Razing NOLA. Building What?
Sheila Michaels
September 7, 2005

So now Barbara Bush, Sr. has won the Marie Antoinette on catastrophe award (& they're going to send Barbara Bush, Jr. & Jenna to promote the administration's Abstinence Only policy). I figure other people must also be asking themselves how much of the money given to charity & allocated for the revival of New Orleans will actually just be going into the pockets of Bush & Co.?

A friend of mine who is evacuated said it's the first time she's seen ordinary people avoiding charities & just handing out money to evacuees. She said people have been leaving donations with furniture stores & other places that sell necessities, with instructions to use it to provide for the evacuees. (BTW, the Red Cross or Salvation Army has been promising vouchers for Target Stores, but no money or goods have actually come through the pipeline.)

I keep wondering: now with all New Orleans driven off, Haliburton's Kellogg-Brown-&-Root has the $500 million contract to clear debris — which means raze the neighborhoods — and to what purpose? On NPR this morning, rescuers were saying to people who refused to leave their homes, that they would be forcibly evacuated, because all the wooden structures are going to be razed. So is that to be the job of the company which did all that construction in Vietnam for all those years & left, what? (BTW, "The Beautiful Country" is a fine film: it does stay with you.) Those wooden buildings ARE New Orleans. It can't be that they've withstood all these hurricanes to fall to Negro Removal.

Now, I've lived for a lifetime in lower-middle-income housing, wedged in among Projects. I know what Ugly looks like. We've made lives anyway, despite the design concepts of people who didn't have to live in their own buildings. Frankly, I cannot stand the thought of — won't tolerate — what seems to be in the offing, for what will be perpetrated, to make a buck off the tragic plight of New Orleans.

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