DESTRUCTION OF AN AMERICAN CITY

I don’t think many of you grasp what’s going on in New Orleans right now. To give you an idea, here is something that was written in Time magazine “pre-Katrina”:

If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen. A Category 5 hurricane would come barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico. It would cause Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, to overflow, pouring down millions of gallons of water on the city. Then things would really get ugly. Evacuation routes would be blocked. Buildings would collapse. Chemicals and hazardous waste would dissolve, turning the floodwaters into a lethal soup. In the end, what was left of the city might not be worth saving. “There’s concern it would essentially destroy New Orleans,” says Suhayda.

It’s a good thing that we have a President that is on top of the disaster efforts. Here’s what he did while New Orleans was getting utterly destroyed. I mean, if he can run a war from his ranch, what’s playing the guitar while a million people lose their homes? I know there is nothing he can do to prevent the ongoing destruction, but he could at least wipe that stupid smirk off his face and pretend he cares.

POSTSCRIPT:

Is anyone watching CNN? There are people dying in the Superdome right now (mostly poor, black people), a place the government told everyone to gather for food, shelter, and water. You think other black people in major cities are not watching? If I was disenfranchised and saw the outrageous way my people were being treated, I would get pretty angry.

Today I paid $3.15 a gallon for gas. I wonder how all this will turn out. In the meantime I should maybe go celebrate with a drink at one of the many benefit hurricane relief parties.

The Storm After the Storm

Hurricanes come in two waves. First comes the rainstorm, and then comes what the historian John Barry calls the “human storm” – the recriminations, the political conflict and the battle over compensation. Floods wash away the surface of society, the settled way things have been done. They expose the underlying power structures, the injustices, the patterns of corruption and the unacknowledged inequalities. When you look back over the meteorological turbulence in this nation’s history, it’s striking how often political turbulence followed.

The political disturbances are still to come.

i.e. riots

Here’s something I’m sending to my Congressional representatives, which I’m sure some intern will promptly trash:

Four years after 9/11, when billions of dollars were spent on homeland security preparing us for terrorist attacks, I am currently watching New Orleans residents suffering on my television set three days after the hurricane passed, with no relief in sight. It seems that news crews have no trouble getting into these areas, but it is hard to see any sort of strong government presence. Where is the food and water drop-offs? Why isn’t there more coordination between state and federal agencies? I can’t help but think that if the evacuees were rich and white, they’d be helped by now. The government has failed these people, and I hope those in charge are held accountable for this gross incompetency.

70 thoughts on “DESTRUCTION OF AN AMERICAN CITY

  1. Aja

    DCB:

    New Orleans is my home. I cannot stop crying. My family is fine. Watching your home being washed away is incredible. I lived in many of the neighborhoods that are now underwater. I know exactly where those folks are standing on their roofs. This is horrible. I have a laundry list of people to blame, but right now, I can only ask that if folks want to do anything, they should give to the Redcross. This is all to much.

  2. holiday

    I’m from the New Orleans suburbs and the devastation is horrible. My family is safe, but they are also going to be without electricity for a couple of weeks and can’t return home. My heart goes out to all of the people there, especially the 30,000 people stuck in Superdome and Harvey Jackson, the man who lost his wife in Mississippi.

  3. Liz

    Also, if you’re going to be in Fairfax, VA tonight, and you feel like having a drink and listening to some good tunes, come to Transit @ Bridges. They will have a box for Red Cross donations.

  4. Windy

    There is Hurrican Katrina Relief Fundraiser party this Thursday night at MCXXII(1223 located at intersection of Conneticut and 18th) from 6PM – 9PM. It is $25 and includes open bar, proceeds will go to the Red Cross. Any and all are invited to help raise money for this horrible disaster.

  5. Windy

    Here is some more information on the fundraiser, this was the invite I received for Thursday. Also, you can donate online at http://redcross.org :

    Friends ?

    Jamie Hess along with Ray Regan, Chris Larsin, Bianca Angelino, Amy Angelo, Colin Campbell, Jessica Ferguson, Sara Allen, Andrea Rodgers and I are putting together a Happy Hour this Thursday to raise money for The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. http://redcross.org/

    The details are below. We ask that you forward this to anyone who you think would like to help out.

    ?DC JazzFest Happy Hour?
    To help raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina

    Thursday August 31, 2005
    6pm ? 9pm
    MCCXXIII Lounge
    1223 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20036
    $25 (includes a Premium Liquor Open Bar, Jazz, Funk & Acid Jazz Music DJ)

    Thank you in advance for your support and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

    Jamie Hess along with Steve, Ray, Chris, Bianca, Amy, Colin, Jessica, Sara & Andrea

  6. Anonymous

    You should go into politics, DCB! With brilliant ideas like “wipe that stupid smirk off his face,” you could easily take care of all of the weather conditions that the president can’t control.

    Be sure to ban me again. I always like finding new proxies.

  7. not an promoter

    It never ceases to amaze me when promoters throw parties to “benefit” victims of a natural disaster. “To help raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina”. WTF does that mean? Of course she doesn’t mention the percentage that goes to charity, because it is so little. If they really cared, they would donate a bunch of money themselves. I’m guessing she is donating something like $25, or else she would publicly state her donation amount.

    They want you to think they care about a positive cause instead of just bringing attention to themselves and increasing their party lists. It’s disgusting.

  8. Windy

    1) I am not a promoter, I am not even hosting the event. A good friend sent me the invite and I am passing it on because I feel helpless and this is the one way I can help.

    2)I did not post what percentage they are donating because I do not know, but am in the process of finding out as several people have asked.

    3)The $25 is a minium donation and gets you into the event. People can donate more if they wish.

    4)If you want to make sure a 100% of your donation goes to the redcross then go online and donate at http://redcross.org. I did! (And I donated a hell of lot more than $25, not that it really matters as EVERY BIT COUNTS)

    5)This is a sad event, I have friends who have lost their homes – who have nothing and I still can’t reach several of my friends who live in New Orleans area, including a close girlfriend from college who lived here in DC with me for a year.

    So let’s quit the negativity, DCB’s post was great and I think it is remarkable that my friends throwing this fundraiser were able to get something together so fast and want to do SOMETHING instead of just talking about how horrible the Hurricane was …

    So “Not a Promoter” – Get over yourself, get over whatever you are bitter about, and help these people in need in ANY WAY THAT YOU CAN.

  9. Anonymous

    While New Orleans was getting utterly destroyed, you were posting pictures of a great ass and taking an extended private lunch break. The least you could do is stop thinking about sex for a few days.

  10. DCB Post author

    “While New Orleans was getting utterly destroyed, you were posting pictures of a great ass and taking an extended private lunch break. The least you could do is stop thinking about sex for a few days. ”

    Yeah you’re right, especially since i have country-wide powers to lessen the suffering of hurricane victims. idiot

  11. Phil

    Can’t say I understand how the President was supposed to stop the hurricane. Or comprehend how he will not help N.O. as you implied in your last comment.

    I like your blog, DCB, but this is an example of how blind political loyalty has prevented people from being even remotely rational.

  12. Anonymous

    Keep on deleting comments, DCB. It makes you seem incredibly insecure for all your shit-talking.

  13. CatCiao

    Bush has done one thing right, he has tapped his pop and Bubba to coordinate relief efforts aka raise money like they did for Tsunami Relief.

  14. Anonymous

    great blog but no one could have done much and, honestly, the big problems started late yesterday and caught everyone offguard. I don’t think anyone in the US had a clue how bad things were / were going to get –
    You may not like Bush – but not necessarily something he didn’t do so far.

  15. Liz

    In addition to numerous parties that have decided to donate money, if you like psytrance and proggy breaks, come to Mayavada at the Singapore Bistro this Saturday, we will be taking donations there as well.

    This party is one that I have been promoting and helping with, and it has been planned for far longer than the disaster in NOLA has been going on. So ‘not a promoter,’ before you shoot your mouth off again, don’t bother. This isn’t some scheme to get more people in the door.

    I see nothing wrong with various parties in the area deciding to take up donations for the Red Cross. It’s a hell of a lot better than just running one’s mouth.

  16. Anonymous

    Why not use your powers for good DCB? I generally enjoy your post but lashing out at Bush accomplishes nothing…especially considering he does not control Mother Nature.

    I would invite everyone to donate to the Red Cross and pray for all those affected.

  17. DCB Post author

    great how you people dont read things that close any holes you try to poke at… “I know there is nothing he can do to prevent the ongoing destruction”

  18. Phil

    “Here?s what he did while New Orleans was getting utterly destroyed. I mean, if he can run a war from his ranch, what?s playing the guitar while a million people lose their homes?”

    That’s quite a contradictory statement to your disclaimer you add right after it.

  19. Liz

    The party I am working with was not intended to be a benefit, and techinically I guess it still is not. This was planned long before the hurricane struck, and long before we even heard about it. But we just figured it would be a nice thing to do if we had a place to give donations.

    I’ll most likely end up giving money directly to the Red Cross as well. And Aja, you hit the nail on the head. This of all posts is not one where ‘hating’ is appropriate.

  20. Anonymous

    It breaks my heart and cannot believe it is truly happening in the united states. I wish I could figure out how to really help rather than to throw a few bucks somewhere:

    Outside the Convention Center, the sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement.

    Thousands of storm refugees had been assembling outside for days, waiting for buses that did not come.

    An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

    “I don’t treat my dog like that,” 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. “I buried my dog.”

  21. The Senator

    how do you know they are all poor and black?

    i didn’t read that in the CNN article.

    are you assuming based on the demographics of NOLA?

    and, what do you mean by “my people?” The American people?

  22. Windy

    The CNN article did say it was mostly poor African-Americans. Most of these people did not have the means to evacuate.

    It is not about treating a certain people a certain way – it is complete devastation – and we can all criticize the government over and over … but truth is we really can not understand the magnitude of what is going on down there … I truly believe FEMA is doing all that it can with out endangering more lives. This is not a race issue, all peoples lives are equally valuable … I do not think it would be any different were it “rich white people” as you stated. As for news crews, they were already there and it is not hard to mobilize a few people versus a mass evacuation that requires coordination.

    It is truly overwhelming. We are in NO position to judge, we are not there!

    And I am not sure “celebrate” was a good word choice, but I do think people should go out to the fundraisers, have a drink if you will – at least you are doing something … or simply click on the large donate button located at http://www.redcross.org … do what you can!

    Criticizing helps no one …

  23. Windy

    From CNN.Com Breaking News Banner: “New Orleans hospital halts patient evacuations after coming under sniper fire, a doctor who witnessed the incident says. More soon.”

    What do you say about this DCB? What do you expect the rescuers do when this happens? FEMA is doing what they can, but what happens when the people they are trying to rescue turn against them?!

  24. Anonymous

    The battle between the Senator and DCB is getting so old. It annoys me to read to your both your blogs because you two are just waiting to go at each other.
    You both need to grow up – if you don’t like each other – stay off each other’s blogs.
    Re – the hurricane – everyone needs to stop pointing fingers – no one wants to see this happen. focus on solutions

  25. V

    Saw Bush’s speech, was uninspired and offensive. Mostly talked about pipelines versus the reality of what is happening.

    Keeps getting worse and worse…

  26. inSOMnia

    Throwing parties and or going to ones to help put a profit into the pocket of scummy club owners sucks. Just go to the redcross people. Bush is and idiot. He fucked up his first term and he has nothing to loose this term.

  27. CultureShocked

    DCB said what everyone’s been punnani-footin’ around. I also can’t help but think why more isn’t being done and would all this be different if it were a predominantly “rich and white” area.

    The Hurricane itself is somewhat irrelevant, It’s about a disastrous event (whatever that may be) and ‘people’ needing assistance afterwards.

    When 9/11 hit, in the middle of New York City… A ‘National Emergency’ was declared. National Guard, Feds, Local, State, Firefighters, EVERYONE stepped up. They were walking into burning and collapsing buildings.

    So, the hostile-environment argument (what happens when the people they are trying to rescue turn against them) shouldn’t even be used as an excuse.

  28. Windy

    So you are suggesting that the rescuers put their lives in danger?

    I really think burning buildings and snipers are two very different things…

    And New Orleans as a whole is not a POOR area, there were plenty of “predominantly ?rich and white? areas” destroyed. Several friends of mine poor – very rich have lost their homes, everything they owned that they could not bring with them and many lost their lively hood too!

    This is a disaster that has affected all walks of life.

  29. RCR

    Why are you people comparing this to 9/11? One disaster spanned a dozen city blocks – this one spans hundreds of square miles. There were still hospitals in new york had power. The transit system was, for the most part, in tact. Relatively few people lost their homes and belongings. I mean, these two scenarios are so mind-bogglingly different… really, I’m at a loss.

  30. CultureShocked

    So you are suggesting that the rescuers put their lives in danger?

    Yes, I was pointing out that it’s what Emergency Management Personnel do on almost a daily basis.

    To undermine their job and neglect the fact that what they do EVERYDAY is in fact “putting their lives in danger” would be un-appreciative, and wrong from the rest of us.

    RCR, I was the one who made the 9/11 comparison … but I don’t understand what your comment/ question is.

  31. static

    Why has it taken so long to assembly enough national guard troops, or whoever, to go in and secure the NO area? Because there wasn’t any looting as I walked around in the French Quarter last Saturday night.

  32. DCB Post author

    “?New Orleans hospital halts patient evacuations after coming under sniper fire, a doctor who witnessed the incident says. More soon.? What do you say about this DCB?”

    Exagerations to buy time and give excuses of this massive failure of a relief effort. While I have no doubt that a few bad apples are making it difficult, to think that a homie with a pistol is preventing rescue or supply drop-off of 60,000 people is ludicrous.

    P.S. Windy: I know your heart is good with your happy hour, and I wish it raises money, but I just feel it’s kinda weird to go out and drink to do good for the victims.

  33. Castor Oil

    Go ahead and bash the shit out of Bush. Bash him without rational rationale or cogent thought. I could give half a rat’s ass if he can’t control the weather. He’s the President of the United States and we have an entire city dying and it’s getting worse by the hour and not better. How could he coordinate efforts better? Fuck if I know but he’s the man who stands up and says “follow the leader” and in this case the leader can’t seem to get food and water to his citizens that are dying on TV, y’know where the five thousand TV reporters are camped out talking to the people that are dying. To paraphrase Bill Pullman in Aliens -“Game over man, game over…why don’t you put Wolf Blitzer in charge!”

    So fuck Bush. Is it fair? Who cares, fair play and placing blame where it’s deserved hasn’t been a priority to him for five years so why should it be to me today?

    DCB, I still think you’re an insufferable dork for the most part but I do read your blog and think think you put up a very good post. Good work.

    inSomnia….have a pizza on my tab.

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