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The Surreal Scene of Dome City

On September 9, myself and two other west coast IMCistas arrived in Houston, Texas to help provide independent media coverage from Houston and other communities. Our first stop was the Astrodome and surrounding buildings. There are about 10,000 people now living in these buildings, which are now being called "Dome City."
The floor of the Astrodome
The floor of the Astrodome
a supply of clothing
a supply of clothing
many folks inside the dome are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting
many folks inside the dome are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting
a look down on the floor of the Astrodome
a look down on the floor of the Astrodome
day 2 of the line for red cross debit cards
day 2 of the line for red cross debit cards
interviewing a women from New Orleans
interviewing a women from New Orleans
once again, people got in line, and waited....
once again, people got in line, and waited....
corporate media interviews a survivor
corporate media interviews a survivor
"no big deal, just somebody in handcuffs." -HPD
"We're not FEMA." - A person in charge at FEMA...
It seems a curfew is being put in place
It seems a curfew is being put in place
The scene in the Astrodome is almost unreal. There are thousands of people sleeping in close proximity. Many people are trying to get in contact with loved ones, but there does not seem to be a practical way to facilitate this.

There seems to be very little organization, plenty of unanswered questions and almost no information about what the future holds for Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Some clothing and food is being provided to people, however the food is very low in nutritional value and much of the clothing is inadequate. Many people here have health conditions which are not being cared to. For example, many folks are diabetic, yet most of the food being offered is full of sugar, such as donuts and twinkies.

One man I spoke with told me that he was able to drive his family out of New Orleans before the Hurricane struck. He has been at Astrodome in Houston for about a week. He is happy that he was able to leave New Orleans with his family, but now he is almost out of money and is unsure of what is going to happen next. He was waiting in line for a Red Cross Debit Credit worth $2,000. He waited in line yesterday for this debit card, but then FEMA and the Red Cross stopped handing out cards. Many people waited in line and had nothing to show for their time spent waiting. He told me that people do not know what the future may hold... that people do not know what tomorrow holds.... that people do not know what will happen today... that people have no idea what will happen with the line they are again waiting in.

People are just waiting and doing their best to maintain a positive outlook on the entire situation.

* *

If you can make it out to Texas, Mississippi or Louisiana, your help is definitely needed.

Also, if you can donate money to support independent media for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, that would be very helpful as well.

Vinny and I have put out a request for donations. Please read the following article for information on one important way that you can help out. thanks.

Support Independent Media in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
 link to santacruz.indymedia.org
i blank with you? 09.Sep.2005 19:45

tb

have you seen the imcista Blank from portland oregon? He's been there since this morning i believe. thank you for information. my prayers are there with you and the survivors.

I Am Okay 09.Sep.2005 20:34

blank

Just letting you all know that I am doing okay, and that everyone here is working really hard with little or no sleep (myself included). I'm with you all in spirit, and I know your with me. Don't worry, everyone here know's what they are doing.

Thanks, imcistas! 10.Sep.2005 00:17

livewire

I was hoping some citizen journalists would be able to get to the scene so we could get some truthful info. Do you need anything? How can we help you from afar?
big love to you

media equipment is needed 10.Sep.2005 18:27

~Bradley

it sounds like there will be a radio station for the Astrodome afterall (but, things change all the time...)

Journalists are needed to document the situation in Houston... and are especially needed in the communities that we are not hearing about. I would suggust coming to Houston. Houston is a good starting point, but it is important to get out to other areas where Katrina survivors are now living.

There is also a shortage of media making equipment such as minidisc recorders (or tape recorders), cameras (both for stills and video), and other computer equipment such as, well, computers and external harddrives.

If you can, I think it would be a good idea to send media equipment donations to the Houston IMC.

Houston IMC
3414 La Branch St
Houston, TX 77004

 http://houston.indymedia.org/process/spaces

Dear blank 10.Sep.2005 23:01

bEn

Dear blank:
Some of us imcista's were at the indymedia general meeting and got to hear your story. It was so depressing and horrible that some of us were in tears. There are some points that blank told us that are not in this article (no offense to the poster) that need to be reported on. About how fema and red cross are taking weekends off, how they are kicking everyone out, how red cross is pocketing EVERYTHING, how they won't let radios in because they believe the "gangsta rap" will annoy people, about the toy situation, about how those poor handicable people spending hours alone just looking up at the sky. What is happening down their is terrible. People need to know what is happening. It's horrible. But I do want to point out that I am very proud of blank and all the others from indymedia for this. Indymedia is the only media inside of the astrodome. We are the ones getting the story before anyone else. And indymedia is a non-profit orginazation. That is remarkable. I am so proud of you blank and all of you other imcistas in the astrodome for doing this. You are heros in my and many others eyes. I hope you know that you people are some of the best people out there. You spent your own money and spent your own time to go to the astrodome all for the truth and for the safety of these people. What you are doing is so great I can't even start. Just know that if you guys were here I'd give you all a big fat hug. You guys are my heros. Please post more on what you see!

Thanks for the story and (very slight correction) 11.Sep.2005 10:02

imcista # 24359

Thanks Bradley and Blank and all other imcistas for providing media coverage for this. I know there have been many people begging to get witnesses down there to the unnecessary indignities they are suffering. As "order is restored" to New Orleans, for example, the streets are being occupied by tanks driven by gun-toting white folks, arrogantly pointing their assault weapons at survivors. Many people who managed to barely hang on during the storm are now being pulled from their homes under threat and weapon by "the good guys." Lots of people mistrust that they will ever get their homes back if they leave, because they believe the government is going to hand their property over to cronie developers (Halliburton, perhaps?) under the new imminent domain ruling, so that the developers can make a NOLA theme park, strip malls, and a killing in profit. Who can blame survivors of the storm for thinking this? Yes, there are many people down there who desperately want the world to hear their stories, and not the one-dimensional, empty puff coming through the corporate media. So thanks to those down there, and to the people up here providing support as well.


(Very slight correction):
Actually, bEn, indymedia is NOT a non-profit. In order to be non-profit, an organization has to be an organization, and has to jump through some very specific tax hoops. Indymedia is not an organization, but a tactic, and the people participating are all of us -- everyone who reads and posts to the site, everyone who takes a camera to the streets, all of us. Non-profit means filing a 501(c)3, being attuned to the capitalist model, and often being as obsessed with money as any capitalist organization. Indymedia is definitely not that. If anything, it's more of an anti-profit than a non profit. So you're right, bEn, that it's beautiful that real, grassroots human beings without capital, without corporately sponsored resources, can make this happen when the corporate media largely cannot. Or will not. They have reporters on the ground, and are bringing us nightly pictures of floods and bodies, but are not providing the gritty connections, and are not allowing us to do more than "donate to the red cross." There is no context there. (And have you noticed all the blatant commercials for capitalism in their coverage? I've heared songs of praise roaring through corporate airwaves, for wal mart, and for clear channel. YUCK. What lies.)

Woops 11.Sep.2005 11:03

bEn

Oh, I meant non-profit as in we don't do this for money. Well seeing as we are anti-profit proves my point even more about the sacrafice that indymedia takes just to tell the real story.