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anti-racism | katrina aftermath

Oregon IMC volunteer surveys New Orleans

After seeing the O2collective presentation of the work they did in New Orleans, RogueIMC vounteer (Ashland) decided to see what he could do to help.

Rather than join a house gutting crew, I land a sweet gig setting up a new office for the Common Ground co-founder, former Black Panther Malik Rahim. So back to the first place I go to retrieve my computers and over the river to Algiers. My work is rewarding and appreciated, and the stories of the sixties and of what happened here just six months ago are riveting.

Saturday I take a tour of the Lower Ninth ward. Here a massive barge blasted through a levee holding back a canal that bisects the city connecting Lake Pontchartrain to the north all the way to the Mississippi River. I expect to see only traces of the devastation that occurred here six month ago, but other than streets being cleared of debris, no significant clean up has occurred. The scene of destruction in the Lower Ninth is apocalyptic, macabre. Overturned cars litter abandon lots where houses once stood, crushed houses contain their owner's precious belongings which have been untouched since the water was finally pumped back over the levee five months ago.

The devastation in the Lower Ninth is complete. It's ground zero of atomic proportions. But perhaps more disheartening is the political shenanigans at work keeping these people from their homes. While the former residents here certainly are poor, 80% own these homes. It will be interesting to visit the Lower Ninth ward five years from now and see if it's filled with luxury condos and white faces. To borrow from Buffalo Springfield: Looks like there's a 'land grab' happening here, and what we should do ain't exactly clear.

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pics from: 2/23/06, 2/25/06, 2/27/06.

New Orleans Indymedia ongoing coverage | IMC-US Katrina Page | Portland IMC Katrina Aftermath page | Audio File: New Orleans lays in ruins since months after Hurricane Katrina

Still looks like this 6 months later
Still looks like this 6 months later