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New Orleans

Tens of thousands of mostly Black New Orleanians waited for days at the Convention Center and Superdome, where they’d been told to go for help, in over 100-degree heat without food or water. Many old people and babies died. The media were there and the world was watching, but military and police forces allowed no one to help.

Third Street Stroll …

August 31, 2015

The morning of Dec. 7 (2006) found me traveling through the UPPER AND LOWER NINTH WARD of NEW ORLEANS, where hundreds and thousands of homes were destroyed by the aftermath of HURRICANE KATRINA in August 2005! The storm ripped the hearts and souls of residents who fled the City to other parts of the country now waiting to COME BACK HOME.

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Maj. Tracy Riley faces strong racist opposition to her Black business in the French Quarter, but she has a lot of support too.

The Scarlet Letter ‘R’: The unveiling of Katrina’s oldest survivor, Racism

August 30, 2015

Aug. 29, 2015, of this year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s lethal brush with New Orleans. Although Katrina did not hit New Orleans head-on, the whip of her tail as she swept past the city’s southeastern perimeter caused a surge of wind and waves that only a head-on Category 3 could deliver. Amongst the survivors of the storm is New Orleans’ oldest resident, Racism.

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In 2006, members of the Survivor Village tent city outside the St. Bernard public housing complex took their struggle to affluent Uptown New Orleans’ St. Charles Avenue near Tulane University. They wanted to return to their own homes, which were damaged very little or not at all by the storm, not be forced into the fake substitute of “mixed-income housing.” But instead, 4,000 safe and sound homes in public housing complexes were all demolished. – Photo: Indymedia

New Orleans land grab: Addressing the ‘elephant’ in the city 10 years after Hurricane Katrina

August 1, 2015

As we approach the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, let’s not ignore the “elephant” in New Orleans, notwithstanding the pressure to do just that. The elephant in our city is the rampant land grab displacing predominantly African American residents to the outskirts of the city, where public safety, reliable transit, nearby schools, accessible job opportunities and neighborhood amenities are lacking.

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New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at 10: Who was left behind?

July 31, 2015

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal.

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A man carries a baby after the Superdome was evacuated following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. – Photo: U.S. Navy

‘Katrina: After the Flood’

July 29, 2015

The New York Times sent Gary Rivlin to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, days after the storm, to cover Katrina as an outsider. Rivlin’s instincts had him looking forward “to the mess ahead. Eventually the flood waters would recede. How would New Orleans go about the complicated task of rebuilding?” This carefully researched, beautifully written book describes that process from then until now.

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The stunning Albert Woodfox mural, just completed by Brandan Odums, is on the building at 537 S. Claiborne Ave. at Poydras in New Orleans. – Photo: Doug MacCash, Times-Picayune

Albert Woodfox mural reminds New Orleans of 43 years of injustice

July 13, 2015

A new 25-foot mural in the City of New Orleans reminds residents that Albert Woodfox, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, has been in prison and in solitary confinement for 43 years. On Friday, July 3rd, artist-activist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, put the finishing touches on the portrait of Angola 3 prisoner Albert Woodfox on the side of a stucco building near the Poydras Street intersection. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.

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Appeals court rules 7,000 New Orleans teachers unfairly laid off post-Katrina

January 31, 2014

New Orleans teachers who lost their jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were wrongfully terminated and deserve two to three years of back pay, an appeals court ruled Jan. 16. The ruling affects more than 7,000 teachers who were fired and comes after years of legal wrangling, The Times-Picayune reported. Katrina catalyzed the ground-up remaking of the New Orleans public school system, of which the mass layoffs of thousands of teachers was just one part. The layoffs also destabilized neighborhoods.

The cruel and unusual punishment of Herman Wallace

October 19, 2013

The Angola 3 say they were framed and held in solitary confinement for founding a chapter of the Black Panther Party in the Angola State Prison. But, says supporters Marina Drummer: “There was absolutely no evidence whatsoever. All there was was conflicting eyewitness reports and a prison administration that was determined to stop Herman and Albert from organizing in the prison.”

Katrina Pain Index 2013: New Orleans eight years later

August 29, 2013

Eight years after Katrina, nearly a 100,000 people never got back to New Orleans, the city remains incredibly poor, jobs and income vary dramatically by race, rents are up, public transportation is down, traditional public housing is gone, life expectancy differs dramatically by race and place, and most public education has been converted into charter schools.

New Orleans 1811 Slave Revolt tour raises funds to rebuild libraries in Haiti

July 1, 2013

Bibliotheque Parrainage, a New Orleans based non-profit, is working to rebuild libraries in Haiti. During the July 4th weekend in New Orleans, Bibliotheque Parrainage is hosting a fundraising bus tour of the Louisiana 1811 Slave Revolt, the largest slave revolt in the United States. Funds raised from this July 4th weekend adventure will be used for assistance to the Nationale Bibliotheque in Haiti.

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Slashed budget leaves hundreds of indigent defendants lawyerless in New Orleans

March 16, 2013

Draconian cuts in the budget for lawyers who represent indigent defendants have come back to haunt the Orleans Parish criminal justice system. Upwards of 500 indigent defendants may have been locked up without the benefit of an assigned defense attorney over the past year, according to a brief filed in the state Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.

A quiet revolution: ‘Not Meant to Live Like This: Weathering the storm of our lives in New Orleans’

March 4, 2013

One morning after Mass at the Poor Claire Monastery, Maria Victoire, a volunteer with the Fourth World Movement, broached the idea of a collaborative book written by extremely poor New Orleaneans scattered to the winds after Hurricane Katrina. She was asking my opinion as an author about what to do with the 50 or so interviews she had conducted and how to get them published as a book.

New Orleans police conviction vacated

January 29, 2013

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has overturned the conviction of former New Orleans police officer David Warren, one of the former cops tried and convicted of an assortment of charges related to the murder of Henry Glover, who was shot by police and later burned in an abandoned car by cops just days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than seven years ago.

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Gulf Coast joins together to help those in need due to Hurricane Isaac

October 11, 2012

When Hurricane Isaac hit the shores of the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, Operation People for Peace was able to take a truckload of supplies donated by Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., to Pearlington and Gulfport. Additionally, we visited Plaquemines Parish and LaPlace, La., passing out cleaning supplies, food and personal items to those in need.


September 13, 2012

This photo comes with a sad story. The child with the sign is Olga, Althea Francois’ daughter. This picture was taken by the FBI and sent to Althea’s parents. They told her parents that she was putting their grandchild in dangerous situations. This set off a chain of events that Althea wondered about for many years.

Mayor, police chief still silent in response to NYPD spying in New Orleans

September 5, 2012

When our mayor and police chief show that they don’t care about their citizens’ civil rights, and when our media and politicians treat these violations less seriously than it would be treated in other cities, it adds to New Orleans’ status as a “second-class” city, and gives all of us, as residents, second-class rights.

Seven years after Katrina, a divided city

August 30, 2012

New Orleans has become a national laboratory for government reforms. But the process through which those experiments have been carried out rarely has been transparent or democratic. The results have been divisive, pitting new residents against those who grew up here, rich against poor, and white against Black.

Katrina Pain Index 2012: Seven years after

August 29, 2012

There are 123,934 fewer people in New Orleans now than in 2000. How does New Orleans rank today, in comparison to other U.S. cities and the world, seven years after Katrina?

Food for thought

July 19, 2012

The red carpet at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities was teeming with elegant, poised, radiant young HBO stars, ready to introduce the film about them, The Rethinkers, and discuss it. Inside it was standing room only, and barely that. “The Great Cafeteria Takeover” was premiering this night as part of the HBO series, “The Weight of the Nation.”

Jungleland? New Orleans community activist rejects NY Times depiction of 9th Ward

June 17, 2012

The New York Times Magazine recently ran a story on my home, the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, a place one of the most powerful newspapers in the world insensitively dubbed a “Jungleland.” Contrary to the article, residents don’t live in an untamed mess of overgrowth or in a forgotten wasteland. We are not resigned to anything; we are fighting to revive our community.

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