Its a year ago, today; that the mother of all hurricanes ( in two generations) hit the Big Easy. New Orleans was brought down to its knees and then some.
While FEMA and state agencies bungled and screwed up, the world saw images of a major US city as if it was from a war zone.
Today, a year later, hardly anything has changed much. Reconstruction has started only in name and on paper. The blame game continues and another hurricane season is upon the people of the Gulf Of Mexico.
The BBC has an interesting article about South Asians recalling the scary days before and after Katrina.
Indian community activists turned their homes into temporary shelters for displaced families.
Dr M Sulaiman, a Pakistani-American surgeon living in New Orleans for the past 25 years, was among those who volunteered.
“For days, we worked in makeshift camps with people who had suddenly lost everything,” he told me as we drove to see the devastated eastern parts of his city.
“There was no food, no place to sleep or sanitary facilities. It was a nerve wrecking experience,” he said.
The hurricane killed over 1,000 people while hundreds of thousands were forced to flee homes. Eighty percent of New Orleans was submerged.
Along with the most of the city’s infrastructure, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh worship sites were also destroyed.
Read entire article here
For more coverage on Hurricane Katrina, here at news views and analysis, click here.
disclaimer: I know its hard to believe, but this is a a spoof….so dont go searching for the real article
A very interesting article from PLANetizen. The author makes a very valid point about how American cities are so dependant on cars, and total lack of public transportation.
“The reason so many lives are in jeopardy from Hurricane Katrina is a result of our extreme dependence on cars and the lack of planning for public transportation, both for regular use and for emergencies, “
Outside of New York City, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, public transport is really ineffective. Urban sprawl is to blame for this. The whole idea of Suburbia, creates sprawl whereby a lot more resources are used up. You need to go no further than the state of New Jersey to understand what urban sprawl is. Half of the state seems to work in NYC, and live within a two hour drive from Manhattan. This is considered daily commutable distance. People drive from their homes to the nearest train station and then come in to the city. But they do need the car, to get to the station.
There are a lot of arguements for and against greater urban density. High-rises are not as evil as one would make them out to be. It offers a more efficient use of resources, if planned properly and a certain vibrancy that only a city can bring.
Dina posts a long list of web resources and wiki links to the Katrina Help Developments.
Do visit this page and do all you can to support.
For many years now I follow the writing on CTHEORY.net CTHEORY is an international peer-reviewed journal of theory, technology, and culture, publishing articles, interviews, event-scenes and reviews of key books.
Yesterday’s article on the Hurrican Katrina and the disaster in its wake, makes great reading.
Finally, we should take note of a particular incident of destruction. Across Lake Pontchartrain, two seven mile bridge spans of Interstate 10, connecting New Orleans to the eastern U.S. mainland, were catastrophically shredded into dozens of disconnected concrete chunks. As both a metaphor and event precursor, this particular piece of devastation is profoundly symbolic.
The shattering of this part of I-10 connotes the liabilities of a fragile and deep interconnectedness, in a global economic and ecological system. A product of the mid-and-late 20th Century height of the American Empire, the Interstate Highway System was a triumph of economic nationalism and Fordist progressive capitalism.
Katrina’s demolishing of this portion of I-10 can be understood as signifying the shattering of the remaining structural supports for the effective maintenance of such an economic nationalism, while revealing, immediately and decisively, the hubris and frailty of the Imperium…..CTHEORY
In what is fast becoming a horrible repeat of Hurricane Katrina nearly exactly 2 years ago, the city has been officially asked to evacuate.
As Hurricane Gustav gets ready to hit land early Tuesday…
"You need to be scared," Nagin said of the Category 4 hurricane tearing along Cuba’s western coast. "You need to be concerned, and you need to get your butts moving out of New Orleans right now. This is the storm of the century."
To all of us not in New Orleans, this is not even fathomable.
Can you for one minute imagine evacuating Mumbai or New York.
At times like this, thoughts prayers and sympathies go to the people who are going to be affected…be they today in New Orleans or two years ago in Mumbai or northern Bihar, or any part of the world that faces natural calamatieis.
We feel that Indian politicians are corrupt (and they are) but then the ones in the US are even more so. And smart and stupid at the same time.
William Jefferson, a Congressman from the State of Lousiana, was caught by federal agents with 90,000 US$ stashed in the freezer of his Washington DC home. This was back in 2005. Who the fuck hides money in their freezers.
And recently CNN reports that
Jefferson is the first U.S. official ever charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, which prohibits corporate bribery.
The charges are based on 11 schemes in which Jefferson allegedly solicited bribes for himself and his family from government and business officials in the United States, Nigeria, Botswana, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome e Principe, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said at an afternoon news conference.
His doings of 2005 did not stop the voters of Lousiana (US’s Bihar) from electing him back into power
Jefferson has denied wrongdoing, and won a ninth congressional term in a December runoff despite the allegations. But the probe already has led to guilty pleas by a Kentucky businessman and a former aide to the congressman.
Is it therefore any wonder that because of such politicians New Orleans is today hardly a shadow of its pre-Katrina days, even though billions of dollars have gone into its reconstruction.
Moral of the story….Indian politicians, you got a tough act to follow. Go global.
On the anniversary of DesiPundit, they ran a series of articles by Indian bloggers on different themes. I got an opportunity to guest-blog there and comment on current affairs and the need for constant news.
Here is the article. It didnt generate any comments there, hope it does here.
In a truly global sense, the only thing that happens every single moment and every single day is a change in current affairs. Be they those affecting individuals, groups, neighborhoods, cities or nations. In todayâ€™s day and age, with the constant flow of information over various media, the feeling of a true global village seems more of a realityâ€¦.a virtual reality.
Nothing today is isolated. Every single action has ramifications that spread across borders and distances in patterns that one would never have thought of. Totally disparate events start to make sense. The cloudburst of 26/7 in Bombay and Hurricane Katrina havoc a month later and 8000 miles away are both results of the same global warming. Cheaper products in supermarkets make the American consumers happy. Until they realize that these products are â€œMade In Chinaâ€ and suddenly they start hating China and its cheap manufacturing labor force.
The stock market booms and everyone makes money, hand over fist. Till a scandal breaks out about accounting procedures and all of a sudden every accountant and his dog are viewed with a suspicious look. Computers get cheaper and people buy them like there is no tomorrow. But when they break down they call customer service, and then complain that the horrid person on the other end had a funny accent and did not even help him. Of course it would be so nice if the person who bought the computer took a little time to learn how to use one.
New Orleans comes out guns blazing against the conventional telecom companies. Its recent city wide wifi network set up after Katrina needs to be disbanded if the telcos could have their way.
A showdown may be looming over a free wireless internet network that New Orleans set up to boost recovery after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the city. [ link ]
Calling the network vital to the city’s economic comeback, New Orleans technology chief Greg Meffert is vowing to keep the system running as is, even if it means breaking a state law that permits its full operation only during emergencies.
City wide Wi-fi is fast becoming a possibility in terms of economy and technology. Already there are initiatives in the Bay Area, Philadelphia and other smaller cities to deploy city wide wifi internet access for the citizens of that city. This would bring affordable broadband internet access to all.
New Orleans, after the Katrina rampage, set one up as a means of communications. That was the only way to go, as repairing the conventional land infrastructure would take time and money.
The system, established with $1 million in donated equipment, made its debut last fall in the wake of the hurricane disaster. It’s the first free wireless internet network owned and run by a major city.
But if telecom companies could have their way, they would force you to use the internet, only if they can supply it over your telephone or cable line. And of course they will charge you an arm and a leg for it and then limit your downolad and upload speed, and of course dictate what you can and cannot use it for.
But a state law, passed two years ago in response to other attempts to establish government-owned internet systems, dictates the network can run at 512 kbps only as long as the city remains under a state of emergency — a declaration still in place more than seven months after the storm.
Once the state of emergency is lifted — and no one has said when that might take place — state law says the bandwidth must be slowed to 128 kbps.
Meffert says the reduction will make the service virtually useless for businesses and others trying to re-establish commerce in the city.
Bills to allow New Orleans to keep the network operating full-time at 512 kbps failed during a recent special legislative session. Several similar bills are pending in the current regular session, but Meffert says city lobbyists give them little hope of passage because of opposition from the telecommunications lobby.
As one commenter on the site says
with laws like that, it’s no wonder the US are the laughing stock of the wired (and wireless) world!! overinflated prices, NO competition despite what the corporations say… Yes broadband penetration has risen in the past months, but it still costs up to 100% more in the US relative to Europe to get proper broadband, and still, speed is miserable! ie in the UK or France, 20Mbps access will cost on average 30/35 dollars a month…
This is another example of how valuable money and time is wasted in fighting progress and recovery. Why cant we have politicians who have brains. Why is that so difficult in this the greatest contry in the world.