Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Orleans

It does not matter how hard I try, I cannot pronounce New Orleans as the Americans do, that is as one word, let alone get the accent right.

I was wondering how things are going there, specifically the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. I have heard a couple of news reports and I just did some hunting on the net, and it would seem things are not going so well, well not for the poor and the black.

We know what a disaster the hurricane was for New Orleans. We know what a disaster were the efforts of the US authorities to alleviate peoples suffering let alone protect them. We also heard many stories of personal bravery. We know that, like our own country, there was insufficient money being spent on infrastructure and still is.

But for all the self criticism we heard from the authorities, it seems not a great deal has changed. If you are white and financially comfortable, you are probably doing quite well back in New Orleans. If you are poor and black, or either, you may not even be back in New Orleans, or if you are, you ain't got much at all honey child.

That the richest country in the world could have allowed its citizens to die and suffer so badly is puzzling to me. That so many still suffer in spite of the soothing words from authorities is a disgrace.

12 comments:

  1. I only know what U have seen on Oprah witht he Katrina recovery...and shhhh, it was not moi who was watching it...it was my other half who had it on ok.... Oprah was giving out all these freebies to people who sacrificed heaps in their own lives to go on over to where those were affected and give a hand.
    Re the pronunciation of words...I can never ever get the word "Why" out like Sir Eric Pearce used to pronounce it... or Brian..Brian told me so Brian..you know. They sort of say the H first in the word why..I dont know, I can't do it...very gentlemanly of them

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't see Oprah but wish I had about this.

    I know what you mean about the h in hwhy. I can do it, but I don't think I do in normal speech, I don't think. Now I will be conscious when I use the word why.

    ReplyDelete
  3. u mean NU AWWRLIENS?

    :)
    Keshi.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I thought America had a cheek in accepting aid from the world considering how much it was spending on a war at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. America has the highest poverty rate in the world. Kennedy tried to fix it (or Bobby aided him, essentially) and Johnson took up the shinking ship... but Vietnam took the resources.

    The richest country in the world? Sickening.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Close Keshi.

    And space travel too Jahteh, although that is perhaps more to your taste. You like a nice planet hey.

    And Hilary tried to sort out the health system Rosanna and failed, hence the movie Sicko.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Only people from the South pronounce it as one word, Andrew. The rest of us struggle with the pronunciation the same way that you do.

    I live about 25 hours away from Louisiana, so I can't attest to the rebuilding efforts. Your comments about the disparity of blacks and whites are true, though, and it makes me sad.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nwawlyerns. I think that's how they say it. Never went there, but if it looks as much like a third world country as the parts of the other cities I visited, it would be in pretty bad shape hurricane or not.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can't you do a southern accent Daisy Jo? I quite like it, but like Bronx accent better. I read and hear enough about he real America to know that there are many decent people in the US who care.

    Yes, I don't think it was too great before the Hurricane Lad. Excuse me while I go and untangle my tongue after attempts to pronounce your phonetic rendition.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Andrew...I do like it when they speak this way, it is very nice to say hwhy... :) Gentlemanly...yes?

    ReplyDelete
  11. The forgotten people or the abandoned people. I am of course referring to the residents that lived in the lower lying areas.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous11:44 am

    Andrew,
    I am a native New Orleanian living 30 minutes outside the city now. The story of the "recovery" is as complex as the city itself. To put it simply, government on all levels has failed it's citizens. It is the citizens themselves that have made any progress seen. The road has been difficult beyond comprehension, mostly due to the promise of help that never seems to arrive. It would have been less cruel if they had just told us initially "You are on your own." Instead, we have had to deal with never ending incompetent bureaucracy with no results for all the effort. The government HAS done a few things. After much delay, they removed the debris. It took over a year. They supplied FEMA trailers after about 8 months after the storm. They "allocated" aid for rebuilding 7 months after the storm to the state. Two years later a majority of the people that lost their homes have not seen any of this money. They supplied Blue FEMA tarp to cover the broken roofs. That occurred pretty some after the storm (6 weeks -3 months). All of these activities were contracted to large national companies that sub-contracted to smaller companies, that sub-contracted to even smaller companies, on down the line. Each company took a cut of the action, so pennies were actually sent in the area. They also spent money on the levees to repair them up to "pre-Katrina" levels. That makes no sense because Pre-Katrina levels failed us and flooded the city and the sad truth is 2 years later the levees are STILL not even to that level of protection. The GOOD news of the area are few but really amazing when you know what effort it took. I knew as of Feb. 2007 (Mardi Gras) that the city would survive because the tourists started to return. Businesses were suffering badly before then, but now there was hope. Slowly, slowly the percentage increses, helping the city as it does. Local neighborhood organizations are stronger than ever because people had to pull together to help each other and to face their government in strength. Lastly, but not least, are the WONDERFUL volunteers that have come from all over the world to hel up gutt out homes and FINALLY start to rebuild. The truly helped not only with their hands but also by bringing hope and letting us know we were not forgotten by our countrymen and the world. This is not to say we have the support of all our countrymen. Not by a long shot. One of the hardest thing to comes to terms with was and is the number of Americans turning their back on their own citizens. It is something that NEVER even occurred to me as a possibility before the storm. But instead of being the horrible disaster that it was and is "Katrina" has become a political event. People have taken sides according to their political beliefs and argue whether we "deserve" to exist in our 300 year old city or not. Racism is of course tied to all these arguement, on both sides of the arguement. In Katrinaland racism also exists, but for most people it is just friends and fellow citizens doing what they can to restore our beloved city to a new sort of normal. We will never be the same for we have all changed. Hopefully, in the end, the changes will result in a better world for the future. People here are fighting hard for that goal

    ReplyDelete