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New levees plan won't protect SBP, Lower Ninth, N.O. East

The Army Corps of Engineers said the plan for improved levees that is being pushed by President George Bush is a good one for the areas where levees breached but will do nothing to protect the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East or St. Bernard Parish.
...The plan calls for closing off the levees at the London Avenue, Orleans Avenue and 17th Street Canals by June 1, 2006...
In addition the levees will be built over with concrete and pumping stations would be positioned near Lake Pontchartrain within two years.
The plans are based on the standard of a true Category-3 and Congress used 100 miles per hour winds as their gauge for satisfactory flood protection in the short term.
The Corps has also been given two years to come up with a proposal for Category-5 protection...


Entergy: no timetable for some neighborhoods

From this:

The bankrupt utility that supplies power and gas to New Orleans has not set a timetable for restoring service to the city's storm-ravaged eastern neighborhoods and the Lower Ninth Ward, the company's chief executive told an angry crowd of residents on Saturday.
Entergy New Orleans, a subsidiary of Entergy Corp., needs a $450 million federal bailout to replace equipment destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and finance operations over the next year, Chief Executive Dan Packer said.
Packer, speaking to more than 400 evacuees spilling out of a jammed City Hall meeting room, said Entergy did not expect to be able to restart its two gas-fired power plants in New Orleans until summer 2006.
Entergy has restored electric service to only about 24 percent of its pre-storm levels in New Orleans and is having to repair and replace more than half of its substations after they were swamped with flood water, he said.

Previously: "Entergy New Orleans goes bankrupt".


Medea Benjamin: "Katrina Survivors are Losing the Battle to Return Home"

Oft-arrested far-left activist, co-founder of CodePink and Global Exchange, and Cuban tourist Susan "Medea" Benjamin offers this:

Two months after Katrina, the residents of New Orleans most traumatized by the hurricane and its aftermath are now traumatized by their battle to return home. And many of the city's poor, black "Katrina survivors" are losing this second battle...
[...poster children...]
Similar fates are befalling residents of the city's 38,000 public housing units: they are coming home to find their apartments boarded up, even though the concrete block apartments -- ugly as they might be -- were among the best in withstanding the hurricane. Housing advocates say it is part of a long-term desire to cleanse the city of its public housing, recalling the crass comments of Representative Richard Baker, R-L.A.: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."
Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was a city of 485,000 people, 65% of whom were black. Today, officials estimate that during the day there are some 125,000 people, falling to 70,000 at nighttime when many leave to find shelter outside the city. Mayor Nagin predicted that New Orleans would lose about half its pre-Katrina population. And with government policies and market forces stacked against the poor, the "new" New Orleans is becoming whiter and whiter...
The "whitification" of New Orleans, however, is not inevitable. There are many solutions: demanding a massive program for affordable housing, halting evictions and price gouging for rental properties, making it possible for evacuees who are scattered around the country to move to temporary shelters (trailers, vacant apartments, tents) back home, giving job priority to local residents, reopening public schools, providing support systems to those returning, demanding that the poor be represented in the rebuilding decisions...
...At the grassroots level, there are remarkable community activists like Malik Rahim, who has turned his home on the dry west bank of Algiers into the Common Ground Collective... During Thanksgiving week, Nov. 22-29, Common Ground is calling for a mass convergence on New Orleans help clean up the Ninth Ward (see
Community Labor United is also setting up communication/relief centers...
ACORN, temporarily based in Baton Rouge, is fighting home demolitions and reconnecting with its New Orleans base...
...A massive movement of solidarity is the only force that will rescue the people of New Orleans this time around.

Sure, Medea, you wait right over there. The 98% of Americans who aren't very far-left useful idiots will join you in solidarity soon. (Non-sarcastically: the mainstream interest in doing the right thing by NO's population isn't helped by the efforts of people like her. Please, visit Cuba and just stay there.)
UPDATE: "Jean" noticed that Medea or someone else had made a mistake, leaving out the first "l" in the phrase "reopening public schools" in the quote above. I corrected it.

"Who's Killing New Orleans?"

Eased out of the Big Easy

From 10/4's Eased out of the Big Easy from Jesse Jackson:

After his administration's incompetence and indifference had lethal consequences in Katrina's wake, President Bush has been scrambling to regain his footing. He's called for an "unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis." In religious services at the National Cathedral, he called on America to "erase this legacy of racism" exposed by those abandoned in Katrina's wake. He's called on Congress to appropriate more than $60 billion in emergency relief and outlined a recovery program likely to cost up to $200 billion, or nearly as much as the Iraq War.
All this has led the press to compare his plans to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal or Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Don't fall for it. A close look at the Bush plan reveals that this is a bad deal from a deck stacked against the poor who suffered the most in Katrina's wake.
[Davis-Bacon suspension, Alphonso Jackson of HUD's remarks,]
...The people of the 9th Ward are the maids and waiters who serve New Orleans tourists. They are the musicians who give the city its blues. They are the cops and government clerks who are struggling to bring the city back. Half of the houses there are owned, not rentals. Many of these workers are dispersed -- dispatched to over 40 states. Many still are in shelters.
No one could figure out why the Bush administration wouldn't give the evacuees housing vouchers to rent housing in and around New Orleans. Instead, FEMA has ordered tens of thousands of trailers and is struggling to build trailer parks -- Bushvilles -- to shelve Katrina's victims...

They are distributing vouchers; please enter facts and figures on that in the comments.

Now we know. Bush's isn't planning urban renewal, he's planning urban removal. The administration has given the victims of Katrina a one-way ticket out with no plan for their return. Instead, the planners will turn New Orleans into a gentrified theme park. They'll rebuild the white communities -- even those like middle-class Gentilly and wealthy Lakeview that are as prone to severe flooding as the 9th Ward.
Congress should insist that Katrina's victims have a right to return -- and FEMA should develop a plan to make their return possible. They should have preference for the jobs that will be created in rebuilding the city. They should be provided vouchers to use for nearby housing. If necessary, local military bases should be opened, with public transportation to get them to and from work. They should be paid the prevailing wage, with decent health-care benefits. The people of the 9th Ward should decide the fate of their homes, not urban planners intent on building a New Orleans without its black people. If their neighborhoods are not rebuilt, then affordable and public housing should be built in other parts of New Orleans...

Public housing? This would be a wonderful opportunity for an American president to try to lift NO's poor out of their previous poverty cycle, while at the same time allowing them to return to their city. That's going to require money, intelligent thinking, and a pro-American president. The first we have, but the last two are lacking.

Ninth Ward flooded... again

From this:

Workers dealt Monday with large ponds of water in some areas that were previously flooded by Hurricane Katrina, but authorities said the pools were not a major concern.
In the Gentilly area, several inches of water stood along several hundred feet of a street near the London Avenue Canal, which was breached by Katrina eight weeks ago and continues to undergo repair.
The water was coming through a breach that was repaired earlier, said Alan Dooley, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. The seepage involved clear water, which means the water was not degrading the repairs, he said.


"Tear Down the Ninth Ward"

From this:

Since Katrina, reporters and columnists have described New Orleans as a fantasy land, as if the entire city is the French Quarter and the Garden District. They talked of the wonderful jazz and the bawdiness in the Quarter. There is a little jazz, particularly at the famed Preservation Hall, but much of Bourbon Street is T-shirt shops and second-class restaurants offering poor food at exorbitant prices. The only bawdiness comes from young tourists who leave their social restraints at home and feel free to expose their breasts. New Orleans citizens rarely, if ever, go on Bourbon Street.
So what should they do with the neighborhoods, especially the Ninth Ward, left uninhabitable by Katrina?
A few neighborhoods that are not so sodden with crime and poverty maybe should be rebuilt as they were. What I believe should be done with the Ninth Ward will never happen politically: they should plow under the neighborhood, truck out the debris and drastically redesign the ward and its culture.


Nagin defends gaming; "I see a state in crisis"; "not feeling very regional right now"; thousands still missing

From this:

A frustrated New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin warned Thursday that it would be in the state's best interest to help the Crescent City jump-start its Hurricane Katrina-riddled economy, saying the impact on the state -- if nothing is done -- will pale in comparison to the layoffs the city recently announced.
"You think 3,000 layoffs in New Orleans is a big deal. Just wait,'' Nagin, his sleeves rolled up, said during an evening meeting with The Advocate's editorial board. "I see a state in crisis.''
The mayor pointed out during the Baton Rouge meeting that New Orleans accounts for 35 percent of the state budget.
"This is not chump change,'' he said. "We're going to have to sell the financial realities of what has happened to this state. Four-day work weeks is not going to do it.''
Nagin, who spent a second straight day Thursday visiting New Orleanians in evacuation shelters, including those in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state, expressed frustration over inaction on the state's part and what he perceives as indifference to the city's post-Katrina plight...
...Nagin, asked if the city is considering filing for bankruptcy, said his administration is in the process of borrowing $50 million from Chase Bank and is looking for a consortium of banks to lend the city another $50 million to $100 million...
...The mayor said his much-criticized proposal last week to create a casino district in downtown New Orleans -- what he referred to Thursday as the "hype and glitter factor,'' would be a way to breath life into the ailing city economy...
...The devastated Lower 9th Ward, what he called "the most vulnerable area of the city,'' could face "mass demolitions'' if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot give the city and residents the "comfort'' that it can be protected from future levee breaks along the Industrial Canal. The Lower 9th contains the highest concentration of blighted property in the city, he said, a legacy of Hurricane Betsy. If the Lower 9th is rebuilt, it likely will contain of mix of raised residences, apartments and condominiums, and industry.
His relationships with Blanco and Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard are less than cozy.
"I've been trying to work with the governor. We have very different styles. I'm really at a loss for what else to do,'' the mayor said.
"There are some really hard feelings right now,'' he said of his feelings toward Broussard. Shortly after Katrina struck, New Orleans residents who had fled to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center tried to "walk to freedom'' by crossing the Crescent City Connection on foot to make it out of the flooded city, but law enforcement officials in Gretna -- which is in Jefferson Parish -- met them with guns and "attack dogs,'' he said.
"And they want me to talk about regionalism. I'm not feeling very regional right now,'' Nagin said.
His idea to create a charter school system of 20 schools that he, rather than the Orleans Parish School Board, would control was prompted by the extreme pressure that the board is under to open schools on the city's east bank...
Even with 60 percent of the 1,061 identified hurricane deaths being from New Orleans, there are still 4,000 to 7,000 missing New Orleanians...

150 more buses found in Ninth Ward

From the 9/12 article "Floodwaters also may be full of gasoline":

Some 150 buses that were moved to the Poland Avenue Wharf in the Lower Ninth Ward appear to have fared well, but about 70 of those vehicles were commandeered by the police and fire departments, the National Guard, and in a few cases by individual citizens who used them to evacuate family members, friends and neighbors.

This post has an aerial picture, and says:

They were in perfect condition and the route between them and the elevated interstate was dry the whole time.

That bases its conclusion on this google picture of the Poland Avenue Wharf.
[nofollow policy in effect]

Ninth ward pictures

There are some pictures here. They are supposedly from the 9th Ward and were taken this morning.


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