Katrina 101: Katrina Literacy
The one-year anniversary is rapidly approaching. As I have stated before, I am not down there with the day-to-day experience. However, I have family and very close friends still fighting the good fight in New Orleans and Louisiana. But the one advantage I have is that I have to face EVERY SINGLE DAY conversations with people who basically have no knowledge whatsoever about New Orleans or Katrina. So I know and hear what they think. Some honestly want to know (and help) but don't have a clue about what's going on. But many others have been fed so much misinformation from newscasts, commentators, politicians, you name it, that they are almost beyond redemption on the topic.
So please indulge me as I begin a declaration. One of our primary goals at this blog is to inform people, both locally and abroad, of the issues both New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in general are facing. This is necessary, in part, because of the deficiencies of the mainstream (for profit) media, who either perpetuate misperceptions or ignore real issues for the sake of exploitation, juicy stories and higher ratings.
As I read these blogs, I see consistency in a lot of the posts. The same issues keep coming up. I have also combined them with the same old questions people ask me as well as their misconceptions. So I have created a list of issues, misperceptions and stereotypes that we have to fight as a whole. This way, in case we get lost, we can remember what we are up against.
So, without further discussion, I humbly submit LIES AND MISPERCEPTIONS ABOUT KATRINA THAT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE FIGHTING:
- New Orleans was the only victim of Katrina
- New Orleans is entirely under sea level
- New Orleanians were generally uninsured
- All of the victims of Katrina were poor African-Americans
- The entire African-American population of New Orleans consists of looters, drug dealers and murderers
- The Ninth Ward was "just a bunch of projects"
- The "government" blew up the levees, sacrificing poor African-American areas to save the French Quarter and affluent white areas
- Most victims aren't coming back or aren't making a serious effort to come back and rebuild their homes and lives
- Houston's escalating crime epidemic can be entirely blamed on Katrina victims
- All Katrina victims wasted their assistance money on strip clubs, tattoos and Saints tickets
- Katrina a) was the only hurricane that devistated Louisiana last year, OR b) somehow reemerged in the Gulf two weeks later and devistated Lake Charles and Cameron Parish
- The problem in New Orleans can be ENTIRELY be blamed on corrupt New Orleans politicians (the "Chris Matthews defense")
- New Orleanians and Louisianians in general never warned the rest of the country and the federal government about inadequate levees and coastal erosion
and, perhaps most importantly (as our president points out):
- NOBODY SAW THIS COMING, and
- EVERYTHING IS BETTER NOW
If anyone wishes to expand on the list, feel free. That's what the blogosphere is all about.