Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Orleans Five Years Later

There's an interesting piece in Salon worth reading. It's sometimes hard to believe that it's already been five years since Hurricane Katrina exposed years of neglect for the levee system and wetlands that was supposed to protect the New Orleans metro area, and exposed the federal government's ability at the time to respond to real human emergencies as a sham. The disaster indeed briefly exposed us to the type of society into which our nation had devolved (hint: not much has changed in that sense in the last half-decade). The coverage of the human suffering over those waning days of August and early days of September 2005 was horrifying. The aftermath was no more comforting, as we were treated to stories of mass human displacement (to this day, many former New Orleans residents have the means to return home from the diaspora), substandard temporary housing for those still there, and the efforts of neoliberal scam artists to try to redesign the city in Milton Friedman's image (e.g., kill public schools and replace them with for-profit charter schools, etc.). There were also the occasional inspiring stories of locals taking matters in their own hands once it became obvious that our "leaders" were entirely worthless. At one point I did a bit of writing on the underlying racism found in the response to the survivors the disaster, and for a while another blogger kept a a sort of running time-line of the events unfolding during the immediate aftermath. Those remain worth reading. In the meantime, remember that five years on, there remains much to be done.

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