It just doesn’t seem fair that on the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, the Gulf Coast is facing yet another force of nature: Hurricane Gustav. While some residents and pets have been pro-actively evacuated, FEMA, the Red Cross and other agencies are preparing for yet another potential disaster. Today New Orleans takes pause amid impending disaster to hold a memorial service and bell-ringing.
And after three long years working to rebuild the city and the afflicted Gulf, the media spotlight is looking at what has and hasn’t been accomplished. Many of the recovery efforts have stagnated in the past year – tens of thousands of blighted properties, lack of affordable housing for essential service and construction workers, sparse public services, and a broken health care system continue to plague the city and region, according to the Brookings Institute.
Alternet.org reports residents feel divided by class and race, and feel forgotten by the rest of the country and the federal government.
And from the UK Guardian, comes this take:
While tourists long ago repopulated the French Quarter, 57% of New Orleans’ black population – against 36% of whites – have yet to return to the city. Many never will. This is because since Katrina, developers have clubbed together with the authorities to complete New Orleans’ makeover into a playground for wealthy tourists.
As house prices soar and homelessness rises, the authorities are quietly doing away with the city’s remaining stocks of affordable housing in moves that the UN has recently claimed constitute human rights violations. The fact that these demolitions will overwhelmingly affect black people has led some to call this ethnic cleansing.