Friday, October 21, 2005

Coming Home To New Orleans

After riding out Katrina and the aftermath, I desparately needed some time away to clear my head and discover that there is civilization still left out there - well it worked... unfortunately too well.

I now have a handle on how Americans are growing bored with the utter devastation and total destruction of an entire city. Unless you are down here, you CAN NOT get or understand the complete and total loss. You can not comprehend it, therefore one focuses on other things.

I urge all Americans to listen to WWL Radio either on AM 870 (which can be heard at night all the way from Santa Fe to St. Louis to Atlanta) or on the internet at

I did this as I neared Ft. Worth on my return. The situation roared back into my head as I listened to a woman balling crying about how her landlord had evicted her without contacting her or the proper agencies and told the new tenant to burn all of her belongings in the back yard. I listened to the radio announcers bemoan the total lack of housing in the city - we still have people, somethimes up to 14 individuals to a home. I listened and heard how Congress is not brining forth the cash needed to pay for anything - our city and state are now completely broke! There is NO tax base! I listened as the cream of New Orleans' is being skimmed off in order to grow other cities.

What the hell is going on here? WE NEED HELP! An entire city was destroyed. WE NEED HELP!

How can we survive if local firms are not given contracts to help rebuild and therefore they are closing up shop and firing New Orleanians who must then move to other cities to find work?

No one is thinking properly up in Washington. This is becoming a carpetbagging situation and an entire American city is losing its grip.


Anonymous Anonymous said... if anyone 'wanted' to come down and help, be enterprising, and put NOLA people to doesn't seem possible... It's like the city needs a "cash bank" like the one a bar starts out with at the beginning and ending of a night -- and people from the outside, with additional money, to spend it that, each day, the money grows and is given toward its workers and reinvested in the city...

Maybe i should take the time to read further on about that Economic Plan that spells out how this is going to happen. Unfortunately, it seems like another American city is next (the one they thought would be the first to go...Detoit; we're looking at 26,000 jobs cut by GM alone next year, more by other automakers, and huge suppliers like Delphi going bankrupt...). Urban planning is now of a heightened interest to me and many other Americans who just took this stuff for granted....

Thanks for keeping us posted, Troy.

Now, how do we all suddenly learn about construction, decontamination, urban planning, and economics...for all of us who were liberal arts majors...hmmmm???

2:19 PM, October 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a sad state of affairs that these contracts can't be awarded to the local people and businesses. The rich get richer and the people of hurricane Katrina? Sounds like they simply fight for themselves most the time. Sad this is happening. Glad you got away for a bit, I enjoy your blog.

6:14 PM, October 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Troy,
In response to the first comment. That is exactly what i am doig. I am integrating city planning into my Histroy MA, so that i can come back home and help rebuild. As for how to learn all this by starting over, maybe, I am not sure. I guess we just go to New Orleans and build shit and learn as you og...not a very thrilling idea...yikes.

PJ "Caesar"

8:58 PM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger Lisa said...

I don't have any suggestions or solutions, I'm doing what I can to at least keep the people in my radius constantly aware of the continuing need down in the Gulf. Just wanted to say your blog has been a great source of information for those of us who love the beautiful city of New Orleans but cant be there right now.

9:21 PM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger Patrick Armstrong said...

You're so right. After reading this blog and watching the news and speaking to family, I thought I had an idea of what had gone on. This morning, I left Alabama for New Orleans, and was able to see the destruction become worse the further west on I-10 I drove.

Now I'm in New Orleans with family. Nothing can prepare you to see what has happened to this City. I was here last in May.

That being said, the work crews are out cleaning streets and fixing houses. (Best refrigerator spray paint message so far: Katrina Stew, Help Yourself) There are restaurants open. I can hear music in the distance. The crowds are noisy and rambunctious. The food and drink fantastic.

The first toasts are to survival and rebirth.

The last to those who have lost so much.

New Orleans fights back.

11:33 PM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger WillowLu said...

Congress has steadfastly refused to suspend the Davis-Bacon law and that's why Bush chose the "antidemocratic" method of issuing an executive order to do away with it, circumventing the legislative process.

I don't know what the suspension of the prevailing wage act means to LA workers right now as circumstances are so EXTREMELY abnormal, but I do know that not having to report payroll is not good. That much is clear.


"The removal of Davis-Bacon not only removes a wage floor but it also removes the requirement that contractors report their payrolls to the contracting agencies," Hale said. "Absent a wage floor and reporting, the door is open to fraud of various kinds."


Al Knight, general manager of Knight Enterprises LLC in New Orleans, said he believes his company's contract was terminated because of the Davis-Bacon Act suspension. Knight Enterprises on Sept. 9 won a contract to provide 75 electricians to wire a "tent city" for military personnel at the Naval Air Station in Belle Chase, La.

Knight said that the contract should have lasted for 20 months and that he was complying with the Davis-Bacon Act. But the contract was terminated three weeks in because "the budget wouldn't allow the continued use of local workers earning prevailing hourly wages," Knight said.

"Our workers, who were local, qualified electricians impacted by Katrina and Rita, were removed from a promised 20-month contract in what I can only believe was a direct result of the Davis-Bacon Act waiver," Knight told the committee. "Waiving the Davis-Bacon Act for federal projects in this area opens the floodgates for out-of-state workers. Those out-of-state workers displace local residents who, more than anything, need a good paying job and a living wage."


Landrieu cited testimony this week by electrical workers who had been employed at the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station. The workers said they were replaced Oct. 1 by contractor BE&K of Birmingham, Ala., with workers willing to work for significantly lower wages. The displaced workers were doing electrical work on the base, some related to wiring a tent city for Hurricane Katrina relief workers.


Two of the displaced workers told Democratic senators conducting a hearing Monday on hurricane relief efforts that about 75 electricians from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles lost their jobs at Belle Chasse. The culprit, the workers said, was the Bush administration's decision to exempt hurricane relief work from a federal law requiring all government contractors to pay prevailing wages and benefits.

1:57 PM, October 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all of us have moved on. There is hope. Just hang on.
~a friend in the desert

4:27 PM, October 22, 2005  
Anonymous Castellanet said...

Help by organizing.

Visit to learn and contribute what you know - like the posts above.

Troy - please plug the web site on your blog.

5:58 PM, October 25, 2005  

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