Print Story Unacceptable
Diary
By aphrael (Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 09:11:00 AM EST) (all tags)
It's been seven months since New Orleans was all but destroyed. Seven months is a long time; the public attention has turned elsewhere, and much of the anger that built up in the early weeks of September has dissipated.

Poppy Z Brite, a novelist from New Orleans, reports that perhaps the public attention shouldn't have gone elsewhere, and that it is too early for our anger to fade.




Most of the city is still officially uninhabitable. We and most other current New Orleanians live in what is sometimes known as The Sliver By The River, a section between the Mississippi River and St. Charles Avenue that didn't flood, as well as in the French Quarter and part of the Faubourg Marigny. In the "uninhabitable sections," there are hundreds of people living clandestinely in their homes with no lights, power, or (in many cases) drinkable water. They cannot afford generators or the gasoline it takes to run them, or if they have generators, they can only run them for part of the day. They cook on camp stoves and light their homes with candles or oil lamps at night.

Seven months later, most of the city is still uninhabitable.


Many parts of the city have had no trash pickup -- either FEMA or municipal -- for weeks. Things improved for a while, but now there are nearly as many piles of debris and stinking garbage as there were right after the storm.

This means the city is a public health and environmental disaster waiting to happen.


There is hardly any medical care in the city. As far as I know, only two hospitals and an emergency facility in the convention center are currently operating. Emergency room patients, even those having serious symptoms like chest pains, routinely wait eight hours or more to be seen by a doctor. We have, I believe, 600 hospital beds in a city whose population is approaching (and may have surpassed) 250,000.

You'd get better medical care in much of the third world.


Cadaver dogs and youth volunteers gutting houses are still finding bodies in the Lower Ninth Ward. Of course these corpses are just skeletons by now -- the other day they found a six-year-old girl with an older person, possibly a grandmother, located near her -- and they may never be identified. The bodies are hidden under debris piles and collapsed houses.

Seven months later and they're still finding bodies.

Like most non-locals, I thought much of this had been cleaned up. I'd expected the rubble had been bulldozed, the streets had been cleared, and the abandoned parts of town readied for reconstruction. That's a happy, optimistic, myth: an understanding of things as they should have been, not as they are.

FEMA, DHS, the State of Louisiana, and the city government of New Orleans all failed in September of last year; and they are continuing to fail, every day. Their failure is unnacceptable ... but nobody who has the power to do anything about it cares.

And that, perhaps, is the most depressing realization of the entire thing: an American city has been turned into a third-world hellhole, its government is incapable of fixing it, the federal government is incapable of fixing it, and nobody cares.

So much for modern fucking civilization.

< Knowledge and Education | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Unacceptable | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Those people turned to Jesus *way* too late. by ammoniacal (3.00 / 3) #1 Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 09:35:20 AM EST
If it is God's will, the city will return.

Let the message of Katrina be a warning to all the sinful Kingdoms of Men.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

sadly by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 10:41:51 AM EST
this is significantly kinder than what my aunt said about New Orleans.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Dude, you just described most rustbelt cities by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 12:30:39 PM EST
sure, they're not as bad a New Orleans, but if you want to look at blocks of boarded up stores and houses, vacant overgrown lots, crack house, extreme poverty, with the Fed caring not a whit, head into any northeastern innner city. During Husistock, you could have driven into downtown Buffalo and seem all sorts of desolation.


yes, by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 12:57:45 PM EST
fashionable academics refer to that with phrases likes "black holes of globalization."

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
i spent one night by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 02:02:53 PM EST
in a hotel in downtown buffalo, and it did feel desolate in the sense of abandoned, and the people wandering around were poor.

but it did NOT have piles of garbage and/or disintegrating houses with rotting bodies.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
can't you think of more deserving people? by martingale (2.00 / 2) #6 Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 02:03:16 PM EST
I can. Let me count the ways.

Trash in the streets. (nuOrlens = 1, iRaq = 1).

Destroyed landmarks. (nuOrlens = 1, iRaq = 1).

Large parts uninhabitable. (nuOrlens = 1, iRaq = 1).

No electricity or drinkable water. (nuOrlens = 1, iRaq = 1).

Hospitals without actual medical supplies. (nuOrlens = 0, iRaq = 1).

Foreigners stealing the oil. (nuOrlens = 0, iRaq = 1).

Rapists and kidnappers trawling the streets. (nuOrlens = 0, iRaq = 1).

Crazy racist kids with guns and body armour. (nuOrlens = 0, iRaq = 1).

50 people killed every day. (nuOrlens = 0, iRaq = 1).

Crazy religious nutters in power. (nuOrlens = 1, iRaq = 1).

So there you have it, iRaq is 100% more deserving than nuOrlens. Perhaps the public attention shouldn't have gone from iRaq elsewhere.

And I didn't even have to mention the torture.
--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

Ummm... by theboz (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:55:51 AM EST
Since when was the media only allowed to have one story at a time?
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Sadly Aphrael, as you can see . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Apr 02, 2006 at 06:46:49 AM EST
. . . by the apathy displayed by some here, people really DON'T care about anybody but themselves. They are willing to make comments that might distance themselves from blame or guilt, or worse yet, trivialise the tragedy. A sad state of affairs, and frankly, the more I look at it, the more I see a correlation between this apathy and the large percentage of poor brown-skinned folk who were affected.

Appalling that they haven't cleaned up all the bodies yet . . . do keep us updated on what's going on. One person reporting on the ongoing realities and trying to help out is better than none.

Sorry by ayrlander (2.00 / 2) #8 Sun Apr 02, 2006 at 12:54:48 PM EST
I must admit to being one of the more callous ones.  The federal government didn't build New Orleans in the middle of a floodplain in the first place; as such, the federal government shouldn't rebuild it.  If the citizens wish to rebuild on their own, that's their prerogative, but it's not government's responsibility.  I'm more saddened that the individuals who called the city home aren't stepping up to the plate to fix their own problems, and instead keep waiting for the ever-expected handout that they didn't have to do diddily for.  I'd feel more sympathetic if they cared enough about their own city to come back closer and start cleaning it up rather than staying in hotels in Houston waiting for the city to magically fix itself.

Did you even bother to read what he wrote? by theboz (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 07:22:54 AM EST
I'm more saddened that the individuals who called the city home aren't stepping up to the plate to fix their own problems, and instead keep waiting for the ever-expected handout that they didn't have to do diddily for. I'd feel more sympathetic if they cared enough about their own city to come back closer and start cleaning it up rather than staying in hotels in Houston waiting for the city to magically fix itself.
If it will make it easier for you to comprehend, let me post specific quotes from what he said:
In the "uninhabitable sections," there are hundreds of people living clandestinely in their homes with no lights, power, or (in many cases) drinkable water. They cannot afford generators or the gasoline it takes to run them, or if they have generators, they can only run them for part of the day. They cook on camp stoves and light their homes with candles or oil lamps at night.
People are living there, not just in "hotels in Houston", and are unable to do anything to fix their city, perhaps because they lost everything they had. I don't know, it could just be a guess.
Cadaver dogs and youth volunteers gutting houses are still finding bodies in the Lower Ninth Ward. Of course these corpses are just skeletons by now -- the other day they found a six-year-old girl with an older person, possibly a grandmother, located near her -- and they may never be identified. The bodies are hidden under debris piles and collapsed houses.
You find it acceptable that we are still finding bodies there? Seriously, ignore your selfish "don't waste mah tax money on da drownin niggas" bullshit, but from a purely human standpoint, how would you feel if your mom and six year old daughter were missing since last summer and their skeletons were just found last week? Can you imagine how it would feel to be trying to track the down through every charity service, calling every relative daily, and being unable to sleep at night for months wondering where they were? These people are fucking suffering, and nobody has stepped up to help them rebuild their lives for the most part. The government organization that is responsible for emergencies failed them, then the government which gives tons of money to help white people rebuild Florida every few years has failed to give the people of New Orleans and other areas hit by the storms the means to rebuild anywhere.

I would hope that you simply were not thinking of what the people went through, only thinking from what Fox News told you or whatever, but try to think about what they have gone through before you start criticizing them.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n

[ Parent ]
Wow by ayrlander (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 09:04:38 AM EST

I went from being critical of relying on government support, to being a racist. Neat.

People are living there, not just in "hotels in Houston", and are unable to do anything to fix their city, perhaps because they lost everything they had.

According to what was posted, "hundreds" are living in their ruined houses. Out of how many who used to live there? I was referring to those who left and do have means and simply complain, and you say I don't care about those who are still there. We were talking about two different people, the latter of which I said nothing about. There's still a third category of people, those who fled and literally have no where else to go, but I wasn't referring to them either. If my post painted too wide a brush, I apologize.

But what happened with the charity donations? Or the temporary relief workers who came from across the country to help (one of which was almost my wife, if she'd been selected)? Or the people who left and won't come back until things are exactly the way they were before they left, the ones who were not "da drownin niggas"?

how would you feel if your mom and six year old daughter were missing since last summer and their skeletons were just found last week?

Pretty shitty. I don't recall saying that was a horrible thing to experience, either.

Can you imagine how it would feel to be trying to track the down through every charity service, calling every relative daily, and being unable to sleep at night for months wondering where they were?

Nope.

I would hope that you simply were not thinking of what the people went through, only thinking from what Fox News told you or whatever, but try to think about what they have gone through before you start criticizing them.

Again, we were talking about two different classes of people, and I regret that my comments were so strongly worded that this was not apparent. But just because I don't think government is 100% of the solution for rebuilding, doesn't mean I don't care about the city rebuilding or what happened with its people.



[ Parent ]
You know what by theboz (4.00 / 2) #12 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:24:36 PM EST
I was too harsh in my post. Sorry about that. I'm just tired of all the news here in Houston about how bad the Katrina evacuees are and how they're responsible for the downfall of civilization as we know it, and that they're black too. I lashed out unfairly.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Unacceptable | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback