Skip to main content

by Greg Palast is a documentary that must be seen if one is to understand what's going on in New Orleans after Katrina and the Federal Flood. Palast's tough, gutsy journalism reminds me of what "60 Minutes" was, back in the day when that program had cojones. Palast, investigating what really happened in New Orleans on 8/29/2005, interviews then-LSU professor Ivor Van Heerden. Van Heerden says speaking to Palast could endanger his job due to the political connections of higher-ups--and we all know what happened to Van Heerden.

Palast also interviews flood victims discouraged in one way or another from returning home and the nefarious machinations behind attempts to discourage their return.

Here, then is "Big Easy to Big Empty."

Originally posted to Louisiana 1976 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 05:58 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks, Louisiana (6+ / 0-)

    I'll snag those and stash them to look at a little later. I lived in the 9th Ward for a year before I moved to New Mexico.

  •  I used to visit as a tourist, but not again (0+ / 0-)

    I liked New Orleans and I loved the food and I enjoyed going to conventions there. I even have a poster of the Tall Oaks mansion over my bed, but when the mayor said he was going to make it a "chocolate city," well, I felt that was a racist remark that whites weren't welcome and since I'm not chocolate in color, I do not feel welcome. Good luck in trying to lure only chocolate dollars to revive this city. I lobby for my industry's conventions go elsewhere where we can all be welcome.

  •  My favorite American city (4+ / 0-)

    and I have friends who live there. I went to the first Mardi Gras after the debacle and we toured all the damage before going to the parades. It was a punch to the gut to see all the destruction and felt wrong to go celebrate at the parades but our friends were desperate for us to see that the city still had a pulse and was going to rebuilt. It breaks my heart that it's still not "fixed."

    "Rick Warren is a fucking douchebag and a terrible speaker. Why his career summit didn't end at "Wal-Mart Greeter" I will never understand." --My brother

    by Mber on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 07:02:02 PM PST

  •  This (7+ / 0-)

    breaks my heart. My home for 60+ years is still lying in ruins for the most part. I'm in Atlanta now, but there's no place like New Orleans. I hope to return someday to stay.

  •  I love how you say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976

    "And we all know what happened to Van Heerden.", when I've never heard of him before.

    Try again.

  •  okay, this is complicated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976

    For starters, the parts of NO that are lowest are most at risk from flooding, and there is good reason to believe that will increase over time, due to the polar ice melting. So the thought of trying to rebuild the 9th Ward doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. But those people who had to leave are owed more than formaldehyde-infused trailers.

    IIRC the French Quarter and the Garden District are on higher ground, and can be effectively islanded over time, if anyone wants to put the money into it.

    The premise that this was viciously allowed to happen to create a kind of "no man's land" around the French Quarter to keep the tourists safer is highly plausible to me. There was a lot of interracial hostility there, and a lot of African-Americans living in terrible conditions. They did indeed in some cases prey on the tourists. It happened to me. I got ripped off by a guy who just sort of talked me up and got me out into a part of New Orleans just outside of the French Quarter that was one of the most miserable neighborhoods I'd ever seen. We walked there; it took less than an hour.

    He got my bicycle and other possessions from me and rode off on my bike and laughed.

    I was sad about it...shocked. I walked up to the freeway onramp and a policeman found me and took me back to where I lived.

    And I felt like an idiot. And I kept remembering what those houses looked like. How rundown it all was. How poor those people were.

    Hell, I was just slumming. And they decided that this (comparatively) rich honky bitch could just be parted from her possessions. Nobody used a weapon. I was just a fool.

    This sort of thing wasn't uncommon in the French Quarter, from what I was told.

    I moved from East New Orleans after a year. I'd think later on about it, about how wretched that neighborhood where I was robbed, was. It wasn't like the one in the film. It was just awful.

    And I'd think about how maybe something could be done to empower these people, so they could live decently, instead of robbing tourists.

    Meanwhile, the levees were waiting.

    I think much of the Gulf Coast is likely doomed for any kind of human habitation. It's going to be a big problem. But that is not to imply that a terrible and murderous wrong was not done to people in the lower-lying districts of New Orleans. It would be bad enough that they lost their homes. But that so many lost their lives, seems beyond negligence. There appears to be a real possibility of intent involved.

    I remember hearing sometime after Katrina that this negligence and thus forcible relocating of so much of the African-American population was potentially a kind of murderous gerrymandering, since African-Americans are much more likely to vote Democratic than Europeans in southern USA areas. It made a horrible kind of sense.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site