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.
Opening arguments begin today in what observers have called the most important trial New Orleans has seen in a generation. It is a shocking case of police brutality that has already redefined this city’s relationship to its police department and radically rewritten the official narrative of what happened in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.
Many New Orleanians have roots in Haiti. The 500 enslaved people who participated in the 1811 Rebellion to End Slavery – the largest armed uprising against slavery in the U.S. – were directly inspired by the Haitian revolution. We are also linked by first-hand understanding of the ways in which oppression based on race, class and gender interacts with disasters.
They shoot us, then display us as looters. / Then they bring in the U.N. and the rest of the U.S. friends, / Blackwater forces who now go under the new name Xe, / Who, like a fatal disease, once they get in, they don’t / Never plan on leaving. ... / Haiti! The land of my brotherman … and sister woman, / The ones that kicked Napolean’s ass, / The land of sugar cane and Africans, / The land in which the enslaved revolt.