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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.

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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.

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