Oh, yes; so many poor and blacks tragically lost their communities, but that was part of the post-Katrina plan by the PTB, wasn’t it? That former Mayor Ray Nagin was their tool is indisputable. To create a smaller New Orleans footprint that would beneficial to the white profiteers: tourism, architects, engineers, sports teams, and so forth.
Regarding the (ahem) idiot of white privileged arrogance in the film who was in charge of the Riverfront Project and extolled the idea of ‘spreading out the Negroes to prevent crime’, from August 16, 2013, ‘Reinventing New Orleans as the “Happy Plantation?’ by Daniel Wolff
“According to the project’s website, “New Orleans is emerging from the shadows of Katrina as a burgeoning entrepreneurial community… Reinventing the Crescent harnesses the creative power of design to express what this ‘new New Orleans’ is all about.”
So, maybe it should be called Reinvesting the Crescent?
The people we talked to and have become friends with over the past eight years don’t tend to talk about burgeoning entrepreneurial communities. They’re more interested in what to do about junkies moving into abandoned buildings — and why calling the police only seems to make things worse. They’re less concerned about “creative power” than decent health care and schools. And while they might like to connect with the river, their first priority is to make sure it doesn’t end up back in their living rooms.”
Bill Quigley writes that the city’s own numbers tell the tale:
“While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal. Many of the elderly and the poor, especially poor families with children, never made it back to New Orleans. The poverty rate for children who did made it back remains at disturbingly high pre-Katrina levels, especially for Black children. Rents are high and taking a higher percentage of people’s income. The pre-Katrina school system fired all it teachers and professionals and turned itself into the charter experiment capital of the US even while the number of children in public schools has dropped dramatically. Since Katrina, white incomes, which were over twice that of Blacks, have risen three times as much as Blacks. While not all the numbers below are bad, they do illustrate who has been left behind in the ten years since Katrina hit.
44: New Orleans now has 44 school boards. Prior to Katrina, nearly all the public schools in New Orleans were overseen by the one Orleans Parish School Board. 91 percent of the public schools in New Orleans are now charter schools, the highest rate in the country.
35,451: The median income for white families in New Orleans is $60,553; that is $35,451 more than for Black families whose median income was $25,102. In the last ten years the median income for Black families grew by 7 percent. At the same time, the median income for white families grew three times as fast, by 22 percent. In 2005, the median income for Black households was $23,394, while the median for white households was $49,262. By 2013, the median income for Black households had grown only slightly, to $25,102. But the median for white households had jumped to $60, 553.” (much more here)
Now you’ll be reading many MSM pieces glorifying the success of the rebuilt city, the ‘economic miracle’ of it, and even about how much better black lives there are now. One blessed exception has been Anna Hartnell at the Guardian: ‘New Orleans’s ‘transformation’ hurt residents who needed it most’; The vast majority of black New Orleanians, who lost the most in 2005, are now locked out of the city’s reconstructed future’
“As many noted soon after the storm, New Orleans became a hub of disaster capitalism, a neoliberal laboratory in which public housing, health and education came under attack. New Orleans’ large public-housing projects were shuttered and eventually razed amidst a sea of storm-battered and flooded homes and soaring homelessness rates. Katrina also became the excuse for the closure of Charity Hospital, a lifeline for low-income residents in the city for generations, in the midst of an emerging public health crisis. The firing of thousands of unionized public school teachers in Katrina’s immediate aftermath and the rapid creation of large numbers of charter schools similarly subjected the school system to market logic while denying traumatized children the familiarity of neighborhood schools. This virtual erasure of the public sphere has overwhelmingly affected black residents – including black homeowners, who have been subjected to widespread discrimination in the rebuilding process.
In fact, there is evidence that the federal rollback of public housing that began in the 1970s was linked not to concern for concentrated poverty but rather to political dissent. Large numbers of black people living in close quarters increased the possibilities for community organizing and political activism and played into the Nixon administration’s fear of black urban insurrection.”
Harnell deconstructs the myth that many in the diaspora chose to stay in their temporary locations in Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, etc., rather than being unable to return, many having been treated as the criminal class that the evening news showed them right there on their teevees.
Bill Quigley also writes that during the diaspora, so many of those billions were being spent on rebuilding for those who mattered, with so many of the working class absent, many Latinos breezed into the Big Easy to rebuild some of the city. Many later brought their families, and the fact of their presence didn’t sit well with all of the white people. While New Orleans has a proud tradition of civil rights leaders, he writes, now not only are blacks on the receiving end of police abuse, but so are Latinas/Latinos.
“In November 2013, I was proud to stand alongside immigrant workers and community leaders engaging in peaceful civil disobedience in New Orleans to expose a brutal program of stop and frisk racial profiling-based immigration raids called CARI (Criminal Alien Removal Initiative) which targets Latinos.
Squads from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), together with local police, have been conducting race-based immigration raids anywhere Latinos gather: stores, apartment buildings, churches, laundromats. The raids have led to constant terror for the immigrant workers and families who rebuilt the city we live in and love.
The blatantly unconstitutional nature of the raids led to a Congressional inquiry and front-page coverage in the New York Times. Yet ICE continues to rely on them to meet its massive deportation quotas.” (from one year ago)
Now you’ll remember the insane amount of killing and police brutality during the initial post-Katrina aftermath, with (then) Blackwater mercenaries, National Guardsmen, and not just the police as described in the video. Snipers on the bridges blasted blacks away, and criminal acts could be covered up rather easily, tragically. So many missing, who could keep track? Incarcerated prisoners often remained locked in as the waters rose up to their chins or higher. Many were beaten, left without food or water when and if they were let out. But hey, most records were lost to the floods, so the police and prison officials could just shrug off just about all of it, and did.
Now a story unknown to me that re-emerged this week due to the ten year anniversary is the horrific story of the assassination by police of #HenryGlover.
This week’s #PeoplesMonday NYC featured ShutDowns at Macy’s and other venues; die-ins were held in Times Square, Union Square, i dunno where all. But the name they featured was murdered by police in New Orleans ten years ago. #HenryGlover
the despicable story in 5 Fact posters:
Rest in Power, Henry Glover. May your family find some measure of peace in the days ahead, and we can hope those killers are held accountable.
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Esoterica that may or may not be of interest to you:
As joss would have it, I’d been watching the HBO series by David Simon and Eric Overmyer: Treme, righteously peering into the dark sides of ‘the post-Katrina recovery’ of the Crescent City. Music permeates almost every scene , in all the glorious N’Oleans musical traditions. The ‘O, beautiful dream’ video poetry came via that series. Prominently featured in the series was the New Orleans neighborhood Tremé, which I discovered poking around is ‘not only America’s oldest black neighborhood, but was also the site of significant economic, cultural, political, social, and legal events that have shaped the course of events in Black America for the past two centuries’.
My curiosity was pinged by scenes of the Indian Chief parades on St. Joseph Day, and their particular brand of African/Creole fusion music played with only percussion instruments. This is at a small wake for their friend; oddly embedding has been disabled for this one, but it will open in a separate window here.
The rhythms sang to me somehow, as did the entire Mardi Gras Indian theme. This from the Wiki the simplest explanation:
“In the early days of the Indians, Mardi Gras was a day of both reveling and bloodshed. “Masking” and parading was a time to settle grudges. This part of Mardi Gras Indian history is immortalized in James Sugar Boy Crawford’s song, “Jock O Mo” (better known and often covered as “Iko Iko“), based on their taunting chants. However, in the late 1960s, Allison Montana, “Chief of Chiefs”, fought to end violence between the Mardi Gras Indian Tribes. He said, “I was going to make them stop fighting with the gun and the knife and start fighting with the needle and thread.” Today, the Mardi Gras Indians are largely unplagued by violence; instead they base their fights over the “prettiness” of their suits.”
Also of interest was that under Spanish rule in the 19th century, freed blacks could own property, although neworleansonline.com sanitizes it a bit, given that the Spanish effectively built what I guess you’d call a comprador class of mulattoes who sometimes owned slave themselves. ‘a middle class of blacks’ I read it called.
Well, blow me down; part of the early history of the ‘violence’ was that as they were all masked, they could settle grudges rather bloodily and anonymously when the tribes met head on. Each tribe had spies who ran ahead of the parades, and carried flags to run back to the First Flag Boys when they’d spotted the other tribe. Flag boys ran them back to the Chief Indians, allowing them to direct the parade battles…from behind. Some First Americans apparently took offense at blacks creating Indian costumes (very flambloyant ones, at that), and the Chiefs and Indians explain over and over that escaped slaves often ended up in the bayou swamps and intermingled with Indians of various tribes. This is one 10-minute video explanation, but I just ran into it, and haven’t watched yet. But back to the song bolded above. It finally dawned on me why I’d been so uplifted by the Tremé Indian songs: Iko Iko has long been a favorite of mine, even without knowing what it was about. I watched 25 covers, but Cyndi’s has the punch to it I like, and the remix photos are fine.