Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

August 9, 2006

The Long Strange, Resurrection of New Orleans

Fortune Magazine had a piece today concerning the rebuilding of the city. Most of these details we know, and maybe there’s some eye openers for us. The time that struck me was that the author lays almost all of the blame on the various levels of Guv’mit and not on the people of the affected area.


Yet it was here, late last year, that Frierson and several women of her acquaintance first planned to attack the powers that be. In this case the powers were the political establishments in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Washington, D.C. – establishments the women believed bore much of the responsibility both for the city’s collapse before Katrina last August 29 and for the paralytic pace of rebuilding.

Thin, blond, and blue-eyed, Frierson bears some resemblance, in her blazer and scarf, to a younger Nancy Reagan. For people who don’t live in New Orleans, her place in society might be summed up by her reputation as the city’s most successful residential real estate broker – the person to see about buying and selling its finest homes. Or one might note that at its annual Mint Julep Party the Junior League anointed Frierson the 2006 “Sustainer of the Year.”

In New Orleans terms, though, her elevated social status is best indicated by a single fact: Louis L. Frierson, her husband of 42 years, is a former Rex, the King of Carnival, the Monarch of Merriment, who headlines the grandiose private ball that officially closes Mardi Gras.

For years the city’s debs-and-dinner-parties set was proudly insular, its attention focused on its own affairs even as the city decayed. Corruption, inefficiency, and crime were the subject of ironic jokes over cocktails, not protests; the city’s disamenities were treated, all too often, as part of its storied charm. When New Orleans almost entirely missed the ’90s boom, it elicited little public dismay.

“We make a joke that’s not a joke,” says Elliott Stonecipher, a well-known political analyst in Shreveport. “Nobody in Louisiana knows what noblesse oblige is. New Orleans is a hotbed of civic apathy – the only city in the country where rich, powerful people don’t have their fingers in everything.”

And another-

It is wholly fitting that safeguarding New Orleans has fallen to its indigenous business class. But the lack of effective response by the political elite – and the lack of public concern about its inanition – is amazing.

Failing to rebuild a viable city would have consequences far beyond Louisiana. New Orleans’ two ports are, by tonnage, the nation’s biggest. They need to be – the region handles a third of the nation’s seafood and more than a quarter of its oil and natural gas. Some 4,000 oil and natural-gas platforms, linked by 33,000 miles of pipeline, spread out along the Louisiana coast. Among the facilities are the four largest refineries in the Western Hemisphere. Southern Louisiana is easily as important to the nation’s energy supply as the Persian Gulf.

And another-

Even as Louisiana politicians fulminated, LRA board member Sean Reilly met with Powell in January at his base in Amarillo. “We went to a luncheon place with a paper tablecloth,” says Reilly, a Baton Rouge executive who with his brother runs Lamar Advertising, the nation’s third-largest billboard firm.

Reilly was a former state legislator who had given up politics to concentrate on his business and his family. When Katrina hit, he jumped back in the fray. Reilly and Powell “pulled out pens and started drawing all over the table in terms of the numbers and categories of homeowners that needed to be covered and the philosophical choices that needed to be made.”

A central disagreement was the scope of federal responsibility. After providing aid for emergency services, the administration wanted to focus on the levee system, which Washington had long ago accepted as its purview, and on homeowners lacking flood insurance outside the officially designated floodplain – who had, at least in part, based their decision not to buy flood insurance on the grounds that the feds had stated their area was not at risk.

Most New Orleanians had a different view of Uncle Sam’s role. In a phrase heard again and again in the city, Katrina was a disaster made in Washington, not New Orleans. In most places water did not “overtop” the levees – the levees were broken by a storm surge they were supposed to withstand. In May a research team sponsored by the National Science Foundation and co-led by Robert Bea, a University of California at Berkeley engineering professor, concluded that these breaches, where the levees failed to meet design specifications, were responsible for four-fifths of the water that inundated greater New Orleans.

“The levees were designed incorrectly and built incorrectly,” Bea says. A former chief engineer for Shell, Bea designed scores of offshore oil platforms – “I’ve spent my whole professional life with hurricanes, so I’m kind of blunt about them.” Absent design and construction failures, he says, Katrina would have caused nothing more than “a few wet carpets and missing shingles.” (A forthcoming report by Louisiana State reaches a similar verdict.)

At the lunch with Powell, the LRA’s Reilly argued that “if you live behind a federally warranted levee and that levee fails, you shouldn’t be penalized if you don’t have flood insurance,” because the government has effectively promised householders that they won’t need insurance for those circumstances. Therefore, Washington had a moral obligation to all New Orleanians damaged by the flood, even the un- or underinsured.

We little folks here in New Orleans have some tough choices coming in the near future. This article lays it out pretty straight. The thing is: do we, the New Orleanians have it in us to fight back against those of our leaders that are in many ways ignoring our needs? I think we do.


August 8, 2006

I need a safe crew for gutting our house

Filed under: Aside,New Orleans — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 5:10 pm

Anyone out there that can recommend us a good, safe gutting crew? (Same goes for the clean-out.)

Please drop me a line. Thanx!

August 7, 2006

From Facing South- Katrina: The Latest on the Failed Response

Filed under: Corps of Engineers,FEMA,Levees,New Orleans — Tags: , , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 4:10 pm

Facing South is doing a series of reports on the response to Katrina’s effects on the Gulf Coast. Here’s and excerpt from today’s report:

Katrina: The latest on the failed response

The following continues our special coverage of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which will be marked on August 29, 2006.

“Volumes have been written on “what went wrong” in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina in August/September 2005. As we approach the one-year anniversary, there will be a host of retrospectives that try to capture the full story, of which much more is now known than came out after the storms.

For example, Wall Street Journal reporters Christopher Cooper and Robert Block, in their new book “Disaster,” give a thorough accounting of the information available and decisions made that led to federal inaction. One is that federal leaders ignored information being sent their way, as this excerpt from the book, which appeared on the WSJ website last week, reveals:

In the days after Katrina’s landfall, Secretary Chertoff, President Bush and others would justify the slow federal response by claiming that the breaching of the levees was “a second catastrophe” that occurred long after Katrina passed. But this simply wasn’t true. A subsequent investigation by the Army Corps of Engineers found that in some cases, breached levees began flooding New Orleans even before Katrina made landfall.

Indeed, news of the levee breaches came as early as 7:30 a.m. on the Monday Katrina hit, when the city’s disaster chief, Terry Ebbert, told Washington officials in a phone conversation that the storm “came up and breached the levee system in the canal,” according to Senate documents gathered afterward. A half hour later, the Transportation Security Administration made a written report directly to HSOC, confirming that the Industrial Canal levee adjacent to the Lower Ninth Ward had been breached and that floodwaters “have already intruded on the first stories of some houses.” Fifteen minutes after that, the National Weather Service issued its own levee-breach warning, advising retreating residents to take an ax with them to their attics so they could chop their way out if the waters rose.

One also learns of a new character who has escaped much public scrutiny, but who likely bears more responsibility than anyone else in the slow response: Matthew Broderick, the director of the Homeland Security Operations Center.”

This moron ignored emails and phone calls most of Deluge Monday concerning conditions in New Orleans. He seemed to be relying on CNN reports showing people celebrating their surviving of the storm. This cannot stand: he is guilty of negligent homocide, period.
Where does the Administration find these idiots? (Oh yeah, start from the top down… Fuck!)


Team New Orleans announced at the Blog Herald

Filed under: Civic Blogging,New Orleans — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 3:25 pm

The Blog Herald has announced that they are sending a team of folks to the city in order to talk with folks and gain a better understanding of what many of us down here have been going through these last 11+ months.

The results and info from this trip will be featured here , and New Orleans Now .

A curtsey to Mr. Melpomeme at World Class New Orleans.

Fwd- BlogNOLA: Katrina Survey

Filed under: New Orleans — Tags: — Morwen Madrigal @ 3:03 pm

This request comes courtesy of Markus’ posting to BlogNOLA. I have taken the survey and should be doing a follow-up interview this month. This can be a very good thing for our folks:

I am a native New Orleanian and currently a librarian at the University of Tennessee. I am researching the impact of information in the lives of Hurricane Katrina survivors. I have created an online survey that should take about 30 minutes to complete and will ask questions about the information you needed, where and how you found it, and how you provided information to others before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.

Participation in this survey is completely voluntary and you may decide to stop at any time. All responses are anonymous and results will be reported in aggregate form. Submission of the survey constitutes your implied consent to participate.

Go to the Survey:

I will also be conducting in-person and phone interviews on this topic in the New Orleans area August 7 – 21, 2006 about this same topic. If you would like to participate, please contact me or list your e-mail address or phone number at the end of the survey.

Download a flyer about the interviews:

Donna Braquet

Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor University of Tennessee Libraries (865) 974-0016 (504) 606-4721 (Local New Orleans #)

August 5, 2006

Katrina’s to Blame?

Filed under: Civic Blogging — Tags: — Morwen Madrigal @ 4:14 pm

I’m sick and tired of Neo-cons and the Religous Wrong. Take a look at this poop:

Crooks and Liars 

This is just more B/S.

August 4, 2006

UNOP is Insane

Oh my yes! The so very “democratic” UNOP Plan… freakin’ B/S!!! I can fuck their voting system 10,000 ways from Sunday.

This is another facet of the screw-job that the people of New Orleans are getting from the State and our local morons in our city guv’mit. These monies were given to the people as part of the Reparations due to the failure of the Feds’ botched levee job, and they are skewing the system for those whom Congress DID NOT INTEND THESE FUNDS FOR.

Alan at Think New Orleans has the story straight on the latest round in the battle:

Outsourcing Democracy


The citizens of New Orleans have been asked to choose the planners that will guide them through the process of developing a city wide plan for rebuilding. The method to record the response of the neighborhoods is an online poll. The online poll is open to fraud.

  • Suffrage is determined by the possession of an email address.
    • For many residents an email address is very difficult to obtain.
    • For anyone with knowledge of email, infinite unique addresses can be generated instantly.
  • An email address does not define a resident of New Orleans.
    • Anyone can vote without any indication of residency in New Orleans, let alone a specific neighborhood or planning district within New Orleans.
    • Anyone on the Internet can vote, even people living in other countries.

It is a childish implementation of a poll, easily gamed, impossible to verify.

This voting is being conducted under the contract of an architectural firm, Concordia, LLC. It presents and obvious conflict of interest.

Any neighborhood, dissatisfied with the results of a process that hinges upon this poll, can reasonably insist that the results of this poll be discarded.


August 2, 2006

No Fireworks For Katrina…

Filed under: Aside,Civic Blogging,Event,New Orleans — Tags: , , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 6:59 pm

It seems that Mayor Baldy has changed his mind on how the city will observe the first anniversary of Katrina and the Deluge.

Here’s the T-P’s report:

Nagin removes comedy show, fireworks from Katrina anniversary activities

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said today that his administration is scraping controversial plans to include fireworks and a comedy show among activities commemorating the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina later this month.

Nagin had come under fire last month after his administration announced the inclusion of such festive events in what was billed as “three days of reflection” on the storm, which killed more than 1,300 when it hit Aug. 29. Residents and community leaders attacked the fireworks and comedy show, and City Council members distanced themselves from the plans, announcing their own list of activities.

Nagin last week suggested he did not have any problem with the original program.

“As far as the criticism of whether this is too celebratory, I guess I’m becoming a little immune to criticism these days,” he said last week. “As far as fireworks is concerned, that’s not my push. I’m just going with the flow on that one.”

But on Wednesday Nagin said the activities were part of an “evolving” program.

Now when are we going to hear that the Gala Ball for rich shits is cancelled?

Barbarians at the Gate

Filed under: Aside,Community Planning — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 3:01 am

I’m in a mood today. Our boy cat had an orchy, and Button dropped her litter. The house is a mess, and I have two containers of food salvaged from the flooded house to put on the shelves. (I’m also running low on alcohol.)

I woke up to a message asking for info about our Mayor’s new pronouncement: over 2,000 “blighted” properties have been offered to developers. The damn city site no longer functions when it comes to the listings. (I’ve used it before when trying to create a Trans-friendly shelter.) I can’t pull anything up.

Later in the day I tried to access the city’s portal for details of their “Katrina celebration”. Same shit… cannot open the page.

Our local gov’mit has to go away. I tried for two years to create a shelter from the blighted housing list, and the ass holes just gave away over 2,000 of the properties? Fuck them. Where is the freakin’ Humanity in that jesture? People in the Lower Ninth might have wanted those places, but they were given to developers? This cannot stand.

Damn it… there are many good deserving people out there. There’s a need for shelters, safe places, and these properties were given to fucking developers? Jerks who make tons of money for a tiny bit of work? Sweet zombie Jezus, I’ve worked my ass off for years, gave time in service to my country, helped folks that the “normal” people wouldn’t get near. All I wanted to do was create a shelter for Trans folks, saving them the indignity of being housed in shelters without consideration of how they Identify themselves, and these freakin’ properties are given over to developers?

The same thing goes for battered women’s shelters. Youth houses, sanctuaries, and the places are just handed over to money pigs. I’m losing my mind over this.

This is the difference between my being a Progressive and those stupid fucks that call themselves Conservatives. I look for ways to make life better, they just want to return to the B&W Eisenhower Era. I know that I’m expendable, they think the world will stop spinning the second they die. I know that I’m not important…. I’m just a player for a time. They think they rule. I live life, and they just exist to pile up the money which they cannot take with them when they are taken to Hell.

Mister Nagin, rescend the sale of these blighted houses, offer them to those who need them.  Stop screwing us.

Sinn Fein!

August 1, 2006

We are New Orleans

Filed under: Corps of Engineers,FEMA,New Orleans — Tags: , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 4:09 pm

I’m sick and tired of BNOB and the UNOP shit.

Our people know what to fuckin’ do about hurricanes. It ain’t freakin’ rocket science. This is all about companies sucking from the Federal teat.

All levels of gov’mit are complicit in this. We DON’T NEED this crap! We, New Orleanians know what to fucking do… it’s in our blood.

We are not a sesspool like Iraq, we are America, and god damn anyone that thinks different. We are owed for services provided for the Nation. And we don’t want your fucking Halliburton-type arrangements. Screw your business fuckin’ contracts, we are just folks. We will rebuild, and it ain’t going to be under your oversight. We are New Orleans.

I can’t create enough adjectives to describe you shits, but I will keep trying. FUCK YOU money-grubbers, we will rebuild, and I will stand on my porch and tell you all to “Fuck Off”. I’m sick and tired of you mother fuckers.

The monies that are coming are the first payment on OUR reparations. There will be others to come.

I stand for all of New Orleans.

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