News Release

New Orleans: Recovery or Removal?

SANDY ROSENTHAL, hoppinhill at gmail.com@leveesorg
Rosenthal is president of Levees.org. AP reports: “The catastrophic flooding of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward now has a commemorative marker at the site where a floodwall protecting the neighborhood collapsed, unleashing a wall of water 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina. The plaque was erected Monday and unveiled during an emotional ceremony. … On Aug. 29, 2005, the floodwall along the Industrial Canal catastrophically failed. The resulting flood wiped out the African-American neighborhood and killed scores of people. …

“Getting the plaque erected was the work of Levees.org, a citizens group that formed after Katrina to push for reforms in levee building and oversight. The group led efforts to erect two similar historical markers at the breach sites along the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue Canal. The three breaches where plaques are now standing caused the majority of the flooding during Katrina. Sandy Rosenthal, president of Levees.org, said her group wants to make sure Katrina is properly remembered. The group has long pushed to, as members have put it, ‘bust the myths of the flooding during Katrina.'”

MONIQUE HARDEN, mharden at ehumanrights.org
Harden is the co-director and attorney of the New Orleans based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. She said today: “In the name of recovery, billions of tax dollars have been spent on abusing the human rights of African American residents who’ve been displaced after Hurricane Katrina. We hear and read Mayor Landrieu repeating the words ‘resilience’ and ‘recovery,’ but his actions have built a rec center for kids on a former waste dump, obstructed necessary reforms of a corrupt police department and prison, selectively targeted the homes sought by developers for huge code enforcement penalties, and ridiculed African American residents of flood-damaged neighborhoods in need of help. He gives lip service to climate change, but refuses to hold oil and gas industries accountable.”

JORDAN FLAHERTY, jordan at grittv.org
Flaherty is a New Orleans-based journalist and author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six. His most recent coverage of post-Katrina New Orleans can be seen in an article about social justice organizing in The Nation magazine, and in a new documentary “New Orleans: Recovery or Removal?” airing around the U.S. on The Laura Flanders Show, on LinkTV, and Free Speech TV, and internationally on the teleSUR News Network.

He said today: “Around 100,000 black residents are still displaced; housing prices continue to rise rapidly, pushing out those trying to get by on jobs in the city’s low-paying tourism economy. But despite the violence represented by these changes, or perhaps because of them, New Orleans has also seen a rise in coordinated resistance. More people have been organizing, taking to the streets, and risking arrest than at any other time in recent history.”

IMANI JACQUELINE BROWN, imanijacqueline at gmail.com
Based in New Orleans, Brown is a founding member of Blights Out (“collaborative and creative initiative to unite residents of New Orleans in the design of a new model for development that shares the tools for locals to build the destinies of their own neighborhoods”) and an organizer with Gulf South Rising. She said today: “Our future cannot be one of ‘resilience;’ the punches of climate change, the growing police state, and escalating wealth divide will come faster and harder and the effort of continually rebuilding and rebounding is wasted energy that could be better spent on resisting, refusing, and designing a way out of this failed system.”