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community building | katrina aftermath

Algiers New Orleans: Where Common Ground Is Found

Yesterday, two Imcistia's and I from the west coast arrived from in Algiers, a neighborhood in New Orleans Louisiana.
Traveling by rental car we arrived in New Orleans around 3:30 P.M. central standard time. On the approach to the city it was a clear day. Damage was everywhere. Tree's were in twisted mangled messes along the roads. Roof tops off of gas stations had been completely ripped off in some places. Street signs were bent backward from the winds and hard to make out, and in some cases they just didn't exist. Gas stations are working as few as ten miles away. All the roads from what I saw were clear and traffic (yes there is traffic) was flowing.

On the way in almost all of the off ramps were blocked in one form or another. Check points are setup all over the place with military units dress in full camouflage with M-16's were walking around in full view.

Our main concern was to get to Malik Rahim's (a great guy and former Black Panther). A local resident of New Orleans in Algiers. There is a curfew from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. in place and is being enforced. Our main concern was to get from where we were to Malik's. After about fifteen minutes we found the house and were welcomed warmly to a very active household of independent journalists, bloggers, community organizers, doctors, nurses, people with vans bringing food and water, you name it.

There is running water here, working power, and gas. The power was just turned on yesterday an hour after I arrived. It was a welcomed site to many who lived here and who have been here since the hurricane, things it seems are getting better in some regards.

Health clinics have been setup, and more are on the way. People from all over are coming into the city with supplies that they have packed into their cars for the community on the ground here. Scores of people are being helped out each and every day. More health clinics are being setup as I type this all over the city by volunteers. Not to mention bringing the community together on a level that is working for the people, by the people.

I have not seen a single Red Cross vehicle here in Algiers since I have been here. I have seen many outside of the city from where I came through, but nothing in the area where I am currently. Dozens and dozens of helicopters fly overhead nonstop to wherever their destinations are day and night. It is also rumored that The Red Cross has a warehouse full of food and supplies that is not being disturbed to anywhere in the community except for one clinic that they have setup that I am aware of that feeds about 170 people.

The level of incompetence is astounding. On the drive into the city there were parking lots full of army trucks that could be driving around the city helping give people food and supplies, pick up bodies, and clean up trash, but none of that is happening. At least not until about ten minutes ago when a city garbage truck took some trash that had been collected from around the streets and put into a big pile outside. That's it.

I spent most of the day yesterday taking video of people and doing interviews as well as helping move food and supplies. There is a lot to do here and things are getting done, people are getting fed, and all without the help of the federal government or any outside influence other then regular people who are coming in from all over the United States, and the community here in Algiers New Orleans.

The army drove by around 11:00 A.M. today annoying that a free health clinic was opening up today and tomorrow between 9:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.

The community has had one running for six days now. FEMA can't even say that they have done that, nor the Red Cross.

Bicycles are being handed out for free to the community by the truckload and more are needed since there gas is extremely hard to come by unless you leave the city, which most of the people in the city can't do because they don't have gas to put into their cars in the first place, and most don't even have cars because they can't afford them.

If anyone can donate or make it down here with stuff, or know someone who can help, try. Some simple tasks that people can help out with are answering phones, storing and stocking supplies, and so on. Things are are needed are food, water, generators, baby products such as diapers, women's tampons, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, medical supplies, first-aid kits, gas for the community, you name it, the list goes on and on.

The address here is 331 Atlantic Street, New Orleans Louisiana for those of you who can make it down here. Just be aware that if you do decide to come down here you will have guns pointed at you, you most likely will have shots fired in your general direction, and whatever you do... do not run down any streets. A big mistake that a few people have made, but are alright.

I'll post more when I get the chance.
thanks for the great reporting 13.Sep.2005 16:40

tc

I'm not sure if anyone down there has the time to follow other coverage, but I saw this report of the "No photos. No stories." policy being enforced by the army in New Orleans and I was wondering if any indy reporters have gotten that kind of treatment.

 link to www.sfgate.com

death count suppressed 13.Sep.2005 20:56

Mo More idy censor

home land security gives no death toll

 http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/katrina.htm

To "tc" and Anyone Else Who is Interested. 13.Sep.2005 23:02

blank

To answer your question, yes. Independent reporters of all creeds, color, and backround have been facing this problem. Independent reporters have been shot at, assulted, camera's smashed, press badges ripped off of them, etc.

Everyone here knows the risks, and everyone here knows what they are up against. Nobody here thinks this is a game, nor are they kidding around here in the streets of New Orleans. The oppression is very real. There are dead all over the place, and the last time I heard the corporate media was only reporting that 208 people were dead. In fact, there are thousands of people dead in New Orleans. Why do you think the government doesn't want journalists to film the recovery process? People can count, and that's why the government does not want any reporters anywhere near any dead bodies.

"Terry Ebbert, New Orleans' homeland security director, had said Friday that the recovery effort would be done with dignity, "meaning that there would be no press allowed." Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore later said there would be zero access to the recovery operation."

What a fucking joke. Done with dignity? My fucking ass done with dignity. Today one of the volunteers helping out here in Algiers tried to go pick up a cell phone for someone here because the package was under this persons name. As this person got on the I-10 (the main highway) this person saw a dead man in a wheel chair that was on the side of the highway, and had been there for who knows how long. Car after car must have passed it for days, including army, national guard, red cross, homeland security, emt's, and the local police. You name it they went past it.

Recovery done with dignity they say. Well let me ask you this. How dignifying do you think it is to leave an old man in a wheel chair dead on a highway for days as you pass by over, and over, and over, and over, and over again?

Jim Ellinger & Malik Raheem on WBAI-FM NYC 14.Sep.2005 09:46

jim ellinger jimedia@grandecom.net

When I was on WBAI-FM (NYC) last night with Malik Rahim from Algiers(across the Mississippi from NO, generally unscathed). I told him "Hey man! I got some
good news for you. We sent you all a transmitter. Folks from Free Radio Santa Cruz and Portland IndyMedia picked up a 40 watt transmitter from the folks here in Austin, when we met up with them in Houston."

And he responded, "Hey man! I got some good news for YOU...it's already on the air!"

jim ellinger
Austin Airwaves, Inc.


Help for animals?? 21.Sep.2005 18:21

Oregon kwiseman@ccwebster.net

Hey man~

A friend of yours sent me this link. We are thinking of trying to go down to help out at a pet facility. Any info to pass on???

Oregon friend