the rabbit hole runs deep
i left town on April 30th. i plan to go back, but i just don't know when. since then i've been hearing a lot. public housing residents still can't come back home. they even tried direct action and broke into the housing developments to start cleaning them out. the national guard was called back, so i guess new orleans has returned to it's complete police state status. last week, every public school teacher in new orleans was fired. you gotta be a rich kid to go to school.
there's more. there's a lot more. maybe someday i'll write a whole book about my perspective on things there. or i'll just write it here, piece by piece. right now new orleans is hot and humid and violent and a lot of people i know have started going crazy because they've been dealing with it for so long, now they're letting it out.
new orleans is the most fascinating place i've ever been. its rich history, culture, and streets full of weirdos all make it beautiful. it's my kinda place. at least for the time being. maybe i'm just really jaded by activism these days, but my heart's broken knowing that the city is being completely taken over by the rich white elite who don't care about the people that make new orleans what it is. the city council declared that damaged houses have to be gutted by August 31st 2006. when asked how that's going to happen, they said to just rely on non-profits. the non-profits don't have the capacity to do that. they also laid out a plan in which, depending on what neighborhood you live in, you have to raise your house by a certain number of feet. but who has the money to do that? rich french quarter elitists are complaining about all the people in the street who apparently are "ruining the french quarter." but with no housing, where else are they supposed to go? i'm sick of people who won't give anything up to help those who are completely fucked over. i'm sick of people who think their wealth is more important than others' basic needs. i'm sick of tourists who come down for mardi gras and feel good about themselves for spendng money in the french quarter and say that's helping to 'rebuild' new orleans, but they never even step outside the french quarter. i'm sick of rich college students who came back in january and never left their bourgeois uptown bubble to see what's really going on, acting like everything is ok. i'm sick of activists who go down and are insensitive to trauma, who act like martyrs in a community that was never their own.
that being said, i'll continute to do what i can, knowing that maybe it's better for me to build my own community rather than intervene in one that's not mine, keeping in mind that maybe it's better to do things from a distance sometimes. i may have dropped out of college, but i've learned more in the last 6 months than i have at any other point in my life.
my heart goes out to all the new orleanians living in the diaspora, to all the people living in the streets who still can't find housing, to the people who are suddenly homeless because FEMA decided to cut off the funding that was housing them in hotels, to all the people locked up in Orleans Parish Prison, to all the people who are trying really hard to continue their lives in a city that's more dead than alive.