Saturday, June 28, 2008

Louisiana

I just got back from Louisiana - where I visited Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and parts of Louisiana with more Cajun influence.

You can see my pictures here and here. I ate great food and experienced extremely humid heat.

Most of the trip was really fun. Good food and fun places to visit. The part that really struck me though, was the short drive we took through the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, where the flooding was so bad after Hurricane Katrina.

I don't know enough to know who specifically was at fault for the slow response that caused so many people to lose their lives, homes, etc. However, I really do believe that there's no way that the federal government/state government/American people would have let this turn into such a disaster if it was primarily upper middle class or upper class white people being affected. Just like the violence and craziness that has happened at my school would never never be tolerated if the kids were primarily wealthier and white. In my own experience, I've seen things happen in the neighborhood near my school that seem to be universally accepted, because that's just what happens in black neighborhoods.

I really don't understand why we don't see all children as worth the same. I don't know why we don't see all people as being of equal worth, but can't we at least agree on children all being equally valuable, regardless of their socioeconomic status or color?

Here's the 9th Ward, three years later.

3 comments:

meloukhia said...

The situation in New Orleans does seem to highlight the huge socioeconomic gap in this country, and it illustrates how closely that gap follows the color line, doesn't it? All the more unfortunate that children are often the victims of poverty, because they cannot exert choice over their lives. Very interesting and also very sad to see all these photographs of the 9th ward in total chaos three years after the hurricane.

p.s. you accidentally (I assume) linked to a wiseGEEK article instead of the second album of pictures!

B said...

you're right - it was an accident - I've fixed it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is not a defense of FEMA at all. I believe they did an atrocious job, considering how much warning they had a hurricane of that magnitude was approaching the coast. There should have been REAL officials at those makeshift refugee sites, for one thing.

But one of the problems with the Ninth Ward and other places has to do with determining legal ownership of the property. Some of the owners died in the flood, others decided to stay where they were relocated, and still others were out-of-town landlords who only considered the property an investment. They've already given up on improving the property themselves.

The government could easily assemble bulldozers and level all that flooded land down to the ground, but they can't legally touch it until the owners have been located and sign off on the deconstruction plan.

Considering how many unscrupulous contractors have descended on that area already, there is a stalemate between leveling it all and letting it return to the protective swampland it used to be or investing more money in renovations.

There's always been talk of deliberate delays on reconstruction so that minority and government-dependent residents will continue to live elsewhere and a new New Orleans will rise from the ashes that is more appealing to tourists.