on was taking them.
People who had relatives in cities like Baton Rouge and LaFayette were
often driven right through those towns--but no stops were allowed--and
people were taken against their will to locations in Texas, Arkansas,
and elsewhere. The authorities are running background checks on people
coming into their state and at least one man, shipped to Rhode Island,
was arrested because he had an outstanding warrant.
Centers set up to house people in Houston, Baton Rouge, and
elsewhere are like heavily guarded detention centers. In Baton Rouge,
the River Center, which is the main downtown civic center, was
surrounded by scores of police cars blocking all the streets, with
military vehicles forming a perimeter around the police cars. Heavily
armed soldiers, police, along with FEMA agents and federal, state, and
local officials of every type swarmed around the area. Police from
states as far away as Michigan were sent in to help institute a
clampdown and "maintain control."
Every time people left the center for a walk or some fresh air,
they had to wait in long lines to pass through a metal detector and have
their IDs and whatever they were carrying checked. Strict curfews were
put in place. People had to wear ID wrist bands that identified them as
being in the centers and people felt watched and feared everywhere they
The mountain of lies and rumors spread by government officials and
the media, vilifying Black people coming out of New Orleans, has run
wild in the cities and towns people have been sent to. One young woman
said the way they were treated made her think that it is as if the
people of New Orleans "have a disease inside us, and everyone else
is supposed to be afraid of us."
News stories have made it seem like the government is taking care
of everyone, that the evacuees are all being given new homes, jobs, and
emergency money. But this too is a lie.
FEMA is putting harsh new regulations on people as they are being
"relocated" into apartments in different cities. People were
promised, , and some people got, $2,000 debit cards. But anyone with a
sense of reality knows this amount comes nowhere close to what is needed
by a family that has lost everything and is trying to survive in a
strange city. To add insult to injury, FEMA has put people through
endless delays, hours of standing in line after line, and humiliation
after humiliation to get even this puny amount.
People are being promised apartments, and six months rent in
cities like Houston. But in case after case, after being bussed around
the sprawling metro area for hours, people are taken to areas far from
the city center. They don’t have cars and would almost certainly be
unable to find jobs they could get to. And once they get to the places
where they are supposed to be able to live, they are often told they
aren’t eligible if they have any kind of arrest record or unpaid rent
on their apartments in New Orleans. This abuse is happening to the
people being sent to a potential place to live. But most of the evacuees
aren’t even being offered this.
Among the masses there is a real feeling that the efforts to
gentrify New Orleans that have been going on for the last 20 to 25 years
played a big role in the lack of planning for a disastrous hurricane.
And now the policy of dispersing evacuees, whether deliberately or not,
serves this plan by encouraging people to not return to the city.
The people must never forgive and never forget the murderous
atrocities that have been, and continue to be, committed against the
people of New Orleans. What is called for is solidarity with the people
made victims of both Hurricane Katrina and the Bush regime’s
abuse--and resistance and protest against the neglect, abuse, lies,
racism and repression that is continuing against the people evacuated
out of New Orleans.
The most toxic debris in New Orleans isn't the sinister gray sludge
that coats the streets of the historic Creole neighborhood of Treme or
the Lower Ninth Ward, but all the unanswered questions that have
accumulated in the wake of so much official betrayal and hypocrisy.
Where outsiders see simple "incompetence" or
"failure of leadership," locals are more inclined to discern
deliberate design and planned neglect -- the murder, not the
accidental death, of a great city.
Here are 25 of the urgent questions that deeply trouble the local
people we spoke with on a trip to New Orleans and South Louisiana.
Until a grand jury or congressional committee begins to uncover the
answers, the moral (as opposed to simply physical) reconstruction of
the New Orleans region will remain impossible.
1. Why did the floodwalls along the 17th Street Canal only break on
the New Orleans side and not on the Metairie side? Was this the result
of neglect and poor maintenance by New Orleans authorities?
2. Who owned the huge barge that apparently was catapulted into the
wall of the Industrial Canal, causing flooding that killed scores in
the Lower Ninth Ward -- the most deadly hit-and-run accident in U.S.
3. All of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish east of the Industrial
Canal were drowned, except for the Almonaster-Michoud Industrial
District along Chef Menteur Highway. Why was industrial land
apparently protected by stronger levees than nearby residential
4. Why did Mayor Ray Nagin, in defiance of his own official
disaster plan, delay 12 to 24 hours in ordering a mandatory evacuation
of the city?
5. Why did Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff not
declare Katrina an "Incident of National Significance" until
Aug. 30 -- thus preventing the full deployment of urgently needed
6. Why wasn't the nearby Bataan immediately sent to the aid of New
Orleans? The huge amphibious-landing ship had a state-of-the-art,
600-bed hospital, water and power plants, helicopters, food supplies
and 1,200 sailors eager to join the rescue effort.
7. Why wasn't the Baltimore hospital ship Comfort ordered to sea
until Aug. 31, or the 82nd Airborne Division deployed in New Orleans
until Sept. 5?
8. Why does Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld balk at making
public his "severe weather execution order" that established
the ground rules for the military response to Katrina? Did the
Pentagon, as a recent report by the Congressional Research Service
suggests, fail to take initiatives within already authorized powers,
then attempt to transfer the blame to state and local governments?
9. Why were the more than 350 buses of the New Orleans Regional
Transportation Authority -- eventually flooded where they were parked
-- not mobilized to evacuate infirm, poor, and car-less residents?
10. What significance attaches to the fact that the chair of the
Transportation Authority, appointed by Mayor Nagin, is Jimmy Reiss,
the wealthy leader of the New Orleans Business Council which has long
advocated a thorough redevelopment of (and cleanup of crime in) the
11. Under what authority did Mayor Nagin meet confidentially in
Dallas with the "40 thieves" -- white business leaders led
by Reiss -- reportedly to discuss the triaging of poorer Black areas
and a corporate-led master plan for rebuilding the city?
12. Everyone knows about a famous train called "the City of
New Orleans." Why was there no evacuation by rail? Was Amtrak
part of the disaster planning? If not, why not?
13. Why were patients at private hospitals like Tulane evacuated by
helicopter while their counterparts at the Charity Hospital were left
to suffer and die?
14. Was the failure to adequately stock food, water, potable
toilets, cots and medicine at the Louisiana Superdome a deliberate
decision -- as many believe -- to force poorer residents to leave the
15. The French Quarter has one of the highest densities of
restaurants in the nation. Once the acute shortages of food and water
at the Superdome and the Convention Center were known, why didn't
officials requisition supplies from hotels and restaurants located
just a few blocks away? (As it happened, vast quantities of food were
simply left to spoil.)
16. City Hall's emergency command center had to be abandoned early
in the crisis because its generator supposedly ran out of diesel fuel.
Likewise many critical-care patients died from heat or equipment
failure after hospital backup generators failed. Why were supplies of
diesel fuel so inadequate? Why were so many hospital generators
located in basements that would obviously flood?
17. Why didn't the Navy or Coast Guard immediately airdrop life
preservers and rubber rafts in flooded districts? Why wasn't such
life-saving equipment stocked in schools and hospitals?
18. Why weren't evacuee centers established in Audubon Park and
other unflooded parts of Uptown, where locals could be employed as
19. Is the Justice Department investigating the Jim-Crow-like
response of the suburban Gretna police who turned back hundreds of
desperate New Orleans citizens trying to walk across the Mississippi
River bridge -- an image reminiscent of Selma in 1965? New Orleans,
meanwhile, abounds in eyewitness accounts of police looting and
illegal shootings: Will any of this ever be investigated?
20. Who is responsible for the suspicious fires that have swept the
city? Why have so many fires occurred in blue-collar areas that have
long been targets of proposed gentrification, such as the Section 8
homes on Constance Street in the Lower Garden District or the wharfs
along the river in Bywater?
21. Where were the Federal Emergency Management Agency's several
dozen vaunted urban search-and-rescue teams? Aside from some
courageous work by Coast Guard helicopter crews, the early rescue
effort was largely mounted by volunteers who towed their own boats
into the city after hearing an appeal on television.
22. We found a huge Red Cross presence in Baton Rouge but none in
some of the smaller Louisiana towns that have mounted the most
impressive relief efforts. The poor Cajun community of Ville Platte,
for instance, has at one time or another fed and housed more than
5,000 evacuees; but the Red Cross and FEMA have refused almost daily
appeals by local volunteers to send professional personnel and aid.
Why then give money to the Red Cross?
23. Why isn't FEMA scrambling to create a central registry of
everyone evacuated from the greater New Orleans region? Will evacuees
receive absentee ballots and be allowed to vote in the crucial
February municipal elections that will partly decide the fate of the
24. As politicians talk about "disaster czars" and
elite-appointed reconstruction commissions, and as architects and
developers advance utopian designs for an ethnically cleansed
"new urbanism" in New Orleans, where is any plan for the
substantive participation of the city's ordinary citizens in their own
25. Indeed, on the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,
what has happened to democracy?
Mike Davis is the author of many books including "City of
Quartz, Dead Cities and Other Tales,'' and the just published
"Monster at our Door, the Global Threat of Avian Flu'' (The New
Press) as well as the forthcoming "Planet of Slums'' (Verso).
Anthony Fontenot is a New Orleans architect and community-design
activist, currently working at Princeton University. This piece
appeared on www.tomdispatch.com.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Debate Over Fate Of Ninth Ward
Involves Race, Culture And Politics
Mayor Nagin Has Laid Out Plans To Reopen
Every Section Of New Orleans, Except The Lower Ninth
By CECI CONNOLLY
& THE WASHINGTON POST
Published on 10/3/2005
New Orleans— No one here wants to say it aloud, but one day
soon the bulldozers will come, shoving away big hunks of a neighborhood
known for its poverty and its artists, its bad luck and its bounce-back
It is likely to be the largest demolition of a community in modern
U.S. history — destruction begun by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and
finished by heavy machinery. On Saturday, firefighters put red tags on
hundreds of homes deemed “unsafe,” the first step in a wrenching
debate over whether the Lower Ninth Ward should be rebuilt or whether,
as some suggest, it should revert to its natural state: swamp.
A neighborhood tucked into a deep depression between two canals,
railroad tracks and the Mississippi River, New Orleans's Lower Ninth has
spent more of the past five weeks underwater than dry. Entire houses
knocked off foundations. Barbershops and corner groceries flattened.
Cars tossed inside living rooms. What remains is coated in muck — a
crusty layer of canal water, sewage and dirt. Mold is rapidly devouring
The question now is whether the Lower Ninth Ward, which was
devastated 40 years ago by Hurricane Betsy, should be resuscitated
again. The debate, as fervent as any facing post-hurricane New Orleans,
will test this city's mettle and is sure to expose tensions over race,
poverty and political power. The people willing to let the Lower Ninth
fade away hew to a pragmatist's bottom line; the ones who want it to
stay talk of culture and tradition.
The flooded sections “should not be put back in the real estate
market,” said Craig Colten, a geography professor at Louisiana State
University. “I realize it will be an insult (to former residents), but
it would be a far bigger insult to put them back in harm's way.”
The notion is not without precedent. In the 1800s, cities such as New
York, Boston and Chicago rebuilt on filled-in marsh. More recently, the
federal government has paid to relocate homes destroyed by the
Mississippi River floods of 1993; the Northridge, Calif., earthquake;
and the Love Canal environmental disaster in Upstate New York.
But never on the scale being contemplated here. And never in a
predominantly black, low-income community already smarting from previous
wrongs, perceived or real.
“This is a natural disaster; it's nobody's fault,” said Lolita
Reed Glass, who grew up in the Lower Ninth with her parents and 10
siblings. “My daddy worked. He did not sit on his bottom. You're not
giving us anything. What we rightfully deserve as citizens of this
country is the same protection we give to other countries.”
Of the 160,000 buildings in Louisiana declared “uninhabitable”
after Katrina, a majority are in the New Orleans neighborhoods that
suffered extensive flooding. Mayor Ray Nagin, an African American who
worked in the private sector before entering politics, has spelled out
plans to reopen every section of the city — except the Lower Ninth.
His director of homeland security, Col. Terry Ebbert, said in an
interview that most homes in the Lower Ninth “will not be able to be
restored.” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson
told the Houston Chronicle he has advised Nagin that “it would be a
mistake to rebuild the Ninth Ward.”
The mayor himself has spoken ominously about the need for residents
to come in, “take a peek,” retrieve a few valuables and move on.
Historic preservation advocates fear that the city will capitalize on a
program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that pays to tear
down damaged buildings but not to repair historic private properties.
“There is a built-in incentive to demolish,” said Richard Moe,
president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The first
instinct after natural disasters is almost always to demolish buildings.
It is almost always wrong.”
New Orleans, with 20 districts on the National Register of Historic
Places covering half the city, has the highest concentration of historic
structures in the nation, Moe said. That includes the Lower Ninth's Holy
Cross section, with its shotgun houses and gems such as the Jackson
Barracks, the Doullut Steamboat Houses and St. Maurice Church.
In a news conference Friday, Nagin was noncommittal about the future
of the Lower Ninth, noting that portions are still flooded, there is a
“significant amount of debris and mud,” and environmental tests must
“I am sensitive to the Ninth Ward and people talking about it like
it's not people's homes,” he said. “If we do have to do any mass
demolition in the Lower Ninth Ward, I hope we figure out proper
compensation” for property owners, he added.
Although it is less than two miles northeast of the French Quarter,
the Lower Ninth Ward is far removed from the money and clout pulsating
through downtown. From the high ground along the banks of the
Mississippi River, the ward gradually slopes down. Closest to the river,
the flood was five or six or seven feet deep; farther down into the
neighborhood — away from the river — the water lapped at rooftops.
Firefighters peered up at those ruined roofs over the weekend, called
in by the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits, to help decide
what should stay and what should go. They left behind the fluorescent
red warning tags on the worst hulks.
“If you go in the house, you are entering at your own risk,” said
Jamie Grant, area leader for the Buxton, Maine, fire department, one of
several out-of-state teams brought in for the unpleasant task. City
Attorney Sherry Landry said “full structural assessments” have not
been conducted on the tagged houses, but the damage appears so severe it
“could make occupancy dangerous.”
Originally a Cypress swamp, the community of 20,000 is overwhelmingly
black; more than one-third of residents live below the poverty line,
according to the 2000 census. The people of the Lower Ninth are the
maids, bellhops and busboys who care for New Orleans tourists. They are
also the clerks and cops now helping to get the city back on its feet.
It is home to carpenters, sculptors, musicians and retirees. Fats Domino
still has a house in the Lower Ninth. Kermit Ruffins — a
quintessential New Orleanian trumpeter whose band likes to grill up some
barbecue between sets — attended local schools. About half the houses
“It's a scrappy place where people don't take a lot of guff, but a
place where people really respect each other” said Pam Dashiell,
president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association. “It has heart
and soul and beauty.”
Dashiell is annoyed by comments by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert
(R-Ill.) and some developers suggesting there is no point in restoring
the most flood-prone parts of the city — the Lower Ninth, everyone
knows, even if it is not mentioned by name. She wants “an independent
expert who can be trusted” to assess the condition of buildings there
and a hefty investment in levees that can withstand a Category 5
Yet even some liberal activists, people who have worked to buoy the
fortunes of the Lower Ninth, are beginning to talk favorably about
clearing it away — if residents are well compensated and given
suitable housing elsewhere.
“It would be negligent homicide to put people in the Lower
Ninth,” said Russell Henderson, a veteran community organizer who has
formed the Rebuilding Louisiana Coalition. “If you put people back in
there, they're going to die.”
But scraping away the Lower Ninth would most certainly change the
already delicate equations of racial and economic politics in one of
America's poorest cities, a city that was 67 percent black but is likely
to have a smaller black majority once it is resettled. LSU's Colten
fears middle-class Gentilly and wealthy Lakeview — just as prone to
severe flooding — will nevertheless be rebuilt, while the Lower Ninth
The temptation will be to “open up spaces where there has been a
lot of poverty,” similar to the urban renewal projects of the 1960s,
he said: “Those were seen as a way of cleansing a problem. It didn't
eliminate poverty; it just moved it.”
Lolita Reed Glass is suspicious that property owners such as her
mother will be offered $5,000 for land that is resold for $500,000.
Dubbed a “Betsy baby” because she was born nine months after that
hurricane brought water to the eaves in the Lower Ninth in 1965, Glass
grew up hearing how her mother and seven older siblings punched a hole
in the roof to escape the deluge. When they returned, her father added
three bedrooms, a bath and laundry onto the pale-blue shotgun house to
accommodate his growing family.
“We weren't rich; we weren't poor,” she said, but those things
did not seem to matter to the family. All they knew was what they had.
The day before Katrina swept through, Glass evacuated with her husband
and three children, her mother, six siblings and an aunt. More than a
month later, they are waiting to go back.
“My mother's thoughts and prayers are that she can go home,”
Glass said. But if that is impossible, she at least wants to give her
goodbyes to a structure built in part with her father's own hands.
“I've not seen my history, not seen where I come from,” she said.
“We need to have an opportunity to do that.”
Katrina ripped off the front porch and laundry room. The floodwaters
tossed the contents like a salad, still moist. The house next door
floated away. But 1939 Lamanche St. is there. And for now at least,
without a red tag
After Katrina, Many Wonder About New Orleans'
POSTED: 1:34 pm CDT October 2, 2005
NEW ORLEANS -- As black New Orleans residents regroup and put down
roots elsewhere in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many people are
wondering: What will become of one of the nation's most complex
Pre-Katrina New Orleans was a majority black city. It also
was a poor one.
But the city was a place where French, Spanish, Indians and
West Africans mixed as far back as the 18th century -- giving it a
rich, multiracial cultural heritage.
Now the city's native sons and daughters, spread nationwide,
are speculating on how that culture will change in the wake of the
flooding wrought by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some even
question whether it will survive at all.
Arnold Hirsch, a historian at the University of New Orleans,
said once the people are scattered, he doesn't know if the past
can be recaptured.
He said there may be something new, "but it wouldn't be
the historical New Orleans."
Saints Play First 'Home' Game
The home team crowd was loud and the team responded, as the
New Orleans Saints beat the Buffalo Bills on Monday.
But the game was in San Antonio.
The Saints' true home in New Orleans, the Superdome, is on
the disabled list. But as New Orleans slowly comes back to life,
Saints fans head for their local pub, if it's open.
Bartender Sheila Ponsaa said she misses the enthusiasm of
game-day crowds when the Saints are really at home.
Bar owner Ray Newman said he was impressed by the number of
Saints fans in San Antonio, adding they managed to give the
displaced team a real home-field advantage.
Fan Keith Brockman, watching on television, said he hopes
displaced Saints fans in Texas got a break from their worries by
being at the game.
First Masses Held Since Hurricane
The historic St. Louis Cathedral held its first Sunday
service in the French Quarter since Hurricane Katrina.
The Mass had a dual purpose: to mourn the lives of the more
than 900 who died in the storm, and to bring hope to those who
remain behind and face the task of rebuilding.
The cathedral was originally built in 1727. The first Church
of St. Louis lasted 61 years, until it caught fire and was rebuilt
in the same location.
Since then, it has withstood hurricanes and hailstorms. It
was left virtually untouched by Katrina's fierce winds and high
- September 30, 2005: Rita
Death Toll Reaches 100 In Texas
- September 28, 2005: Rita
Evacuees Can't Believe They're Being Housed In Jail
- September 27, 2005: Rita
Makes Parents Miss Seeing Son Before His Execution
- September 26, 2005: Parents
Trapped By Hurricane Rita Miss Son's Execution
- September 25, 2005: Insurance
Losses From Rita Could Top $4 Billion
- September 26, 2005: Rita
Claims Lower Than Katrina, But Still Costly
- September 26, 2005: 'Everything
Is Just Obliterated,' La. Gov. Says
- September 25, 2005: Rita
Evacuation A Cause For Concern, Officials Say
- September 23, 2005: Bus
Bursts Into Flames, Killing Up To 24
- September 23, 2005: Feds
Say They're Ready For Rita
Rebuilding Hurricane-Devastated Areas- Why Not
Follow LBJ’s Lead?
By Kevin R. Kosar
Mr. Kosar, Ph.D., is the author of Failing
Grades: The Federal Politics of Education Standards (Lynne Rienner
Last week, U.S. representatives and senators from Louisiana
introduced the “Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic
Recovery Act” into Congress. The total cost of the bill popped quite a
few eyes- $250 billion. The bill (S. 1765) runs over 400 pages and seeks
funds for just about everything one could imagine. Some of the objects
of funding seems perfectly reasonable--who, for example, would object to
federal funds being used to repair damaged veterans’ medical
Others, though, have drawn hoots. S. 1765 would have the American
public pony up $150 million in fisheries disaster assistance, $25
million for a sugar cane research laboratory, $35 million for seafood
marketing, and so forth. There also is the matter of the brobdingnagian
magnitude of the demands for funds. As the Washington
Post noted, $250 billion amounts to $50,000 to every person in
the entire state (and this doesn’t include the $62.3 billion already
appropriated for disaster relief).
But the size of S. 1765 should not divert our attention from an
even bigger issue- the challenge of creating coherent policy to aid
hurricane-stricken areas with reconstruction. At last count, there were
over 100 disaster response and recovery bills introduced into Congress
offering billions of dollars in the form of tax cuts, regulation
waivers, grants, loans, and more. How is Congress supposed to reconcile
all these ideas into a coherent policy?
Nobody knows. Meanwhile, thousands of citizens remain refugees,
their futures hinging on the federal government’s ability to craft a
long-term economic recovery plan to get New Orleans, Beaumont, and other
areas up and functioning.
This legislative free-for-all might have been avoided had
President George W. Bush chosen to take the lead in formulating disaster
recovery policies for the affected areas. Instead, he seems to be
devoting his energies to following FEMA’s and other agencies’
efforts to clean up the damage.
Forty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson showed how the
federal government could both respond rapidly and rationally to a major
natural disaster and, critically, draw up sensible legislation based on
expert analyses to get the affected area back on its feet.
On March 27, 1964, Good Friday, at 5:36 PM, a huge earthquake
rocked Alaska. The 8.6 magnitude quake rocked perhaps 50,000 square
miles, including Anchorage, Kodiak, Valdez, and more. Roads were rent to
pieces, buildings collapsed, fishing boats heaved hundreds of feet onto
land; whole shorelines slipped under water. 115 persons were killed and
$750 million ($4.7 billion in today’s dollars) in damage was done.
Within a few hours, Governor William A. Egan of Alaska and the
U.S. military authorities stationed in Alaska had gotten in contact with
one another and launched what would become called “Operation Helping
Hand.” (For a case in contrast, see the lengthy Salon.com
article on Louisiana officials troubles in responding.) Military and
civilians worked together to deliver water to affected areas, patching
together telephone service, and preparing areas where civilians could
get a meal and take refuge.
By the next day, President Johnson had declared a national
disaster and dispatched members of the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP)
to Alaska to get relief efforts rolling. OEP got in immediate contact
with both local officials and federal agencies and began coordinating
Johnson might have stopped here at the point of providing disaster
relief. With civil rights issues brewing and a war in Vietnam going less
than well, and a campaign to run against Barry Goldwater, the president
was plenty busy. Instead, Johnson put his mind to formulating a plan to
produce legislation that would provide rational plans for reconstructing
the damaged areas. On April 2, he established through executive order
the Federal Reconstruction and Development Planning Commission for
It was an ingenious entity. FRDPCA was composed of members of
agencies help would be needed (e.g., Defense, Interior, Small Business
Administration, etc.), the director of OEP, and, critically, New Mexico
Senator Clinton P. Anderson. While the Atomic Energy Commission’s
Dwight A. Ink was the executive director of FRDPCA, Anderson was its de
facto head. LBJ appointed Anderson because he knew that Anderson was
competent at executive work and he could help LBJ get reconstruction
legislation through Congress.
FRDPCA set to work immediately. It recruited competent staff from
Senator Anderson’s office and experts from agencies represented on
FRDPCA. It created task forces to handle assorted issues areas involved
in reconstruction (e.g., economic stabilization, housing, etc.) also
composed of top personnel from FRDPCA agencies who possessed deep
knowledge of the machinery of government. Members were dispatched to
Alaska where they worked with other officials to draw up damage
assessments and plans for repairing the damage and getting Alaska back
on its feet. Johnson, in the meantime, got Congress to pass emergency
appropriations to help fund the clean-up in Alaska.
FRDCPA took what it learned on the ground in Alaska (it held
numerous forums with both local officials and the public) and drew up
sensible legislation to enact policy that would promote the long-term
recovery of Alaska. On May 27, just two months after the earthquake, LBJ
submitted reconstruction legislation to Congress. By mid-August,
Congress had enacted the bill into law and Alaska was on the road to
full recovery. In October of 1964, its mission fulfilled, the Federal
Reconstruction and Development Planning Commission for Alaska was
abolished by LBJ.
Mr. Bush may have been handed a political gift by Hurricane Rita.
Since this second cyclone struck some of the same areas as Katrina, Mr.
Bush might now leap into the legislative fray and present a unified plan
for hurricane recovery. Should he do so, he might find it helpful to
follow the lead of that other president from Texas.
|Senators in disharmony on aid
WASHINGTON -- So much for unity.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.,
recently stood together on behalf of the Louisiana federal delegation
and unveiled a $250 billion request for federal help in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. Vitter noted that the measure was both bipartisan and
But when it came time to actually file the legislation later in
the day, Landrieu and Vitter filed their own versions of the same bill,
S. 1765 and S. 1766.
Disharmony between the two, who have had differences in the past,
was visible at the news conference. Each senator's staff handed out its
own analysis of the measure. The Landrieu synopsis contained the words
"prepared by Office of Senator Mary L. Landrieu."
When asked about the filing of the two bills, Adam Sharp,
communications director for Landrieu, said the Landrieu piece was filed
first and should be considered "the correct text." He said the
Vitter bill was filed in "confusion on the part of the junior
"The only difference is the order of the names on the
bill," Sharp said.
Mac Abrams, a spokesman for Vitter, said the senator's office
intended to file its own bill in a strategy of two heads are better than
"We wanted Landrieu's office to have a bill with her name on
it that she could take back to the Democratic caucus and we wanted one
that we could take back to the Republican conference that demonstrates
the bipartisanship of the bill," Abrams said.
Editorial blasts request
The Louisiana federal delegation was labeled "legislative
looters" in an editorial by The Washington Post last week
criticizing the $250 billion relief request.
The editorial came after one of Washington's chief budget watchdog
groups, Taxpayers for Common Sense, called the Louisiana request
"brazen." The nonprofit organization questioned some of the
items in the request as not related to Katrina.
The legislation requests $160 million for the state's
"federal city" plan. Another $8 million would go to an
alligator farm. The bill also requests $25 million for a sugar-cane
research laboratory that had not been completed before Katrina. And
another $600 million would go toward early childhood programs.
Landrieu rejected the editorial, standing by the bill's proposed
"We know it's a big ask, but it's a big problem,"
Landrieu said. "This is the first time this nation will build a
major city since the Civil War."
Two lobbying firms that have done hurricane relief fund raising
will be working for corporate clients seeking federal reconstruction
Patton Boggs, which includes New Orleans native Tommy Boggs and
former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., has been hired to handle contract
compliance work for The Shaw Group. The Baton Rouge-based construction
and engineering company has won $200 million in federal contracts to
help with the rebuilding.
"We want to make sure that everything we do is appropriate
and that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed," Breaux said.
The other firm, The Livingston Group, has three new Louisiana
clients. Run by former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston, R-Metairie, the firm
hopes to help Southern Recycling handle scrap metal and River Birch
conduct debris removal. A third client, Daybrook Fisheries, would help
refloat boats grounded by the storm.
'I'm officially an evacuee'
National Wildlife Federation Chairman Jerome C. Ringo of Lake
Charles found himself a victim of Hurricane Rita. "I'm officially
an evacuee," he said.
Ringo and his wife were headed to Washington when the storm
struck. Their two children were staying with relatives in Texas. But
Ringo hasn't been home and has been told that it may be several weeks
before he can get into his house, which suffered structural damage from
The week prior, Ringo was volunteering to help victims of Katrina
and said he never imagined he would be an evacuee.
Ringo, however, said he intends to use the experience to call for
better prioritization of flood-control projects by the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers. He said he also will continue his call for coastal
restoration and reducing global warming, two issues that he believes
worsened the storms' impact.
The Greenhouse effect
Four U.S. senators are calling for the immediate reinstatement of
Bunnatine H. "Bunny" Greenhouse as procurement executive and
chief of civilian contracting for the Corps of Engineers.
The Southern University magna cum laude math graduate and Rayville
native was recently demoted after she reported what she called serious
contracting fraud and abuse related to the awarding of billions of
dollars in no-bid contracts to Halliburton and one of its subsidiaries
Michael Kohn, general counsel at the National Whistleblower
Center, is representing Greenhouse.
"Bunny Greenhouse is a native Louisianian and there is no one
in the contracting field more willing to devote themselves to the
rebuilding of this nation while ensuring that the American taxpayers are
not fleeced in the process," Kohn said in a statement.
The senators backing Greenhouse are U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow,
D-Mich., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Patrick
Bush Plans To Outline Massive New Orleans Rebuilding Program
Some Businesses Will Reopen On Saturday, Mayor Says
President Bush addresses the nation at 8 p.m. CDT Thursday from
New Orleans and is expected to outline a massive rebuilding program for
the hurricane stricken city.
Meanwhile the city’s mayor says some businesses will be allowed
to reopen as early as Saturday.
Mr. Bush will speak from historic Jackson Square in the French
Quarter Thursday night, after a visit to Pascagoula, Miss., which was
also hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.
Previewing the speech, Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Mr.
Bush envisions rebuilding a Gulf Coast "stronger and better than
Mr. Bush has been practicing the address in the White House movie
McClellan says it'll include initiatives on housing, education,
job training, health care and small business.
Asked if paying for it will force a re-thinking of administration
spending priorities or tax cuts, McClellan replied, "The worst
thing we can do for the economy right now is raise taxes."
The address comes two days after Bush acknowledged to reporters
that he takes responsibility for the flawed federal response to the
Meanwhile Mayor Ray Nagin told reporters Thursday that businesses
will be allowed to reopen starting on Saturday in some parts of the
Nagin said some neighborhoods will be reopened to residents in
phases beginning on Monday.
A strict dusk-to-dawn curfew remains in effect in the city, but
Nagin says New Orleans soon “will start to breathe again.”
He sais the city will have life, and it will have commerce.
"We're going to bring this city back,” he said.
Nagin says he expects about 180,000 people to return to the city
within a week or two, when power and sewer systems are restored.
Officially, Katrina is blamed for 474 deaths in Louisiana but
that's expected to rise.
The government reported Thursday that applications for jobless
benefits jumped by the biggest amount in nearly a decade last week as
the number of people who lost jobs to Hurricane Katrina climbed to
|Posted on Fri, Sep. 30, 2005
Who will emerge from the storm?
The Orlando Sentinel
Mother Nature has a deft hand when it comes to reorganizing
human perspective, as we've witnessed with Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita. Suddenly "things" don't matter, we're reminded;
only life and loved ones do.
But Mother Nature also has other talents -- ripple effects
and trickle-down consequences that help shape the political
landscape. As she highlights our priorities, she also showcases
those individuals who rise to the occasion. As well as those who
Thus, Katrina and Rita may be pivotal players in determining
who becomes the next president of the United States. Presidents,
after all, are often elected according to the climate at a given
moment, rather than by strict measures of specific skills.
George W. Bush, despite his early days of bacchanalia
(hardly a solitary pursuit among the baby-boomer generation), was
a stiff shirt and straight arrow following Bill Clinton's
prolonged adolescence. He was, in other words, a reaction vote for
someone who promised to restore dignity to the White House. No
more "little office" parties; no more Hollywood stars
jumping on the Lincoln bed.
In his time, Clinton -- just a warm-blooded good ol' boy
from Arkansas who could feel everybody's pain -- was a reaction to
the cold New England, out-of-touch George H.W. Bush, himself a
kinder-gentler reaction to tough-guy Ronald Reagan, who was a
reaction to a peanut farmer with a preacher streak, who was a
reaction to the corrupt era of Watergate.
You get the picture. In the current climate of war and
ravaging hurricanes, the lingering effects of which will be on
front pages for months if not years, what sort of president might
be next in line? In times of national disaster and cataclysmic
events, who you gonna call?
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy -- as in former New York Mayor Rudy
Giuliani -- springs to mind. Or is it Arizona Sen. John McCain?
Both men have been getting lots of buzz during the past couple of
weeks as Americans have been reeling from hurricanes, massive
federal spending promises and leadership that makes the Keystone
Cops seem like Swiss clockmakers.
Both men have been leading the short list of possible
Republican presidential candidates, of course, but then Katrina
and Rita came along. They were more than weather. Although no one
wishes to minimize or trivialize the horror of these storms,
especially as people are still struggling with death and loss,
there's no avoiding the inevitable political effects.
Giuliani has benefited greatly by his unavoidable comparison
to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Obviously, hurricanes and
terrorist attacks are vastly different, especially in scope. But
Nagin missed his bullhorn moments: first, before the storm, when
he might have evacuated thousands of poor people without access to
transportation; second, immediately afterward, when his city
quickly turned into a swamp of anarchy.
If Katrina is remembered as the storm that destroyed New
Orleans, Nagin will be remembered as the mayor who lost control.
By comparison, Giuliani is forever imprinted on the American
psyche as the Eveready-man, able to manage whatever furies are
unleashed by Earth's wrath or hell's wraiths.
McCain may have benefited politically even more than
Giuliani from the storms' ripples. As Americans recoil in horror
at the projected $200 billion federal price tag attached to
rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (and who knows for
Rita), McCain is one of the few voices -- along with Sen. Tom
Coburn, R-Okla. -- calling for government restraint.
Not against the spending per se, as the federal government
is mandated by law to cover a certain percentage of reconstruction
costs following disaster. But against pork-barrel and other
unnecessary spending during a time of war and natural disaster.
Thus, McCain, as a voice of fiscal conservatism in a party
that has strayed far from that principle, may evolve as the
hurricane candidate. Hurricane McCain? A war hero in a time of
war, who is also a small-government conservative in an era of
deficit spending, sounds like a perfect storm.
Mogul Who Would Rebuild New Orleans
Mr. Canizaro has emerged as perhaps the single most influential business
executive from New Orleans. One fellow business leader calls him the
local Donald Trump. But Mr. Canizaro derives his influence far less from
a flamboyant style than from his close ties to President Bush as well as
to Mr. Nagin, and that combination could make him a pivotal figure in
deciding how and where New Orleans will be resurrected.
Mr. Canizaro has not only secured a coveted spot on the commission,
those who have seen the list said, but he has played a critical role in
shaping it. At a state Senate hearing held in Baton Rouge on Wednesday,
Mr. Nagin confirmed that he would be naming an advisory panel, but that
he had not completed a list.
New Orleans is a town where generally it helps to have local roots that
go back at least one or two generations, if not back to the days before
the Louisiana Purchase. Mr. Canizaro first arrived in New Orleans in the
mid-1960's, when he was in his 20's.
BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 28, 2005 - Many of the business elite of
New Orleans seem preoccupied these days by what some here simply call
The List - the chosen few Mayor C. Ray Nagin is expected to name on
Friday to a commission to advise him on the rebuilding of the stricken
city. Almost certain to make the grade is the real estate mogul Joseph
C. Canizaro, the man best known for bringing high-rises to the New
Yet despite his status as a relative newcomer, Mr. Canizaro's stature
has grown because of his political influence, the force of his
personality and his record of public service to the city where he has
lived for 41 years.
Like Mr. Trump, he has celebrated the ribbon-cutting of buildings that
have achieved iconic status in New Orleans, and has faced down
bankruptcy, only to emerge so financially strong that he recently moved
into a home that Lt. Gov. Mitchell J. Landrieu described as
"perhaps the nicest house in all of Louisiana." That home,
which took four years to build and resembles a European palace, was
severely damaged by three feet of water that flooded his neighborhood
just west of the city.
Mr. Canizaro is inclined to view the flooding of New Orleans as both a
tragedy and an opportunity. He notes that the city's schools were
substandard, its housing stock crumbling and its crime rate among the
nation's highest. "I think we have a clean sheet to start
again," Mr. Canizaro said. "And with that clean sheet we have
some very big opportunities."
Like many in the city's establishment, Mr. Canizaro declined to give his
vision for a new New Orleans. But many locals expect Mr. Canizaro will
use as a starting blueprint a report from the Committee for a Better New
Orleans that he and other civic leaders have sitting on their shelves.
In 2000, he started that committee, which brought together more than 100
business and community activists to talk about everything from the poor
state of the city's schools to the high crime rate and preponderance of
"Joe was very involved, coming to every meeting, really pushing
people to come up with concrete proposals," said Norman C. Francis,
the president of Xavier University, the nation's only historically black
Catholic university. "Joe is a can-do guy; he's a go-getter, a
doer," said Mr. Francis, who co-led the committee with Mr. Canizaro.
Over the years, Mr. Canizaro has socialized with the president, a man he
describes as a friend. And Mr. Bush no doubt appreciates the hundreds of
thousands of dollars Mr. Canizaro has contributed to the Republican
Party, according to campaign finance records. In 2004, he attained
Ranger status in the Bush campaign - someone who raised at least
$200,000 for the president's re-election.
Mr. Canizaro said he was not acting as a formal intermediary between the
president and local leaders, and had not spoken directly to Mr. Bush
since Katrina struck.
But he said he had kept in regular contact with Mr. Bush's top aides.
"I've been having conversations with people around the president,
for guidance and direction and commitment and support," he said.
"I've been trying to help out in that way."
The city's other business leaders assume that his connections are
sterling. One prominent local business leader, who declined to be named
for fear of jeopardizing a slot on the commission, was downright giddy
that his name was on a draft list of names Mr. Canizaro was circulating
"From what I understand, Joe is the prime mover on this thing, at
least as far as the business members' portion of the commission,"
this person said.
"The general perception is that Joe, as someone locally who has
the president's ear, will be playing a particularly critical role as we
start getting down to the work of rebuilding the city," said J.
Stephen Perry, a former gubernatorial chief of staff who now heads the
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. While Mr. Perry is expected
to be an important player as the city rebuilds, his name was not on the
list as of midweek.
Since Katrina, Mr. Canizaro has spent much of his time in Utah, where he
owns a second home. In mid-September, when the mayor invited a group of
business leaders to Dallas to discuss the city's future, the mayor took
the time for a phone conversation with Mr. Canizaro.
"It was an incredible thing to witness," said one participant
in the Dallas meeting, who did not want his name used because he was
talking about a private gathering. "The mayor stood there on the
phone, nodding and jotting down notes, as if Joe were passing on bullet
points directly from the president."
Mr. Canizaro, who earlier this year hosted a fund-raiser in his home for
the mayor, tiptoed around the topic of his behind-the-scenes role. Only
when pressed did he acknowledge that he is fully engaged in the creation
of the advisory council: "The mayor and I have spoken numerous
times about getting the commission together," he said, but he
stressed that ultimately the mayor, and no single private individual,
would fill out its roster.
"This is the mayor's thing," he said, over a breakfast of ham
and eggs in Baton Rouge last week. "I'm just doing what I can to
Mr. Canizaro is on the short side but has a strong jaw and steely gray
hair and a clipped, authoritative way of speaking that suggests he is
accustomed to giving orders. At breakfast, he was constantly in motion,
his leg bobbing as he played with his eating utensils and fiddled with
whatever was within reach.
Of course, other business leaders are expected to play a central role in
the rebuilding of New Orleans. One is Donald T. Bollinger Jr., who runs
Bollinger Shipyards, based in Lockport, Miss., and who confirmed that he
had been asked to serve on the commission.
Mr. Bollinger, who splits his time between homes in New Orleans and
others scattered around the Gulf Coast, is also prominent in Republican
circles in Louisiana. His résumé includes a long list of community
activities, including a stint as chairman of the local United Way and a
turn as the head of Citizens for a Better New Orleans.
"I'm a friend of the president's, but I don't know if that was the
governing factor in my name ending up on the list," Mr. Bollinger
The list also includes several prominent African-American business
leaders, including Alden J. McDonald Jr., the chief executive of the
Liberty Bank and Trust Company, and Daniel F. Packer, the chief
executive of the New Orleans subsidiary of the Entergy Corporation,
which filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
Scott Cowen, the president of Tulane University, who first arrived in
New Orleans in 1998, is also expected to be named to the mayor's
commission. "A few decades ago, New Orleans was the kind of closed
community where unless you were born and raised here, you couldn't have
much influence," Mr. Cowen said. "In recent years, that's
clearly changing. As a result, people like Joe Canizaro and others can
have much more influence than they would have had a decade or two
Mr. Francis, the Xavier University president, said he, too, had been
asked to serve on the mayor's commission but declined because he had
already committed to serving on a similar group being formed by Gov.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
While in New Orleans last week to visit his home and check on his
various business interests, Mr. Canizaro met with Mr. Nagin. Among other
things, he stressed his belief that any commission must consist of an
equal number of representatives from both the black and white
"We in the business community must realize that we need to work
with the balance of the community, particularly our African-American
associates, to help develop a plan for the revival of the city," he
said. Unless the discussions encompass a more wide-ranging group, he
said, stabbing a meaty finger in the air to drive his point, even the
best-intentioned efforts would probably fail.
When asked if he thought racial balance might prove controversial with
conservatives, he responded, "I can assure you the president feels
the same way."
Mr. Canizaro, the oldest of eight children, said he left Biloxi, Miss.,
in 1963 because he felt his opportunities there were limited. In the
ensuing decades, he has built a number of large projects that have come
to define New Orleans, including the 500-room Ritz-Carlton hotel and an
office-condominium project called Canal Place. He is best known for
constructing a cluster of high rises on Poydras Street, including the
Texaco Center and LL&E Tower, which helped create a new corridor of
commerce in the central business district.
Mr. Canizaro thrived through the first half of the 1980's, when the city
was awash in oil money. But when oil prices dropped sharply in the
mid-1980's, some of his more ambitious projects sat largely empty, and
more than a few tenants were forced to break their leases.
"I definitely went through some hard times," Mr. Canizaro
said. "I came close to bankruptcy."
He survived through a combination of stubbornness - he refused to lower
his rents - and the good will of some creditors, including Citicorp,
that did not demand repayment of their loans. After surviving the
downturn of the 1980's, he diversified by forming the Firstrust
Corporation, a bank holding company that acquired banks in and around
New Orleans, and in 1998 he founded Corporate Capital, a venture capital
Trump in the No Spin Zone
Thursday, September 22, 2005
This is a partial transcript from "The
O'Reilly Factor," September 21, 2005, that has
been edited for clarity.
Watch "The O'Reilly Factor"
weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Personal
Story" segment tonight, Donald Trump. His program, "The
Apprentice" starts up again tomorrow night, Thursday. You saw
him on the Emmys dressed up like a farmer. And he has definite
opinions on gas prices and the rebuilding of New Orleans. Mr.
Trump joins us now.
Where can I get the little outfit you wore on the Emmys? Is
that — can you buy that in the store?
DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION PRESIDENT AND CEO:
Well, I think you'd have to go out some place out to the country.
I don't know where they got it, but it seemed to have worked.
O'REILLY: You'll do anything, won't you?
TRUMP: Well, I just had a lot of fun.
TRUMP: You know, they came to me, they wanted me to do
it. It was fun.
O'REILLY: I would have charged them an enormous amount
of money to do that.
TRUMP: I think that's a good idea.
O'REILLY: All right, let's get serious for a minute. Now
you're one of the nation's preeminent builders. And New Orleans
has to be rebuilt. Already, there's corruption charges. Haliburton,
Bechtel, they're going to suspend wage stuff to get people in
there. How do you see this?
TRUMP: Well, it's a mess. I mean, the country is in such
a mess right now. Now you're looking at a new hurricane coming. I
just see it's 165 miles an hour.
O'REILLY: Yes, Rita's coming in.
TRUMP: It's a number five. And it's going to Galveston
or some place. And it's just a disaster.
And I think our president is almost snake bit at this point. It
just seems so many bad things are happening to this country.
O'REILLY: Yes, I'd be shell shocked, absolutely.
TRUMP: Yes, so many bad things are happening...
TRUMP: ...for this country and to this country. And it's
New Orleans is a city that's built under sea level. And to
allow retaining walls, essentially retaining walls to collapse
when they all knew if you had a large hurricane or a large amounts
of water they were going to collapse, how come some — why didn't
somebody fix them?
You know, the hurricane didn't do the damage, Bill. As you
know, it was really the water. All of this water...
O'REILLY: Yes, Lake Pontchartrain, the lake. But they
all knew it, but they didn't — the feds didn't want to pump in
the $20 billion that it would take to...
TRUMP: I don't know why it costs $20 billion to fix
walls. I just don't get that. You know, I heard $20 billion...
O'REILLY: Yes, it was $20 billion Army Corps...
TRUMP: I heard $100 million, I heard all different
O'REILLY: Army Corps — well, look, you — say they
— you're — Bush says to you, "Look, Trump, I want you to
be the rebuild czar in here. Number one, do you rebuild on that
site? Do you think that's a good idea?
TRUMP: Well, look, you have a great city. You had a
great city. It's perhaps going to be great again. It's going to
take many, many years. They lost 600,000 homes.
You know, if I build 1,000 houses, that's a lot. That's a big,
big development. Six hundred thousand homes have been just wiped
out. And the rest — I mean, so many other things have been
The answer is, yes, you rebuild. Lots of tax credits, lots of
other things are going to happen. I already know a lot of good
developers are going down there. They think they're going to be
part of it. You know, where does it stop?
O'REILLY: How do you keep with all the massive money
going down there, how do you keep people from stealing? How do you
keep people from stealing on your jobs? Because it's easy to
TRUMP: Well, you watch. And you watch the individual
O'REILLY: Who — you don't.
TRUMP: But what you have to do and what they have to do
is give developers the incentives. Because certainly the
government isn't going to rebuild. If the government rebuilds...
O'REILLY: All right, so the incentives is if you build
it at this price this quickly, we give you a bonus.
TRUMP: That is correct or tax incentives.
O'REILLY: Because look what happened at the big dig in
Boston. I mean look at that — how — stealing massive
TRUMP: Right, but that was a government boondoggle. And
that's what you can't get. You have to have lots of developers do
their beautiful little developments all over the place. And when
you add it up, it's one, big, beautiful, massive thing.
O'REILLY: You have confidence in Halliburton and Bechtel
and these people can do that?
TRUMP: Well, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking
about residential developers. I'm talking about commercial
developers, where they go and then they rebuild the city based on
tax credits and based on...
O'REILLY: So you would hire all private developers?
TRUMP: I would do it privately. Certainly you're not
going to have the government do it. But the government is going to
have to do something about the levee.
O'REILLY: Yes, yes, right.
TRUMP: It's going to have to do something about the
walls. Otherwise you're just...
O'REILLY: What's the point?
TRUMP: You're just wasting a lot of time and effort.
O'REILLY: Because the corruption in the home building,
as you know, industry is huge. You can steal because nobody knows
— you know, they put in a — you say you're doing one thing and
you put in inferior material and all of that. Do you have any
advice for the Bush administration on how to cut down on the
TRUMP: Well, first of all, the credibility of the Bush
administration now is at an all-time low. And when you look at
what's happened in New Orleans, when you look at the head of FEMA
who I guess was thrown out of a horse association, it was sort of
I look at Mr. Brown. And they go to the association. They say
this is the man. They said it couldn't be the same man. We fired
him for incompetence. And I'm looking at this and he's the head of
FEMA. The credibility of the Bush administration is very suspect
O'REILLY: Well, what advice? They're watching tonight.
Give them advice.
TRUMP: You're going to have to get some really talented
people to rebuild New Orleans. And by the way, where is the next
hurricane going? You know, this one looks like it's bigger than
O'REILLY: Well, let's deal with that when it hits this
weekend. All right, so you basically say private people have to
TRUMP: It's got to be private. It's certainly not going
to be governmental, but it has to be the incentives given by
O'REILLY: Incentives to do the job, right. But I think
you've got to have the FBI in there watching these people.
TRUMP: Well, I think maybe that's right.
O'REILLY: You have to.
TRUMP: Certainly that's right.
O'REILLY: Right, because if they're going to get federal
money, we have to oversight.
All right, when we come back, we'll talk about gasoline prices.
Do you think I'm crazy on those?
TRUMP: I think you're 100 percent correct.
O'REILLY: All right, and we like to hear that. And
there's plenty more ahead.
O'REILLY: Continuing now with Donald Trump, whose new
program "The Apprentice" kicks off its season tomorrow,
Thursday night, 9:00 p.m., NBC.
OK, I've been railing, and top of the show, I did it again
tonight that we're getting hosed by the oil companies, that
they're jacking up — taking advantage of the very, very, as you
put it, very troubled times for America to make even more money.
How do you see it?
TRUMP: I think you're 100 percent right. But I think
it's beyond the oil companies. It's OPEC. It's Saudi Arabia.
You know, they used Katrina to boost oil prices at a record
level, at a level that — and nobody from our administration or
this government does anything about it. Every time there's going
to be a rain storm some place, oh "we have to raise
oil." It is so out of control right now. And nobody's...
O'REILLY: So what would you do to OPEC? We'll send you
over there to talk to the OPEC pinheads and you say what?
TRUMP: You have to get a hardened business person,
whether it's me or somebody else. And there 25 great people you
could send. But you have to get somebody to read the riot act.
Saudi Arabia wouldn't exist for 24 hours if we ever left, if we
weren't protecting them. They take advantage of us, and they go
out and buy their 747's as private planes like other people buy a
G-5 or they'd buy a Lear jet. They buy 747's.
We are letting them get away with murder. And they're using
every time — watch Galveston, we're going to have to raise fuel
prices by another dollar and a half...
O'REILLY: We're expecting that.
TRUMP: It has...
O'REILLY: You say the Saudi Arabia...
TRUMP: By the way, it has nothing to do with Galveston,
has nothing to do with Katrina.
O'REILLY: No, I understand that.
TRUMP: It's an excuse to raise prices.
O'REILLY: It costs $4 for OPEC to get the thing out of
the ground, put it in a barrel, and they're charging $65. So we
all know what it is. And then on top of that the U.S. oil
companies put on a premium when they refine it here.
So you say to the Gulf states and the other OPECs,
"Listen, if you keep doing this to us, we're going to pull
out our defense of you, and let you on your own."
And they say, "If you do that we'll sell our oil to China
and India." And you'll be screwed. TRUMP: Let me tell
you something. If it all fell apart we wouldn't be charged any
more, believe me. If that whole mess fell apart, we wouldn't be
And what about Iraq? What's happening with the Iraqi oil? We're
spending $400 billion...
O'REILLY: It's now up to about 98 percent of capacity.
That's one success story in Iraq that hasn't been told; they are
pumping the oil out.
TRUMP: How come they allowed Exxon and Mobil to merge?
Who was the genius that said these two big oil companies could
O'REILLY: That's another thing. There's only five big
oil companies and they collude, I believe. Do you believe they
TRUMP: I totally believe it. I have no doubt about it. I
would imagine they're members of the same golf course.
O'REILLY: Now this "Apprentice" thing. We've
seen it. Do you know what I'm talking about? We have seen you
firing people, yelling at people, scolding them.
TRUMP: And you have seen the ratings.
O'REILLY: Demeaning them.
TRUMP: And you have seen the ratings.
O'REILLY: Kicking them and all of that. All right. Why
should we watch it again?
TRUMP: Because the ratings continue to be phenomenal.
And actually, No. 4 — it is actually only No. 4, but No. 4 is
the best we've ever done.
O'REILLY: Why is it the best?
TRUMP: Because No. 2 and No. 3 I wasn't involved in
casting, and No. 4 I said, "You know what? I have to do
it." I just was too busy.
O'REILLY: I love this. So you picked the people...
TRUMP: I picked 18 people.
O'REILLY: You picked 18 people. How many auditioned? How
many did you see?
TRUMP: Over a million people.
O'REILLY: Over a million — you saw over a million
TRUMP: No, no, no. Over a million people applied...
TRUMP: ... to be on the show. They brought it down to
5,000. Then 2,000. Then about a thousand. And then I got involved.
I went out to California. We picked — out of 1,000 people we
picked 18 people.
TRUMP: And I think...
O'REILLY: And all the women are good looking, then, I
TRUMP: Well, they're rather attractive, I've got to tell
you. In fact in a couple of cases...
O'REILLY: If you're not a good looking woman, you're
TRUMP: In a couple of case, serious looking, but of
course this has nothing to do with why I picked them.
O'REILLY: Right. Of course not. So good looking women.
And then men, what do you look for? Good looking men?
TRUMP: Well, it's never been my thing but actually, some
of the men are good looking but it's, you know...
O'REILLY: What are you looking for?
TRUMP: Let me tell you what I'm looking for. I'm looking
for really smart people, No. 1. If they happen to be attractive
that's nice. But really, really smart people.
And I think the reason that "The Apprentice" has been
so successful and has gotten such high ratings is because it's the
only show where the people are really smart. You know, your
audience is a big "Apprentice" audience. You do know
O'REILLY: We're a smart audience. I don't know how the
crossover is. So you pick smart, good-looking people. Now are they
afraid of you?
TRUMP: I'm the only one, actually, that beats you in the
O'REILLY: You beat me in the ratings?
TRUMP: Very substantially.
O'REILLY: I wouldn't be so sure about that. Anyway, are
they afraid of you, these people?
TRUMP: I don't know if they're afraid of me or not. Some
of them want to be stars. Some of them actually want to work for
me, but we have a good time and the show has been just great. And
No. 4 is the best one that we've ever done and that's tomorrow
O'REILLY: All right. Now, there's no truth to the rumor
that you and Martha Stewart hate each other and are going to slug
it out? Right?
TRUMP: It's just the opposite. You know, Mark Burnett
and I own the show.
O'REILLY: She's got an "Apprentice," too.
TRUMP: We looked at a lot of different people. We looked
at Cuban. And then he did a show and he failed. We looked at
O'REILLY: All right. You're dropping names. I don't know
who these people are. But you and Martha, you don't hate each
TRUMP: We love each other.
O'REILLY: You love each other?
TRUMP: I did the show this morning. Excuse me.
TRUMP: She's been a friend of mine for a long time. I
mean, I did her show this morning.
O'REILLY: You say hello to her and tell her to come on
“The Factor." Donald Trump, "The Apprentice,"
everybody, Thursday night. Thanks for coming.
TRUMP: Thank you.
Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News
Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005
Bush: Reconstruction must lift up the poor
September 16, 2005
BY NEDRA PICKLER ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON-- President Bush said Friday the Gulf Coast must be
rebuilt with an eye toward wiping out the persistent poverty and racial
injustice plain to all in the suffering of the black and the poor in
Hurricane Katrina's wake.
"As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also
clear away the legacy of inequality," Bush said during a national
prayer service with other political leaders and religious figures from
the affected region at the National Cathedral.
Also Friday, White House officials said that taxpayers will pay
the bill for the massive reconstruction program and it will worsen the
nation's budget deficit.
In the cathedral, several dozen evacuees and first responders, all
from New Orleans, filled one side wing. The president and his wife,
Laura, sat solemnly in a front pew along with Vice President Dick Cheney
and his wife, Lynne.
Before Bush's remarks, Bishop T.D. Jakes, head of 30,000-member
Potter's House church in Dallas, delivered a powerful sermon in which he
called upon Americans to "dare to discuss the unmentionable issues
that confront us" and to not rest until the poor are raised to an
acceptable living standard.
"Katrina, perhaps, she has done something to this nation that
needed to be done," Jakes said. "We can no longer be a nation
that overlooks the poor and the suffering, that continues past the
ghetto on our way to the Mardi Gras."
Bush, faced with continuing questions about whether help would
have been sent more quickly to the storm zone if most victims had not
been poor and black, echoed those themes in brief remarks that were rich
with religious references.
"Some of the greatest hardships fell upon citizens already
facing lives of struggle, the elderly, the vulnerable and the
poor," he said. "As we rebuild homes and businesses, we will
renew our promise as a land of equality and decency and one day
Americans will look back at the response to Hurricane Katrina and say
that our country grew not only in prosperity but in character and
Claude Allen, the president's domestic policy adviser, said two of
the main storm relief proposals Bush made in his Thursday speech were
aimed at addressing the region's poverty: the $5,000 grants for worker
training, education and child care and an Urban Homesteading Act in
which surplus federal property would be turned over to low-income
citizens to build homes.
Also at the White House, Al Hubbard, director of Bush's National
Economic Council, said the disaster costs-- estimated at $200 billion
and beyond-- are "coming from the American taxpayer." He
acknowledged the costs would swell the deficit-- projected at $333
billion for the current year before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the
Some fiscal conservatives are expressing alarm at the prospect of
such massive federal outlays without cutting other spending.
"It is inexcusable for the White House and Congress to not
even make the effort to find at least some offsets to this new
spending," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
Allen said the administration had not identified any budget cuts
to offset the disaster expense. Congress already has approved $62
billion for the disaster, but that is expected to run out next month.
In his address to the nation Thursday night from the heart of New
Orleans' French Quarter, Bush said the recovery effort would be one of
the largest reconstruction projects the world has ever seen and promised
that the federal government would pay for most of it.
"There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and
this great city will rise again," he said.
The government failed to respond adequately, with agencies that
lacked coordination and were overwhelmed by Katrina and the subsequent
flooding of New Orleans, Bush said. Dogged by criticism that
Washington's response to the hurricane was slow and inadequate, Bush
said the nation has "every right to expect" more effective
federal action in a time of emergency.
The hurricane killed hundreds of people across five states, forced
major evacuations and caused untold property damage.
Disaster planning must be a "national security
priority," he said, while ordering the Homeland Security Department
to undertake an immediate review of emergency plans in every major
American city and asking all Cabinet secretaries to join in a
comprehensive review of the faulty response. He said the disaster
revealed the need for greater federal authority and a broader role for
the armed forces.
Bush faced the nation at a vulnerable point in his presidency.
Most Americans disapprove of his handling of Katrina, and his
job-approval rating has been dragged down to the lowest point of his
presidency also because of dissatisfaction with the Iraq war and rising
gasoline prices. He has struggled to demonstrate the same take-charge
leadership he displayed after the Sept. 11 terror attacks four years
"When the federal government fails to meet such an
obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the
solution," Bush said. "This government will learn the lessons
of Hurricane Katrina."
Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish near New Orleans,
was happy with Bush's speech. "Mainly he gave hope, and right now
in this area people need hope more than anything," he told CBS'
"The Early Show."
Bush repeated a hot line number, 1-877-568-3317, for people to
call to help reunite family members separated during the hurricane.
Moments later, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., criticized Bush, saying
"Leadership isn't a speech or a toll-free number."
He also proposed creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone in Louisiana,
Mississippi and Alabama offering tax breaks to encourage businesses to
stay in the devastated region and new businesses to open. The White
House said Friday that initiative would cost about $2 billion, as would
the working training grants.
Bush said the goal was to get evacuees out of shelters by
mid-October and into apartments and other homes, with assistance from
the government. He said he would work with Congress to ensure that
states were reimbursed for the cost of caring for evacuees.
Text of President Bush's address
A text of President Bush's address Thursday, as released by The
Good evening. I am speaking to you from the city of New Orleans,
nearly empty, still partly underwater, and waiting for life and hope to
return. Eastward from Lake Pontchartrain, across the Mississippi coast,
to Alabama and into Florida, millions of lives were changed in a day by
a cruel and wasteful storm.
In the aftermath, we have seen fellow citizens left stunned and
uprooted, searching for loved ones, and grieving for the dead and
looking for meaning in a tragedy that seems so blind and random. We have
also witnessed the kind of desperation no citizen of this great and
generous nation should ever have to know-- fellow Americans calling out
for food and water, vulnerable people left at the mercy of criminals who
had no mercy, and the bodies of the dead lying uncovered and untended in
These days of sorrow and outrage have also been marked by acts of
courage and kindness that make all Americans proud. Coast Guard and
other personnel rescued tens of thousands of people from flooded
neighborhoods. Religious congregations and families have welcomed
strangers as brothers and sisters and neighbors.
In the community of Chalmette, when two men tried to break into a
home, the owner invited them to stay and took in 15 other people who had
no place to go. At Tulane Hospital for Children, doctors and nurses
didn't eat for days so patients could have food, and eventually carried
the patients on their backs up eight flights of stairs to helicopters.
Many first responders were victims themselves-- wounded healers,
with a sense of duty greater than their own suffering. When I met Steve
Scott of the Biloxi Fire Department, he and his colleagues were
conducting a house-to-house search for survivors. Steve told me this:
"I lost my house and I lost my cars, but I still got my family ...
and I still got my spirit."
Across the Gulf Coast, among people who have lost much and
suffered much and given to the limit of their power, we are seeing that
same spirit: a core of strength that survives all hurt, a faith in God
no storm can take away and a powerful American determination to clear
the ruins and build better than before.
Tonight so many victims of the hurricane and the flood are far
from home and friends and familiar things. You need to know that our
whole nation cares about you, and in the journey ahead, you are not
alone. To all who carry a burden of loss, I extend the deepest sympathy
of our country. To every person who has served and sacrificed in this
emergency, I offer the gratitude of our country.
And tonight I also offer this pledge of the American people:
Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. We
will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities
and their lives. And all who question the future of the Crescent City
need to know: There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans,
and this great city will rise again.
The work of rescue is largely finished; the work of recovery is
moving forward. In nearly all of Mississippi, electric power has been
restored. Trade is starting to return to the Port of New Orleans, and
agricultural shipments are moving down the Mississippi River. All major
gasoline pipelines are now in operation, preventing the supply
disruptions that many feared.
The breaks in the levees have been closed, the pumps are running,
and the water here in New Orleans is receding by the hour. Environmental
officials are on the ground, taking water samples, identifying and
dealing with hazardous debris, and working to get drinking water and
wastewater treatment systems operating again. And some very sad duties
are being carried out by professionals who gather the dead, treat them
with respect and prepare them for their rest.
In the task of recovery and rebuilding, some of the hardest work
is still ahead and it will require the creative skill and generosity of
a united country.
Our first commitment is to meet the immediate needs of those who
had to flee their homes and leave all their possessions behind. For
these Americans, every night brings uncertainty, every day requires new
courage and the months to come will bring more than their fair share of
The Department of Homeland Security is registering evacuees who
are now in shelters, churches or private homes, whether in the Gulf
region or far away. I have signed an order providing immediate
assistance to people from the disaster area. As of today, more than 500
thousand evacuee families have gotten emergency help to pay for food,
clothing and other essentials.
Evacuees who have not yet registered should contact FEMA or the
Red Cross. We need to know who you are, because many of you will also be
eligible for broader assistance in the future. Many families were
separated during the evacuation, and we are working to help you reunite.
Please call 1-877-568-3317-- that's 1-877-568-3317-- and we will work to
bring your family back together, and pay for your travel to reach them.
In addition, we are taking steps to ensure that evacuees don't
have to travel great distances or navigate bureaucracies to get the
benefits that are there for them. The Department of Health and Human
Services has sent more than 15 hundred health professionals, along with
over 50 tons of medical supplies, including vaccines, antibiotics and
medicines, for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes. The
Social Security Administration is delivering checks. The Department of
Labor is helping displaced persons apply for temporary jobs and
unemployment benefits. And the Postal Service is registering new
addresses so that people can get their mail.
To carry out the first stages of the relief effort and begin the
rebuilding at once, I have asked for, and the Congress has provided,
more than $60 billion. This is an unprecedented response to an
unprecedented crisis, which demonstrates the compassion and resolve of
Our second commitment is to help the citizens of the Gulf Coast to
overcome this disaster, put their lives back together and rebuild their
communities. Along this coast, for mile after mile, the wind and water
swept the land clean. In Mississippi, many thousands of houses were
damaged or destroyed. In New Orleans and surrounding parishes, more than
a quarter million houses are no longer safe to live in. Hundreds of
thousands of people from across this region will need to find
Our goal is to get people out of shelters by the middle of
October. So we are providing direct assistance to evacuees that allows
them to rent apartments, and many already are moving into places of
their own. A number of states have taken in evacuees and shown them
great compassion, admitting children to school and providing health
care. So I will work with Congress to ensure that states are reimbursed
for these extra expenses.
In the disaster area and in cities that have received huge numbers
of displaced people we are beginning to bring in mobile homes and
trailers for temporary use. To relieve the burden on local health care
facilities in the region, we are sending extra doctors and nurses to
these areas. We are also providing money that can be used to cover
overtime pay for police and fire departments while cities and towns
Near New Orleans, Biloxi and other cities, housing is urgently
needed for police and firefighters, other service providers and the many
workers who are going to rebuild those cities. Right now, many are
sleeping on ships we have brought to the Port of New Orleans, and more
ships are on their way to the region. And we will provide mobile homes
and supply them with basic services, as close to the construction areas
as possible, so the rebuilding process can go forward as quickly as
And the federal government will undertake a close partnership with
the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, the city of New Orleans and
other Gulf Coast cities so they can rebuild in a sensible, well planned
way. Federal funds will cover the great majority of the costs of
repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone, from roads and
bridges to schools and water systems. Our goal is to get the work done
quickly. And taxpayers expect this work to be done honestly and wisely,
so we will have a team of inspectors general reviewing all expenditures.
In the rebuilding process, there will be many important decisions
and many details to resolve, yet we are moving forward according to some
clear principles. The federal government will be fully engaged in the
mission, but Governor Barbour, Governor Blanco, Mayor Nagin and other
state and local leaders will have the primary role in planning for their
own future. Clearly, communities will need to move decisively to change
zoning laws and building codes, in order to avoid a repeat of what we
have seen. And in the work of rebuilding, as many jobs as possible
should go to men and women who live in Louisiana, Mississippi and
Our third commitment is this: When communities are rebuilt, they
must be even better and stronger than before the storm. Within the Gulf
region are some of the most beautiful and historic places in America. As
all of us saw on television, there is also some deep, persistent poverty
in this region as well. And that poverty has roots in a history of
racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of
America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So
let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us
rise above the legacy of inequality.
When the streets are rebuilt, there should be many new businesses,
including minority-owned businesses, along those streets. When the
houses are rebuilt, more families should own, not rent, those houses.
When the regional economy revives, local people should be prepared for
the jobs being created. Americans want the Gulf Coast not just to
survive, but to thrive, not just to cope, but to overcome. We want
evacuees to come home for the best of reasons, because they have a real
chance at a better life in a place they love.
When one resident of this city who lost his home was asked by a
reporter if he would relocate, he said, "Naw, I will rebuild but
I'll build higher." That is our vision of the future, in this city
and beyond: We will not just rebuild, we will build higher and better.
To meet this goal, I will listen to good ideas from Congress,
state and local officials, and the private sector. I believe we should
start with three initiatives that the Congress should pass.
Tonight I propose the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone,
encompassing the region of the disaster in Louisiana, Mississippi and
Alabama. Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for
job-creating, investment tax relief for small businesses, incentives to
companies that create jobs, and loans and loan guarantees for small
businesses, including minority-owned enterprises, to get them up and
running again. It is entrepreneurship that creates jobs and opportunity,
it is entrepreneurship that helps break the cycle of poverty and we will
take the side of entrepreneurs as they lead the economic revival of the
I propose the creation of Worker Recovery Accounts to help those
evacuees who need extra help finding work. Under this plan, the federal
government would provide accounts of up to $5,000, which these evacuees
could draw upon for job training and education to help them get a good
job and for child care expenses during their job search.
To help lower-income citizens in the hurricane region build new
and better lives, I also propose that Congress pass an Urban
Homesteading Act. Under this approach, we will identify property in the
region owned by the federal government, and provide building sites to
low-income citizens free of charge, through a lottery. In return, they
would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a
charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. Homeownership is one
of the great strengths of any community, and it must be a central part
of our vision for the revival of this region.
In the long run, the New Orleans area has a particular challenge,
because much of the city lies below sea level. The people who call it
home need to have reassurance that their lives will be safer in the
years to come. Protecting a city that sits lower than the water around
it is not easy, but it can and has been done. City and parish officials
in New Orleans and state officials in Louisiana will have a large part
in the engineering decisions to come, and the Army Corps of Engineers
will work at their side to make the flood protection system stronger
than it has ever been.
The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of
the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. When that
job is done, all Americans will have something to be very proud of, and
all Americans are needed in this common effort. It is the armies of
compassion-- charities and houses of worship and idealistic men and
women-- that give our reconstruction effort its humanity. They offer to
those who hurt a friendly face, an arm around the shoulder and the
reassurance that in hard times, they can count on someone who cares. By
land, by sea and by air, good people wanting to make a difference
deployed to the Gulf Coast, and they have been working around the clock
The cash needed to support the armies of compassion is great, and
Americans have given generously. For example, the private fundraising
effort led by former Presidents Bush and Clinton has already received
pledges of more than $100 million. Some of that money is going to
governors, to be used for immediate needs within their states. A portion
will also be sent to local houses of worship, to help reimburse them for
the expense of helping others. This evening the need is still urgent,
and I ask the American people to continue donating to the Salvation
Army, the Red Cross, other good charities and religious congregations in
It is also essential for the many organizations of our country to
reach out to your fellow citizens in the Gulf area. So I have asked USA
Freedom Corps to create an information clearinghouse, available at
usafreedomcorps.gov, so that families anywhere in the country can find
opportunities to help families in the region or a school can support a
school. And I challenge existing organizations-- churches, Scout troops
or labor union locals-- to get in touch with their counterparts in
Mississippi, Louisiana or Alabama, and learn what they can do to help.
In this great national enterprise, important work can be done by
everyone, and everyone should find their role and do their part.
The government of this nation will do its part as well. Our cities
must have clear and up-to-date plans for responding to natural
disasters, disease outbreaks or terrorist attack, for evacuating large
numbers of people in an emergency and for providing the food, water and
security they would need. In a time of terror threats and weapons of
mass destruction, the danger to our citizens reaches much wider than a
fault line or a flood plain. I consider detailed emergency planning to
be a national security priority. Therefore, I have ordered the
Department of Homeland Security to undertake an immediate review, in
cooperation with local counterparts, of emergency plans in every major
city in America.
I also want to know all the facts about the government response to
Hurricane Katrina. The storm involved a massive flood, a major supply
and security operation, and an evacuation order affecting more than a
million people. It was not a normal hurricane and the normal disaster
relief system was not equal to it. Many of the men and women of the
Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States
military, the National Guard, Homeland Security and state and local
governments performed skillfully under the worst conditions. Yet the
system, at every level of government, was not well coordinated and was
overwhelmed in the first few days. It is now clear that a challenge on
this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the
armed forces, the institution of our government most capable of massive
logistical operations on a moment's notice.
Four years after the frightening experience of September 11th,
Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time
of emergency. When the federal government fails to meet such an
obligation, I, as President, am responsible for the problem, and for the
solution. So I have ordered every Cabinet secretary to participate in a
comprehensive review of the government response to the hurricane. This
government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. We are going to
review every action and make necessary changes, so that we are better
prepared for any challenge of nature, or act of evil men, that could
threaten our people.
The United States Congress also has an important oversight
function to perform. Congress is preparing an investigation, and I will
work with members of both parties to make sure this effort is thorough.
In the life of this nation, we have often been reminded that
nature is an awesome force, and that all life is fragile. We are the
heirs of men and women who lived through those first terrible winters at
Jamestown and Plymouth, who rebuilt Chicago after a great fire, and San
Francisco after a great earthquake, who reclaimed the prairie from the
dust bowl of the 1930s. Every time, the people of this land have come
back from fire, flood and storm to build anew and to build better than
what we had before. Americans have never left our destiny to the whims
of nature and we will not start now.
These trials have also reminded us that we are often stronger than
we know, with the help of grace and one another. They remind us of a
hope beyond all pain and death, a God who welcomes the lost to a house
not made with hands. And they remind us that we are tied together in
this life, in this nation, and that the despair of any touches us all.
I know that when you sit on the steps of a porch where a home once
stood or sleep on a cot in a crowded shelter it is hard to imagine a
bright future. But that future will come. The streets of Biloxi and
Gulfport will again be filled with lovely homes and the sound of
children playing. The churches of Alabama will have their broken
steeples mended and their congregations whole. And here in New Orleans,
the streetcars will once again rumble down St. Charles, and the
passionate soul of a great city will return.
In this place, there is a custom for the funerals of jazz
musicians. The funeral procession parades slowly through the streets,
followed by a band playing a mournful dirge as it moves to the cemetery.
Once the casket has been laid in place, the band breaks into a joyful
"second line" symbolizing the triumph of the spirit over
death. Tonight the Gulf Coast is still coming through the dirge, yet we
will live to see the second line.
Thank you, and may God bless America.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved
Bush's New Orleans
By Wayne Madsen
- Bush announces plan to help big business
to "recover" from Hurricane Katrina. Speaking in
a Karl Rove-staged photo op from New Orleans last night,
President Bush announced a series of measures that will
ensure tax breaks for big business, a permanent Diaspora
for the city's poor, and the future gentrification of poor
and middle class sections of the flooded city. The Bush
speech was full of corporate contrivances that dodge the
type of assistance that is actually needed for the
displaced population of the New Orleans metropolitan
- Bush recently named CIA Leakgate suspect
Karl Rove as his point man for the rebuilding efforts on
the Gulf Coast. The Bush speech reflected both Rove's
emphasis on spin and a lack of interest in the plight of
the poor. Although Bush accepted responsibility for the
"problem" of his administration's poor response
effort, he quickly diverted his priorities to workers'
recovery accounts (something that sounds suspiciously like
medical savings accounts); a "Gulf Opportunity
Zone" offering big tax breaks to corporations in
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama; and a homestead
lottery scheme to build homes on federal lands.
- Bush did not address the immediate and
long-term focused concerns for the people of the Gulf
Coast. For example, FEMA continues to block needed
assistance to the homeless residents of the region.
- Bush failed to provide incentives for
people to return to their homes. He also failed to insist
on incentives for minority-owned businesses to participate
in rebuilding efforts. Yesterday, Rev. Jesse Jackson told
a Washington, DC press conference that there are 300
trucks in Memphis loaded with ice, water, and food with an
additional 1000 trucks standing by at warehouses across
the country. These trucks have not been granted permission
by FEMA to move out to the Gulf Coast, where some poor
towns, particularly in Mississippi, have not yet seen
either FEMA or the Red Cross. 1800 children are still
separated from their parents and Bush said nothing to
assure parents and their children that they will soon be
- What many members of the Congressional
Black Caucus and African American national leadership have
called for in relief and reconstruction efforts were not
addressed by Bush.
- There were no proposals by Bush for
- * an "adopt-a-family" tax
- * a one-time FEMA help grant for
orphaned and homeless children
- * a bankruptcy relief provision, provide
temporary housing at all available federal government
assets (including many closed military bases in the Gulf
- * the setting of a 50 percent residency
target for all contracts
- * setting a 40 percent minority vendor
target for all reconstruction
- * a moratorium on all contracts until
civil rights provisions are restored (Davis Bacon minimum
wage requirements, minority contract set asides)
- * permit the admittance of minority
community-based counselors in evacuation facilities
- * Justice Department assistance in
individual cases of arrested and detained individuals,
ensure evacuees can vote in state and local elections
(including February 2006 election)
- * ensure home owners have the right of
first refusal to reclaim property
- * freeze all foreclosures against
property in affected area for a minimum of 12 months
- * legal protections against predatory
- * prohibition of collections and
deficiency judgments on real and personal property
- * prohibition on negative credit
reporting or omission of negative events from credit
- * voluntary waiver of late fees or
interest on loans for a period of at least three months
- * establish a diverse commission to
monitor the equitable distribution of relief resources by
- the Red Cross, and Salvation Army
- * develop an action plan to secure
wetlands in coastal areas of the U.S.
- * stop the rollback and waivers of
- * and develop a comprehensive strategy
to address the poverty crisis in America.
- Many Gulf Coast residents see a lot of
promises from Bush's plan with no guarantees he will
follow through. Already, House and Senate conservative
Republicans are carping about the Federal price tag for
the reconstruction. These include Sen. John McCain, who is
already politicking for the 2008 GOP presidential
nomination on the backs of the people of the Gulf Coast
who lost everything. McCain has no problem spending
billions of dollars on a failed war in Iraq -- a ploy by
McCain to further ingratiate himself to the neo-cons in
the Republican Party.
- Bush asks America to trust him to plan
the recovery of the Gulf Coast when he couldn't even plan
to use the potty before addressing the United Nations on
its 60th anniversary. The fool embarrassed America before
160 assembled world leaders. A Reuters photographer
snapped this unforgettable presidential bloated bladder
- Dallas Meeting Plans
N.O. Rebuilding -
Without Poor Blacks
By Wayne Madsen
Dallas meeting plans reconstruction of New
Orleans without poor African Americans. According to
well-informed New Orleans sources, New Orleans' wealthiest
families, including those who are direct descendants of the
French who settled New Orleans (not the Acadians [Cajuns] who
were poor refugees from British tyranny in Nova Scotia) are
meeting in Dallas today with Bush administration officials,
New Orleans city officials, wealthy Texas oilmen, and bankers
to plan for the reconstruction of New Orleans. These wealthy
New Orleans residents live in the gated community of Audobon
Place, a section of the city near the Garden District replete
with personal helipads that still has running water and sewage
and was only slightly affected by hurricane Katrina. It is now
reportedly being patrolled by private Israeli security forces.
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal ran a piece with more details
on this story.
The Dallas meeting focused on rebuilding
and re-zoning New Orleans without the "criminal
element," a code word for the city's poor African
These New Orleans residents have been
scattered across the United States and are now under the
control of FEMA. There is an understanding by the wealthy New
Orleans elite that the poor will never be able to return. The
Journal reported that the person who chaired the Dallas
meeting was Jimmy Riess, one of the wealthy New Orleans elite
who also served as Mayor Ray Nagin's Chairman of the Regional
Transit Authority, which is in charge of the city's buses,
trolleys, and trains. New Orleans sources report that public
transportation was purposely not used to evacuate the poor New
Orleans residents as a means to depopulate the poorer and more
flood-prone sections of the city.
In fact, after the properties in New
Orleans poorer communities are razed many of the deed records
of the poor and middle class contained in government offices
and title companies of Orleans Parish and neighboring
Jefferson Parish may end up being casualties of the flood. As
one New Orleans source put it, "people will not have
proof they ever owned anything." As for renters and
residents of public housing, they will be prevented from
returning to their native city, according to New Orleans
sources. Louisiana's Republican House member Richard Baker, a
strong Bush ally, may have tipped his hand about the future
plans for New Orleans when he told a group of lobbyists,
"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We
couldn't do it, but God did."
Guess Who Is Planning the Rebuilding of New
The French-American elite of New Orleans
are among the city's "rich and famous." They run the
Mardi Gras "crews" (Krews) or clubs, secret
hereditary societies that sponsor the annual pre-Lenten
festival. Many also run large oil companies and are long time
supporters of the Bush family and their associated oil and gas
People Rebuild New Orleans
On September 4, 2005, six days after Katrina hit, I saw the
first glimmer of hope. "The people of New Orleans will
not go quietly into the night, scattering across this country
to become homeless in countless other cities while federal
relief funds are funneled into rebuilding casinos, hotels,
chemical plants.... We will not stand idly by while this
disaster is used as an opportunity to replace our homes with
newly built mansions and condos in a gentrified New
The statement came from Community Labor United, a
coalition of low-income groups in New Orleans. It went on to
demand that a committee made up of evacuees "oversee FEMA,
the Red Cross and other organizations collecting resources on
behalf of our people.... We are calling for evacuees from our
community to actively participate in the rebuilding of New
It's a radical concept: The $10.5 billion released by
Congress and the $500 million raised by private charities
doesn't actually belong to the relief agencies or the
government; it belongs to the victims. The agencies entrusted
with the money should be accountable to them. Put another way,
the people Barbara Bush tactfully described as
"underprivileged anyway" just got very rich.
Except relief and reconstruction never seem to work like
that. When I was in Sri Lanka six months after the tsunami,
many survivors told me that the reconstruction was victimizing
them all over again. A council of the country's most prominent
businesspeople had been put in charge of the process, and they
were handing the coast over to tourist developers at a frantic
pace. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of poor fishing people
were still stuck in sweltering inland camps, patrolled by
soldiers with machine guns and entirely dependent on relief
agencies for food and water. They called reconstruction
"the second tsunami."
There are already signs that New Orleans evacuees could
face a similarly brutal second storm. Jimmy Reiss, chairman of
the New Orleans Business Council, told Newsweek that he
has been brainstorming about how "to use this catastrophe
as a once-in-an-eon opportunity to change the dynamic."
The Business Council's wish list is well-known: low wages, low
taxes, more luxury condos and hotels. Before the flood, this
highly profitable vision was already displacing thousands of
poor African-Americans: While their music and culture was for
sale in an increasingly corporatized French Quarter (where
only 4.3 percent of residents are black), their housing
developments were being torn down. "For white tourists
and businesspeople, New Orleans' reputation is 'a great place
to have a vacation but don't leave the French Quarter or
you'll get shot,'" Jordan Flaherty, a New Orleans-based
labor organizer told me the day after he left the city by
boat. "Now the developers have their big chance to
disperse the obstacle to gentrification--poor people."
Here's a better idea: New Orleans could be reconstructed
by and for the very people most victimized by the flood.
Schools and hospitals that were falling apart before could
finally have adequate resources; the rebuilding could create
thousands of local jobs and provide massive skills training in
decent paying industries. Rather than handing over the
reconstruction to the same corrupt elite that failed the city
so spectacularly, the effort could be led by groups like
Douglass Community Coalition. Before the hurricane this
remarkable assembly of parents, teachers, students and artists
was trying to reconstruct the city from the ravages of poverty
by transforming Frederick Douglass Senior High School into a
model of community learning. They have already done the
painstaking work of building consensus around education
reform. Now that the funds are flowing, shouldn't they have
the tools to rebuild every ailing public school in the city?
For a people's reconstruction process to become a
reality (and to keep more contracts from going to
Halliburton), the evacuees must be at the center of all
decision-making. According to Curtis Muhammad of Community
Labor United, the disaster's starkest lesson is that
African-Americans cannot count on any level of government to
protect them. "We had no caretakers," he says. That
means the community groups that do represent African-Americans
in Louisiana and Mississippi -- many of which lost staff,
office space and equipment in the flood -- need our support
now. Only a massive injection of cash and volunteers will
enable them to do the crucial work of organizing evacuees --
currently scattered through forty-one states--into a powerful
political constituency. The most pressing question is where
evacuees will live over the next few months. A dangerous
consensus is building that they should collect a little
charity, apply for a job at the Houston Wal-Mart and move on.
Muhammad and CLU, however, are calling for the right to
return: they know that if evacuees are going to have houses
and schools to come back to, many will need to return to their
home states and fight for them.
These ideas are not without precedent. When Mexico City
was struck by a devastating earthquake in 1985, the state also
failed the people: poorly constructed public housing crumbled
and the army was ready to bulldoze buildings with survivors
still trapped inside. A month after the quake 40,000 angry
refugees marched on the government, refusing to be relocated
out of their neighborhoods and demanding a "Democratic
Reconstruction." Not only were 50,000 new dwellings for
the homeless built in a year; the neighborhood groups that
grew out of the rubble launched a movement that is challenging
Mexico's traditional power holders to this day.
And the people I met in Sri Lanka have grown tired of
waiting for the promised relief. Some survivors are now
calling for a People's Planning Commission for Post-Tsunami
Recovery. They say the relief agencies should answer to them;
it's their money, after all.
The idea could take hold in the United States, and it
must. Because there is only one thing that can compensate the
victims of this most human of natural disasters, and that is
what has been denied them throughout: power. It will be a long
and difficult battle, but New Orleans' evacuees should draw
strength from the knowledge that they are no longer poor
people; they are rich people who have been temporarily locked
out of their bank accounts.
Those wanting to donate to a people's reconstruction
can make checks out to the Vanguard Public Foundation, 383
Rhode Island St., Suite 301, San Francisco, CA 94103. Checks
should be earmarked "People's Hurricane Fund."
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Published on Saturday, October 15, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
New Orleans Can Give New Life to the Cooperative Movement
by Ralph Nader
New Orleans, the largest city devastated by two Hurricanes, lies in
ruins. The reconstruction plans are forming and the usual commercial
interests are in the forefront to receive large subsidies, federal
overpayments and special immunities from having to meet labor,
environmental and other normal legal safeguards for the people.
The corporate looting of New Orleans is underway. The charges of
corruption, political favoritism and poor delivery of services by
corporate contractors for government projects are already being leveled
by the media and some alert officials. After all, over $100 billion of
taxpayer monies will be flowing to New Orleans and the Gulf area
communities in the next
Plans for the new New Orleans by the large corporate developers are not
including many poor or low income families in their plans. These
developers see a smaller ritzier New Orleans with gentrified
neighborhoods and acres of entertainment, gambling and tourist
industries. In a phrase, the corporatization of New Orleans'
A different more cooperative scenario needs attention. Here is a
flattened major city in America where a
cooperative economy can take hold that puts people first, that allows
the return of low-income families back home with dignity,
self-determination and opportunity.
Cooperatives are businesses owned by their consumers. They operate as
non-profits. They are all over the
United States and are often taken for granted by their customer-owners.
There are housing cooperatives. There are health cooperatives like the
successful Puget Sound Health Coop in Seattle. There are banking
cooperatives called credit unions with 50 million members. There are
food store cooperatives and even
energy cooperatives in farm country from refineries to pipelines to gas
stations. These are electric
cooperatives providing electricity to millions of rural Americans. There
are student coops in Universities all over the country.
All these different cooperatives have their national and sometimes their
state associations. They know how
to spread their numbers, though I often wish they would do so more
aggressively and more distinctly from
the dominant corporate commercial model.
New Orleans provides possibly the finest opportunity in many years for
the cooperative movement to make
itself known and to save New Orleans from being looted by corporate
predators of various stripes who are
presently designing the new New Orleans. Cooperatives demand grass roots
organization and customer
responsibility or they cannot exist. Cooperators, as customers are
called, started these cooperatives in
the early days-both consumer and producer cooperatives-throughout farm
Cooperative principles and member participation have been undermined by
the hectic pace of a commuting
workforce in a corporate economy that requires two breadwinners or more
per family to have a chance at a
middle class standard of living. Cooperatives provide many tangible and
intangible community values but they
need the time of their members to truly flower.
New Orleans and other Hurricane-stricken communities can give new life
to the cooperative movement, and it
can give new life to the shattered lives of these residents as they try
to rebuild their livelihoods.
I called up James R. Jones, the executive director of the National
Association of Student Organizations
(NASCO) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and tendered these suggestions. He was
quite receptive. What is needed is
for all the various category cooperatives mentioned above, and others
too, to convene a planning session
about how to introduce cooperatives to the neighborhoods and commercial
districts of New Orleans.
There is a little known Bank in Washington, D.C., originally established
by Congress in 1978, but now
private, whose sole purpose is to provide loans and technical assistance
to existing and startup
cooperatives. It has provided substantial credit for housing
cooperatives and has a development division
whose mission is to help cooperatives in low income areas. The National
Cooperative Bank is an asset to be
Along with other national associations of different kinds of
cooperatives, many in Washington, D.C., there
is the National Cooperative Business Association-an umbrella
organization of the cooperative subeconomy.
The National Rural Electric Association represents many rural electric
systems. Co-op America promotes
the sales of small producer cooperatives selling a variety of useful
products from clothing to food to
sporting goods to arts and crafts.
It will not be easy for cooperatives, large and small, to pull together
for the renaissance of New Orleans
and other neighboring towns in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. But,
oh, how important a contribution it
could become for our entire economy, so gouged, so controlled by
absentee multinationals, so inimical to community economics and control,
to succeed in the wake of these Hurricanes.
People interested in this cooperative mission or cooperatives generally
can contact the following websites:
To send your reactions, write me at PO Box 19312,
Washington, D.C., 20036.
|New Orleans Ordered to
Evacuate as Hurricane Katrina Approaches ... NEW ORLEANS,
AUGUST 29: Hurricane Katrina pounded parts of Louisiana and
YOU GIVING UP YOUR FREEDOMS FOR SECURITY?
|NEW ORLEANS -- It's a
groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect
... Defillo said he doesn't envision any problems in New Orleans,
|In Mandeville, across Lake
Pontchartrain from New Orleans, Carol Barcia, 47, ...
And throughout the New Orleans area people were baffled
and frightened by ...
|New Orleans received its
first rain since Hurricane Katrina all but destroyed ...
Rita brought steady rain to New Orleans for the first
time since Katrina. ...
DID ABRAHAM LINCOLN FREE THE SLAVES?
|... from New Orleans
and this was where Lincoln got his second nick-name. ...
St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of
New Orleans), ...
Hurricane History: September 1935
|7. Northeast Coast, 1944, 3, 390. 8.
Grande Isle, La. 1909, 4, 350. 9. New Orleans, La. 1915,
4, 275. 10. Galveston, Texas, 1915, 4, 275 ...
EXPLOSION - A PROBLEM TO SURVIVAL OF HUMAN EXISTENCE
|Comments and phrases like "New Orleans
is a scene from the Third World", "Like the Third
World", "US handles the ... Reply: New Orleans
is next to Somalia." ...
|In the days following the storm and
the mass evacuation of New Orleans, some 7205 adults were
... KATRINA HITS NEW ORLEANS SEE HOW TO HELP ON
THIS PAGE ...
|NEW ORLEANS - When people saw
water sloshing about in ponds, ... In the New Orleans
area — more than 3000 miles away — residents saw water slosh
about as a ...
DREAMS AND DREAM VOICES
|The first game was against New Orleans.
The day before the game, someone said the game was being played
in New Orleans. The coach had told us it was played ...
BELIEVERS - THE DREAM AND THE REALITY - A STUDY IN CULTS
|In New Orleans is very
private, with many government regulations... but in Haiti they
have a "tour" to bring you to a real Woodoo session...
and you are ...
& THE LORD OF THE FLIES - A DREAM
|One killed, 3 wounded at New Orleans
school. Associated Press. NEW ORLEANS -- One student was
shot and killed and three others were wounded Monday at a New ...
MANIPULATION and THE RESULTS
|Was New Orleans' Hurricane
Katrina disaster another deliberately created "spike" ...
Could Katrina have been redirected to intentionally strike New Orleans?
and RACE RIOTS
|The war in New Orleans is not
between black and white. It is a war between workingmen, and the
prize they battle for is a "job"; and that job means
the same ...
- A PROPHECY - 1999
|... is rushed into an
ambulance at Cairine Wilson Secondary School in Orleans
yesterday. A 15-year-old Orleans high school boy ran amok
with a steak knife ...
|New Orleans Urges People to
Take Shelter. By ALLEN G. BREED Associated Press Writer. NEW ORLEANS
(AP)--With 135-mph Hurricane Ivan closing in with ...
|LA, New York, New Orleans and
almost all of Florida were under water. A huge section of the
central US coming up the Mississippi River was under water. ...
HOMELESS ARE DYING
|... the increases were 26
percent in Trenton; 25 percent in Kansas City, Mo.; 22 percent
in Chicago; 20 percent in Denver; and 20 percent in New Orleans.
HURRICANES OF 2005
|Tropical storm warnings and
hurricane watches were posted from Florida to Louisiana,
including New Orleans, as top sustained winds reached 60
York Airport Disaster
|Experts now believe that
after Miami and New Orleans, New York City is
considered the third most dangerous major city for the
next hurricane disaster. ...
MILLS - THEY MUST BE STOPPED
|NEW ORLEANS (AP) -
Four dogs with encephalitis-symptoms had the West Nile
virus, state officials said in one of the first signs
the disease may be becoming ...
|Prior Service/Active Duty,
No Prior Service/Civilian. USNR | 4400 Dauphine St. |
New Orleans, LA 70461. Gallery, |, Glossary, |,
Navy.com ... ...
AND 11:11 - PART IV
|Luckily, I grew up in a
'receiver' town (New Orleans), that was full of
people that could hear. Anyway, here's what I have come
to believe and what I would ...
REASONS FOR SATAN
|... the French
Revolution fresh in our memories, these reflections
readily recall the revolutionary noble par excellence,
Philippe Egalité, Duke of Orleans. ...
|NEW ORLEANS –– An
analysis of weather patterns over the past century
indicates that increased storm activity over the last
five years should continue for ...
AND WHITE - THE PROBLEMS IN GUATEMALA
|... Gulf coast area
(including New Orleans), to Corpus Christi &
Laredo, Texas; and across Mexico north of Monterrey and
La Paz, Baja California. ...
AIR YOU BREATHE IS MAKING YOU SICK
|Mar 4 1999 Reuters Pollution
Fight Begun at US "Cancer Alley", a 85-mile
long petrochemical corridor from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.
CRASH - TENNESSEE
|As word of the crash spread,
some passengers were making arrangements to extend their
stay in New Orleans. "It won't make any
difference to me," Greyhound ...
COMING GLOBAL SUPERSTORM
|NEW ORLEANS –– An
analysis of weather patterns over the past century
indicates that increased storm activity over the last
five years should continue ...
WARMING - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 compiled by Dee Finney DO NOT ...
|... to New Orleans
and to Shanghai, China - near-coastal cities already
below sea level, sinking on their own, and further
endangered by expanding oceans. ...
|In Orleans and
Jefferson parishes, a tornado watch remains in effect
until 1 pm. Meanwhile, 11 homes in the Bienville Parish
community of Fryeburg were ...
Serial Killer" (24 +/-) There is a possible serial
killer, ... A New Orleans police officer,
Victor Gant is the suspect in the murders of two ...
CHANGE MAPS and MAP DATABASE
|... Virtual San Diego
(Planet 9 Studios) · Virtual New York (Planet 9
Studios) · Virtual New Orleans (Planet 9
Studios) · Virtual Denver (Planet 9 Studios) ...
FLOODS IN HISTORY
|MASSIVE FLOODS IN HISTORY. A
WARNING FOR THE FUTURE? compiled by Dee Finney. updated
8-31-05. SEE: HURRICANE KATRINA IN NEW ORLEANS
August 2005 ...
|In New Orleans,
protesters are planning to hold a traditional jazz
funeral to mourn ... Protesters in New Orleans
planned what they call a jazz funeral for ...
|... reduced robberies
in stores in Highland Park, Michigan, and in New Orleans;
a grocers organization's gun clinics produced the same
result in Detroit. ...
-107 SHUTTLE TRAGEDY OF FEBRUARY 1, 2003 AND DREAM PROPHECY
|Investigators were expected
to arrive Sunday at a Lockheed Martin plant in New Orleans
where the 154-foot external fuel tanks are built.
STATE - PROTEST - A DREAM
|The war in the Middle East
hit the streets of New Orleans Friday as local
Palestinians and those sympathetic to their views
rallied downtown. ...
|NEW ORLEANS –– An
analysis of weather patterns over the past century ...
www.greatdreams.com/1964-patterns.htm. Getting Ready for
Impact with 1998 OX4? ...
CRASH IN TORONTO
Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. need to
check if a 737 can land in all those airports ...
PRESIDENTIAL CABINET - HILARY CLINTON VS CLONING - THE DREAM ...
|Several zoos and
conservation societies--including the Audubon Institute
Center for Research of Endangered Species (AICRES) in
New Orleans, which is led by ...
BY REGULAR PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME
bridge in the car and I look out to where New Orleans
would be, but it is now covered with water.
In my weirdest dream, I am in South America and it is ...
OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER 9-11-2001
|Louisiana Offshore Oil Port,
which handles supertankers in the Gulf of Mexico south
of New Orleans, suspended operations. In
California, Gov. ...
ON FOREIGN RELATIONS (CFR)
Conservative Society of America. Curtis B. Dall, 1970.
FDR My Exploited Father-In-Law. Washington DC: Action
DREAMS - MUSIC PAGE
|Music from a CD recorded by
a New Orleans funk band George Villiers http://www.demon.co.uk/lionhart
London, England Music guitar and midi compositions by ...
DREAMS AND VISIONS - APRIL, 2001
|and Mary's visit to New Orleans
was errant .... I then saw the same blonde woman, she
walked up to a white haired man and grabbed him by the
side of his ...
|Near the town of Covington
Louisiana, just above New Orleans. The outside
world learned about Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp
Monster in 1974 when two ...
THE GASOLINE PRICE PROBLEM TAKE DOWN THE ECONOMY
|HURRICANE KATRINA IN NEW ORLEANS
8-25-05 through 8-31-05. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
said the White House will tap the US Strategic Petroleum
Reserve to ...
DREAMS AND VISIONS
|NOTE: This whole dream
reminds me of what happened to the black people in New Orleans
during Hurricane Katrina. *
|American Family Association,
New York State Chapter. American Family Association of
New Orleans (Louisiana) · American Family
Association Action Index ...
OF RECORDS AND CDS
|I was told her name was
Mary, and Mary's visit to New Orleans was errant
.... I then saw the same blonde woman, she walked up to
a white haired man and ...
OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES - MAIN INDEX