Category Archives: katrina

3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina: Will Gustav hit New Orleans and Houston

AFP is reporting that Exactly three years after deadly Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans, authorities on Friday begin bussing people out of the city ahead of the possible landfall of Gustav, forecast to hit the area early Tuesday as a powerful Category Three hurricane.

It is our hope at Hello, Negro that we don’t see a repeat of the destruction of Katrina; Displaced homeowners, a halt to the slow reconstruction process in New Orleans, and a repeat of the failure of government to protect and support it’s citizens by providing for their basic human needs. For all of the Katrina survivors in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (Houston in particular) this anniversary comes at a scary time. However, we know that the strength of their spirits and the fortitude that they have developed through tragedy will allow them to bear what may come.

Be safe, that’s all that we ask of those in the region that may be hit this week by Gustav.

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Katrina Film Faces Racism at Sundance Film Festival

The Defamer is reporting that racism has reared it’s head at Sundance. This year’s award-winning (but undistributed) documentary Trouble the Water — about the odyssey of African-American survivors of Hurricane Katrina — might be off buyers’ radar because its “too black”. In the film an aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, armed with a video camera, show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, and seize a chance for a new beginning.

Eugene Hernandez (indieWIRE) relays an anecdote

“”Why aren’t more white people in the film?,” an exec apparently asked back in Park City. I’ve heard similar versions of this story from a few different people connected to the movie.”

“But, those involved with the film have hesitated to say much more about the film’s distribution prospects. After Sunday’s New Directors/New Films screening [in New York], filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal told me that they are hoping for a late summer release of their film, while another insider specified that an August opening is to be expected.”

Sources close to Water tell The Defamer that a primary sticking point for buyers is the producers’ grassroots marketing plan, which, like Wedding‘s, could take months to build in African-American communities across the country. (It’s worth noting that this is proven experience they have as former associates of Michael Moore.)

If we African-Americans can get behind Tyler Perry and some of the neo “shucking and jiving” we’ve seen on big and small screen lately, we can support this film too.

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Film shows hope in the face of Utah racism

The Utahns featured in the documentary “The Wisdom of Our Years: Stories of African American Utahns” that premiered Sunday at the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City lived in a time when prejudice was common. Eva Sexton’s late husband worked as a waiter at a restaurant called the Coon Chicken Inn that featured a sign with a cartoonish black man with exaggerated lips. Her grandfather was a slave. Frank Satterwite spent a career in the U.S. military defending his country yet could not live in many places in Ogden. And James Green, 104-year-old Allan Jackson, Florence Lawrence, Anna Belle Mattson and the late Dovie Goodwin all experienced the kind of Utah racism that forced them to sit in the balconies of Utah movie theaters, refused them service at many restaurants, only opened a public swimming pool to blacks in Ogden on the day when the lifeguard was off duty, and forced them into taking jobs well below their education.

Yet, if the 40-minute movie that premiered before a multi-racial crowd of hundreds in the Calvary Baptist Church gymnasium Sunday conveyed one message, it was one of hope. Speaking as part of a panel of African American youth after the movie, University of Utah professor Lynette Danley said she found the faith of the Utahns in the movie humbling and admired their sense of community, respect for others and humility in the midst of many challenges. [Full article – Salt Lake Tribune]

I could say that I’m surprised, but I try not to lie. This is Utah we are talking about for God sake. Utah is 93.5% white. For a more contemporary view of the lives of blacks in Utah, check out “Desert Bayou”. It focuses on a group of 600 African-American survivors of Hurricane Katrina who were flown out of New Orleans and into Utah as part of a rescue mission. From the moment they get off the plane and for the entire time they are in Utah, they face unremitting suspicion and racial prejudice from the surrounding mostly Mormon community, as well as a deep sense of cultural alienation. It’s a Nominee for this year’s NAACP Image Awards.

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Katina Victims File Claims Against the Fed. Govt.

Roughly 489,000 claims have been filed against the federal government over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following Hurricane Katrina – and one of the plaintiffs is seeking damages in the quadrillions. Seriously.

According to the Associated Press, a person from Baker, La. is seeking $3,014,170,389,176,410, which amounts to a little over $3 quadrillion dollars, to compensate for troubles ever since the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane rolled through.

Of roughly 489,000 total claims, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it has received 247 for at least $1 billion apiece, including the one for $3 quadrillion.

Some residents may have grossly exaggerated their claims to send a message to the corps, which has accepted blame for poorly designing the failed levees.

       “I understand the anger,” Scott said. “I also understand it’s a negotiating tactic: Aim high and negotiate down.”

Daniel Becnel, Jr., a lawyer who said his clients have filed more than 60,000 claims, said measuring Katrina’s devastation in dollars and cents is a nearly impossible task.

       “There’s no way on earth you can figure it out,” he said. “The trauma these people have undergone is unlike anything that has occurred in the history of our country.”

The corps released zip codes, but no names, for the 247 claims of at least $1 billion. The list includes a $77 billion claim by the city of New Orleans. Fourteen involve a wrongful death claim. Fifteen were filed by businesses, including several insurance companies.


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Keep Fighting: Violence at the Katrina Public Housing Protest

katrinaGood ole southern justice I guess, huh?!?!?

Haven’t these people gone through enough America?? Visit ABC NEWS for the story in photos. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

NEW ORLEANS (Associated Press) — After violent clashes with police at City Hall, protesters vowed that the fight over a plan to demolish 218 public housing buildings for the poor was far from over, both in the courts and on the streets.

On Thursday, police used chemical spray and stun guns on protesters who tried to force their way into a City Council meeting where the members voted unanimously to allow the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish 4,500 public housing units.

The vote allows demolition crews to begin tearing down the buildings within weeks unless they are blocked in the courts. Lawyers fighting the demolition say they have not exhausted their legal options.

Endesha Juakali, a protest leader arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace, said the confrontation with the council was not the last breath from protesters.

“For everything they do, we have to make them pay a political consequence,” Juakali said. He vowed that when the bulldozers try to demolish the St. Bernard complex, “it’s going to be an all out effort.”

For weeks, protesters have been gearing up to battle with bulldozers and have discussed a variety of tactics, including lying in front of the machinery.

Thursday’s confrontation was the most violent and tense of a string of protests that have brought attention to the plight of a growing number of homeless and the lack of inexpensive housing for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Developers chosen by HUD to do the $700 million in redevelopment work said they were eager to get started and that the protracted fight over demolitions has stood in the way of building better communities.

Police said 15 people were arrested on charges ranging from battery to disorderly conduct. Four people were taken to hospitals — two of them women who had been stunned with Tasers — and five others were injured and treated on the scene, police said. All four in the hospital were stable, police said.

Protesters said they pushed against the iron gates that kept them out of the building because the Housing Authority of New Orleans had disproportionately allowed supporters of the demolition to pack the council’s chambers. Dozens tried to force their way in.

At the peak of the confusion, some 70 protesters were facing about a dozen mounted police and 40 more law enforcement officers on foot. Continue reading

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Katrina Water Putting out CA, Fires, Obama Wins and You Voted for “That White Lady”

Chris Rock does stand up before introducing Senator Barack Obama at his fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem Thursday evening. His jokes included jabs at Hillary Clinton, George Bush, and the aftermath of Katrina.


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Cali Fires: After Hurrican Katrina FEMA Still Drops the Ball

Source: :: The narrative being spun by the White House – and seemingly adopted by the national media – is that the Bush administration learned from its mistakes after Hurricane Katrina and did a much better job responding to the San Diego wildfires.

Not so fast. It’s true that President Bush was on the ground much quicker here in Southern California than on the Gulf Coast. Bush promised federal aid and government loans and assured Californians: “We will help you put out the fires, get through the crisis, and rebuild your lives.” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was here even sooner, laying the groundwork for the president’s visit and helping coordinate the federal response to the crisis.

But at least in the chaos that followed Katrina, there were no fake reporters asking phony questions at a bogus news conference. That’s what happened last week at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., where officials posing as reporters lobbed softball questions at Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson, FEMA’s deputy administrator, including this toughie: “Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?”

One person who isn’t happy right about now is Chertoff, who bluntly called the stunt “one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I’ve seen since I’ve been in government.”

Chertoff himself has done what looks like some pretty dumb and inappropriate things when he finds himself under pressure while responding to natural disasters. At the top of the list: clumsily trying to shift the blame away from his department and toward state and local officials, or even his own staff such as the much-ridiculed former FEMA chief Mike Brown, who took the fall for the Katrina fiasco.

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