Not so "easy" in the Big Easy

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Here is an email I just received from a college friend who's just returned from her own personal experience with today's New Orleans post Katrina:

    This woman is one of my most valued friends and her take would be legitimate and fair not only in this but also in all things.

    I post it here simply as a hands-on account to heighten public awareness.


    Dear all Friends:

    I spent a recent week with a group helping to do some clean-up in New
    Orleans, and wanted to share some impressions with all of you. I
    apologize for the long-winded email, but this was a life-changing trip...

    1. People are still suffering - regardless of who you think is
    responsible for this tragedy, the sad fact is that 10 months after the
    levee breaches, not much has been done. Mile after mile after mile (I'm
    not kidding -- it's absolutely mind-boggling) of New Orleans
    neighborhood look like they've been bombed, and show no signs of life.
    Blue tarps are everywhere. Many commercial areas are still completely
    shut down. Nationally-based retail isn't too uncommon; almost no small
    businesses have reopened in areas hit by the flood. Abandoned cars
    still clog roads and parking lots. Inadequate medical facilities have
    reopened; almost no schools will reopen this fall. As you can imagine,
    the more affluent areas are in the best shape; poorer neighborhoods are
    virtually uninhabitable.

    2. Business and Government entities have not stepped up - again, I
    don't want to point fingers, but public and private groups are fighting
    over funds. The local utility company is trying to waylay the limited
    community block grants to rebuild its infrastructure, yet its parent
    company recorded recor profits the last two quarters. Very few citizens
    have actually received any money to rebuild. It's very difficult for
    people to get solid information. Information from different entities
    conflicts and rules change constantly. Bureaucracy is growing faster
    than the mold...(I signed 4 different waivers during my visit), and many
    of the rules are nonsensical. For example, we were told to leave trash
    loose on the curb, rather than bag it, because they didn't want plastic
    bags in the landfill. But about 50% of the trash was
    plastic...recycling had been discontinued due to the emergency.

    3. Non-profits are getting a lot done - committed individuals and NGOs
    seem to be doing a lot of effective work. They are less concerned with
    process and just digging in and doing clean-up, repairs, training, etc.
    I met so many inspiring individuals, and they were people just like you
    and me...

    4. There's still fun to be had in New Orleans - New Orleans is still a
    party town, and parts of the city are gorgeous. Although it's not the
    city it once was, it still has lots to offer, and tourist dollars will
    do a lot of good! I had one of the best meals of my life at the Red
    Fish Grill in the French quarter, and enjoyed the beautiful aquarium,
    for example. And there are a LOT of very funny FEMA T-shirts...

    So please, please, please:
    Don't forget New Orleans - its citizens still need help!
    Write your senators, representatives and the President - please don't
    let them forget New Orleans either!
    Donate to a non-profit working in the area - most of have probably
    already given, but a few more dollars will help.
    Better yet, visit yourself -- there's nothing like seeing it first-hand.

    Thanks very much for your patience and my love to you all.
     
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