Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Two Year Anniversary of Katrina
This is one of the public housing "ghettos" that I pass almost on a daily basis and every time it makes me reflect. It reminds me of the empty Warsaw ghettos from the 1940s. It makes me question what the observers of those ghettos thought about where its previous inhabitants had gone.
The inhabitants of this ghetto have not been sent to such a horrific fate but they have still been shipped away. When I talked to a NOPD cop a few months back he said that when the army was brought in, the way they treated people reminded him of Poland in the 1940s.
This ghetto reminds me that there are 90,000 New Orleanians now resident in Houston. This ghetto reminds me that there are people who called this place home for generations and had never left it until Katrina forced them out. I look at the empty gaping windows and wonder who lived there and what they brought to the city they belonged to. There were no doubt criminals and drug lords in this ghetto and whether it was a pleasant or unpleasant place to live is a whole other discussion on American public housing, but there must have been plenty of people who were not those things, who were trying to scrape by, trying to make ends meet anyway they could. There must have been some people who helped create the chants of the Mardi Gras Indians, who encouraged their kids to learn the brass band music of generations and who cooked red beans and rice on a Monday. Where are these New Orleanians now and how to they feel today?
I always wonder how these people coped after what happened to them at the superdome and the convention center. I wonder what they thought as they couldn't get out and faced surviving that huge storm. These are the people this country abandoned, the people who were not important enough to get water to in five days. I always wonder if these people have been offered the chance to return home to this city or not. I wonder if their hearts have been broken living in the total other universe outside of New Orleans.