Tag: FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six
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.
On April 20, 2010, a reckless attitude towards the safety of the Gulf Coast by BP caused a well to blow out 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. “People should be aware that the oil is still there,” says Wilma Subra, a chemist who travels widely across the Gulf. The reality she is seeing on the ground contrasts sharply with the image painted by BP.
As this weekend’s storm has reminded us, hurricanes can be a threat to U.S. cities on the East Coast as well the Gulf. But the vast changes that have taken place in New Orleans since Katrina have had little to do with weather and everything to do with political struggles.
The prosecution rested its case last week in the Danziger Bridge police violence trial with one final witness testimony, perhaps the most moving, from Lesha Bartholomew. Bartholomew broke into tears as she described seeing her mother wounded, with her arm nearly shot off.
Just as Hurricane Katrina revealed racial inequalities, the recovery has also been shaped by systemic racism. According to a recent survey of New Orleanians by the Kaiser Foundation, 42 percent of African Americans – versus just 16 percent of whites – said they still have not recovered from Katrina. Thirty-one percent of African-American residents – versus 8 percent of white respondents – said they had trouble paying for food or housing in the last year.