Monday, February 27, 2006

Mardi Gras Illustrates The Difference Between Race And Class After Katrina

In a September 15, 20005 White House presss release, President Bush made broad promise of $60 in aid for Katrina disaster rebuilding efforts, plus other broad promises to rebuild the business community in New Orleans, as well as other Southern states hit by "enterprise zones" and other means to restore places of work and jobs. Yet six months after the Katrina disaster little substantial has been done that can be seen.

In Congress, conservative Republicans pushed for $40 billion in social service cuts to Food Stamps, child support enforcement, student loans and other programs to supposedly help to pay for the Katrina relief, but instead pushed for a new $70 billion dollar tax cut for the wealthy of the larger U.S., and the federal relief and support to New Orleans has gone largely unnoticed by real victims of the disaster.

Very few of the homes have been rebuilt in the heavily damaged 9th Ward. Garbage trucks haven't even pickedup all the debris of homes and damaged property in broadly destroyed neighborhoods that still remains on the ground and streets a full six months after Katrina. Even very few of FEMA trailers have been delivered. And those who live in these find life very uncomfortable with very little room to barely have a life even close to the normal life before Katrina.

And since very little damage to the French Quarter where much of the main Mardi Gras celebrations occur each year, then the normal events of elaborate parades, public drunkeness, women exposing themselves for beads, public urination, vomiting from too much drinking, and drunken fist fights seem to carry on as normal.

In the heavily Black neighborhoods, the Indian celebrations are noticeably smaller as many of the Black residents are gone because of the Katrina disaster, or their elaborate costumes were destroyed. In the days of slavery in the deep South, many Blacks struck up kinships with Native American Indians, and the Indian celebrations carry this on in smaller less formalized parades.

Of a large city of over 415,000 persons, only around 110,000 now live in new Orleans. Of 81,000 businesses once in New Orleans, now only about 42,000 operate. There are real problems reopening many because there is so little available housing in New Orleans. And only two hospitals are fully functional in the city. Even Rev. Pat Roberts who operates the Operation Blessing charity stated that these hospitols only received just a few insulin supplies from the Federal GOvernment, while his religious-oriented charity donated thousands of insulin supplies as well as 80,000 pounds of medical supplies. Religious organizations did so much, while little of the Federal aid can be found.

The Bush address to the nation after the Katrina disaster promised so much. Yet so little has been done. It seems as though the only intent of the speech was simply to pacify the nation at the time and to avoid more well deserved criticism of the very ineffective and do nothing White House.


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