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community building | katrina aftermath

Real Reports of Katrina Relief - September 24th - Rita Edition

Eyewitness, politically charged, on-the-ground truth telling from New

Updated: September 24th
Location: Algiers
4:33pm Time to run...sorry for the short update but we have an
emergency shipment going to the bayou. I'll add more later. By the
way - did you notice I used the word "emergency"? If you are wondering
whether you should come down, or send anything.... I think you may have
your answer. Peace.

Most people have heard by now that the southeast part of New Orleans
that lies within the lower 9th Ward and St. Bernards Parish has been
flooded again. It's so demoralizing to see this hard hit area become a
lake again. Mother Nature seems intent on reclaiming her land for part
of the lake. They can keep building leeves, but eventually sea-level
rise and giant storms will take back the low-lying areas.

Parts of downtown New Orleans are also under water. Most of it seems to
be less than four feet, but there are some of the lower locations with
over 8 feet of water. As long as we keep getting this south wind - the
flooding will continue. Our friends in the upper 9th and in other
of the city seem okay. That is good news. But all of us are concerned
about the possibility for torential rains in the next few days.
Flooding may continue.

I can't tell you the impact - emotional and physical of more flood
water. While people aren't swimming for survival this time, the houses
that were filled with mud and mold after Katrina may become too
waterlogged to be liveable. It makes the possibility of land grabs and
profit - driven condemnations much more of a threat than it already
was. Emotionally, it is difficult to watch the areas that we've all
seen via the news, or in person, flood again. The images of Katrina are
fresh and post traumatic syndrome is very common.

Rita's south winds have brought more water. Flooding continues. It
strange to be so dry here in Algiers while houses float away almost
within eyesite of our leeve.

With sensitivity emphasized by my own particular spiritual path
( http://www.intuitivepath.org) and the wishes of my ancestors, I have
been very concerned about the Native American communities. So I have
been relieved to help connect Common Ground with the Point-Au-Chien
community and to keep in contact with several others.

Rita has been a blow to these tribal communities in the bayou. For
instance, in the Point-Au-Chien community, Katrina brought wind damage
but not much water. But due to the path of Rita, the entire bayou is
underwater from Houma to the Texas border. That's hundreds of square
miles. They are in need again of food, water, house repairs and other
assistance. We hope to send our first truck of food and water in the

I still need to contact the Houma Nation. They flooded seriously during
Katrina and were likely underwater again. With so many relief agencies
pulled out due to exhaustion, fear of Rita, or a hundred other reasons
the need for aid across southern Louisiana is critical. Please support
this work.

We currently have two advance teams out scouting to the southwest and
west. We are trying to get an assessment team into the St. Charles
area. Hopefully by the morning we will have both news reports, official
updates from the government, and our own ground-truthing to help
determine what aid is needed where. You can be assured that another
out for relief and aid is very close at hand.

I'm not sure how many hours I am sleep deficient. I know I am worn out
trying to coordinate the advance teams, get the day-to-day work planned
for Algiers, and interfacing with so many amazingly supportive people
who are coming down or sending aid. The load is really staggering and
the most intense organizing work I've ever done. I am very grateful
there are other talented organizers in the collective that make it all


> About a week ago I lost my driver's license. As you can imagine it
was quite upsetting - not just because it was my license, but because
order to get through checkpoints you need ID. I called North Carolina
DMV where I got one run around after another. We can't do that... it
will take two weeks... we can't send it there.. etc. I got tired of
bureaucratic red tape pretty quickly. We've had enough of that garbage
with the relief effort already. So I called my US senator's office to
intercede on my behalf. Thankfully they did, and I had my license
fed-ex'd in two days. I am safe to travel once again.

> You would not believe the corruption and chaos in New Orleans right
now. It's absolutely outrageous. Add to that the posturing of
officials and opportunists who are practically salivating over
themselves to get a piece of the FEMA checkbook. As anonymous military
official said, "You ever been to a third world country? Well they
learned everything from here."

Naomi Archer is a global justice organizer and spiritual activist from
Asheville, NC working for the Common Ground relief effort in the
neighborhood of New Orleans. She can be reached at 828.230.1404 or
 arche@riseup.net <mailto: arche@riseup.net>. Blog at
 http://www.realreports.blogspot.com/. Website at