Dec. 19th, 2006 03:39 pm
coldbeansoup: (soup)
hi·a·tus [hahy-ey-tuhs]
–noun, plural -tus·es, -tus.
1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.
2. a missing part; gap or lacuna: Scholars attempted to account for the hiatus in the medieval manuscript.
3. any gap or opening.

due to some stuff going on with me, the mama calendar is taking a year off.
I want to thank all of my contributors for their beautiful work, which I look forward to including in the 2008 edition. meanwhile, I'm spending time with my family, getting well and catching up on other work.

of course, all funds sent for pre-orders are being refunded!

and, if you're still shopping for a 2007 calendar, there are lots of options out there. one I really like is nikki mcclure's.
the website says out of stock today, but I picked one up for half off at whole foods just the other day...
I'd also like to check out heather cushman-dowdee's Hathor the Cow Goddess Calendar.
and hanging on my wall already is the completely wonderful louisiana festivals calendar made by julie posner.


Aug. 26th, 2006 12:39 pm
coldbeansoup: (soup)
Lafcadio Hearn, New Orleanian and author, writing to a friend in
Cincinnati in 1870:

Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been
buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so
that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so
bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will
believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in
sackcloth and ashes, than to own the whole state of Ohio.

Bill Quigley, August 2006:
Trying to Make It Home: New Orleans One Year After Katrina

Bernice Mosely is 82 and lives alone in New Orleans in
a shotgun double. On August 29, 2005, as Katrina hit
the Gulf Coast, the levees constructed by the U.S.
Corps of Engineers failed in five places and New
Orleans filled with water.

One year ago Ms. Mosely was on the second floor of her
neighborhood church. Days later, she was helicoptered
out. She was so dehydrated she spent eight days in a
hospital. Her next door neighbor, 89 years old,
stayed behind to care for his dog. He drowned in the
eight feet of floodwaters that covered their

Ms. Mosely now lives in her half-gutted house. She
has no stove, no refrigerator, and no
air-conditioning. The bottom half of her walls have
been stripped of sheetrock and are bare wooden slats
from the floor halfway up the wall. Her food is
stored in a styrofoam cooler. Two small fans push the
hot air around.

Two plaster Madonnas are in her tiny well-kept front
yard. On a blazing hot summer day, Ms. Mosely used
her crutches to gingerly come down off her porch to
open the padlock on her fence. She has had hip and
knee replacement surgery. Ms. Mosely worked in a New
Orleans factory for over thirty years sewing uniforms.
When she retired she was making less than $4 an
hour. "Retirement benefits?" she laughs. She lives
off social security. Her house had never flooded
before. Because of her tight budget tight, Ms. Mosely
did not have flood insurance.

Thousands of people like Ms. Mosely are back in their
houses on the Gulf Coast. They are living in houses
that most people would consider, at best, still under
construction, or, at worst, uninhabitable. Like Ms.
Mosely, they are trying to make their damaged houses
into homes.

bill's piece is long but well worth your time )
coldbeansoup: (soup)
Girl Gang Productions Presents

The Shondes @ The Circle Bar (1032 St Charles @ Lee Circle)
Saturday, July 8, 2006
Doors@ 9pm

A Benefit for The Latino Health Outreach Project (LHOP)

Donation at the Door: $1.00-$1,000,000
no one turned away for lack of funds

About The Shondes:
Shonde: shahn-duh Yiddish; a disgrace, a pity, an outrage

The Shondes are, in a word, shondes. In Yiddish, "shonde" means a
disgrace or an outrage, and might be used by a Zaide to describe
something completely abhorrent and shameful. The band members, like
so many others on the margins of the communities they come from, have
been called shondes. As queers and trannies, radical activists, three
anti-occupation Jews and a Shiksa, they have both struggled with being
called "disgraceful" and also awaken each morn' - Jews and Shiksas
alike - committed to continuing to be "disgraceful" as long as that
means speaking for justice, organizing for Palestinian
self-determination, and working to support radical queer communities.
Not to mention the fact that this Jewish band includes a Shiksa - a
shonde in and of itself. Through music, performance, and humor, The
Shondes make this struggle into a moving and sustaining experience for
themselves and their audiences. Through their songs, they boldly
proclaim: "We are proud to be shondes"!

Based in Brooklyn, The Shondes are a rock quartet made up of drums,
bass, guitar, violin, and powerful, intertwining vocals. With the
drama and grit of Patti Smith, the vocal complexity of R.E.M., the
punch of Sleater Kinney, and a songwriting style inspired by Bach, The
Shondes' music is driving, dramatic, and unabashedly brave, mixing
elements of Rock and Classical music with radical political content.
Temim Fruchter's rich and unexpected drumming style mixes with Louisa
Solomon's (ex-Syndicate) driving and melodic bass parts to create
solid yet explosive rhythm. Brannigan's luminescent and powerful
guitar interplays with Elijah Oberman's (ex-Syndicate) mournful and,
at times, sample-like violin to create a vibrant counterpoint. In the
style of a classical quartet, all instruments are fore-grounded in
their compositions and in their performance. Top that off with their
signature style of simultaneous vocal melodies rather than a
traditional melody-harmony structure, and what you've got is far
tastier than even the Manieshande. Hailing from musical backgrounds
ranging from Classical to Jewish to Feminist Punk, The Shondes both
embrace and subvert these traditions in their compositions. Every
song explodes with energy, getting audiences up off their tuchuses and
onto the dance floor as well as sparking political passion. The end
result is a unique sound that is devastating, heartbreaking, and

About Latino Health Outreach Project:

About three weeks after the levees broke, a few women from the Common
Ground Health Clinic began scouting areas of New Orleans in order to
assess healthcare needs on the ground. We quickly realized that among
the many gaps in the city's public healthcare infrastructure was a
source of culturally competent, bilingual healthcare for Latino
residents and cleanup workers. We began setting up clinics on
sidewalks and parking lots in front of hotels where large numbers of
workers were staying. Initially, the clinics consisted of two
healthcare providers giving tetanus shots and over-the-counter
medications. Within a few weeks, more providers were added, including
MDs, nurse practitioners, acupuncturists, and herbalists. We now do
one clinic a week early morning at a day-labor pick up site, one in a
church, as well as occasional clinics at hotels or other sites. In
addition to providing health care, we are building relationships with
organizations who have a history of working in New Orleans' Latino

Girl Gang Productions

Damn right, we're still here and doing shows. Have a show idea or
someone you want to bring to town? Let us know.


May. 18th, 2006 04:43 pm
coldbeansoup: (soup)
(from the new orleans network)

A Spattering of Voter Guides:
Some places to go for information about candidates and/or some folks'
notions of who should get your vote.
- League of Pissed Off Voters: http://indyvoter.org/voterguide.php?id=88
- Jeremiah Group Candidate Scorecard: click on May 20 at
- League of Women Voters: www.lwvno.org/ElectionGuide.html
- ACLU of Louisiana:
- Nola.com (with endorsements from The Times-Picayune)
- Gambit Weekly: www.bestofneworleans.com
coldbeansoup: (Default)
Diverse Local Communities Bring National Movement To New Orleans

What: Diverse families and communities of New Orleans will unite on
Monday, May 1st, 2005 at 8:30 am at Congo Square in Louis Armstrong
Park. They will call for immigrant rights and a just reconstruction of
New Orleans. We are all human beings. No human being is illegal, said
Brenda Murphy, one of the organizers of the event. We want fair
treatment for all immigrants, workers, and families in New Orleans.

Organized by the Unity is Power Coalition, a group of community
organizations and concerned individuals, the event will link New Orleans
to the National Day of Action for Human Dignity and Immigrant Rights. In
line with the national actions and marches across the country, New
Orleans will proudly join in the call for immigrant rights.
Specifically, the local event proposes four points of unity

-Multi-racial Unity!

-Respect and Dignity for Workers!

-Immigrant Rights!

-The just and humane rebuilding of New Orleans!

Why: Thousands of immigrants live in the Greater New Orleans area and
the Gulf Coast. They are working hard to rebuild our great city. Yet
they face homelessness, toxic working environments, labor abuse and
barriers to medical care. The majority of the current workforce in NOLA
is left sick, cheated and living in extremely unsanitary conditions.
Immigrant workers often fall victim to predatory employers, are then
left with no recourse when they are injured or not paid for their work.

Similar rallies, marches and protests will be held across the country
to protest the draconian House Bill HR4437, which passed through the
House of Representatives and is up for vote in the Senate. The bill,
which criminalizes immigrants and people who help them, launched a
firestorm this year among immigrant families, and workers.

We rally and march on May 1st to call for respect and dignity for
immigrants and workers in the rebuilding of New Orleans!

Contact: Brenda Murphy 504 606 3628, Rosana Cruz 504 442 2006

When: May 1st, 2006 8:30am

Where: Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park 801 North Rampart Street

Who: New Orleans Worker Justice Coalition
coldbeansoup: (dreamy)
I'm joyously passing this on!

the dyke march is on!!
re-posted, from the dykemarchnola listserv...
hope to see some of you there on saturday.. and if you want to be part of the ongoing discussion about logistics thereof, please join the dykemarchnola yahoo group by sending a blank email to: dykemarchnola-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

and stay tuned to the website, http://www.dykemarchnola.com for updates.

DM will go forward in improvised fashion!!

A bunch of us will be in New Orleans on October 8, 2005 and we'll gather at Jackson Square at 7:00 with signs, march around the quarter a bit, then spend some time together somewhere in the quarter (possibly even One Eyed Jacks--Mags says it's open). Jamie will be there with 2005 t-shirts to sell to mark our presence and sheer determination this year.

Although technically there is a 6:00 curfew, it isn't being enforced in the quarter (bars and restaurants are open), so we should be ok. In the true Dyke March tradition, we won't have a permit this year!

Please join us if you're around and bring your own signs or whatever else you'd like to bring to make a showing.
coldbeansoup: (soup)
so true. the latest from jordan flaherty.

Fighting for New Orleans

by Jordan Flaherty

A month later, many of those dislocated and displaced from New Orleans are still trying to reunite with family members, still trying to find out information about their homes and belongings, still grieving over their losses. Parents are still trying to find a school district for their kids, and local schools are over full and some are not welcoming. One Louisiana school suspended all New Orleans students as punishment for the actions of one child.

For many who are still in the shelter system, abuse and revictimization is rampant. There have been widespread reports of racism and discrimination in Red Cross shelters, especially in Lafayette, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge. According to Jodie Escobedo, a doctor from California who was volunteering in the Baton Rouge shelters, “Local officials, including politicians, select Red Cross personnel and an especially well placed but small segment of the Louisiana medical community, have managed to get themselves into positions of power where their prejudices result in the hoarding of supplies, vilification of the needy and substandard treatment of volunteers and refugees alike.”

Escobedo paints a devastating portrait. “I witnessed Red Cross staff treated abusively by shelter administration who also expressed contempt for the sheltered population. Dental abscesses abounded and when several cases of small individual cases of Scope were donated, Red Cross staff was told not to distribute it because ‘they will drink it and get drunk.’ At the River Center the Red Cross hoarded hygiene supplies and basic necessities on a giant loading dock while kids could not go to school because they had no pants or shoes, babies drank from dirty baby bottles, people slept on the floor and donated clothes sat inaccessible. I tried for 4 days to get access to the Red Cross storehouse of hand sanitizer which was unfortunately off site.”

According to another volunteer in Baton Rouge, “The River Center had a special bathroom that was set up for elderly and handicapped residents. Those with special needs. The FEMA guys came in and made it a private bathroom for FEMA staff.”

Not only have many New Orleanians been mistreated in the shelter system, their voices are not heard. The same people of New Orleans residents who the national media portrayed as murders and animals are still silenced. Even in the progressive media, white voices like mine have been over represented instead of Black voices, and Black female voices are doubly missing. Beyond race, there are also other issues of privilege. As one community organizer expressed to me the other day, “there’s a difference between New Orleans residents and New Orleans natives. The voices I’ve
heard speaking for us have been people who moved to New Orleans Many of them are currently
staying with family or friends from somewhere else. They’re in a different situation. I’m from New Orleans. I don’t have anywhere else.”

They way the media covered the first few days still stings. This headline from today’s New Orleans Times-Picayune says it all: “Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated - Widely reported attacks false or unsubstantiated.” The article goes on to state, “Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence. The piles of bodies never materialized, and soldiers, police officers and rescue personnel on the front lines say that although anarchy reigned at times and people suffered unimaginable indignities, most of the worst crimes reported at the time never happened.” The one national guard soldier who was shot turned out to have shot himself. Between the Convention Center and Superdome, there were ten bodies found. Despite the reports of mass killings, only one of the deaths appears to be a homicide. However, it was these rumors that were used to demonize the people of New Orleans, and since most of the media has offered no correction, the representation still stands.

Meanwhile, the bulldozer of the Disaster Industrial Complex continues to rush towards our city. For executives at Halliburton, there was no pause for grieving. For the white elites of New Orleans, the same unelected power structure that parades in all white Mardi Gras Krewes and lives in wealthy uptown mansions, there was no fear and insecurity. For all of those who are poised to gain from this horrible chain of events, there has been nothing but a rush to profit. The real criminals run free.

New Orleans’ progressive infrastructure is as weak and underfunded as the levees around the lower 9th ward. The grassroots organizations who are coming together to fight for the future of New Orleans are struggling to define their work and mission, while the diaspora of our city becomes ever more displaced.

There are so many difficulties that organizers face right now, from the stress and trauma of lost lives and livelihoods, to communications and housing issues. The cel phone network in Baton Rouge is so overloaded right now, its almost impossible to call from one local cel phone to another.
Apartments are scarce, and some landlords are asking for six months rent in advance. New Orleans- based groups have no access to their office and files. It seems that every day I talk to another friend who has lost everything, or is trying to clean mold off of a few remaining possessions they’ve recovered. I still don’t know if all of my friends are alive, including one of my best friends and her family.

Still, the fight continues. The People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Commission (PHRF), currently based in Jackson, Mississippi, is working to set up offices in other cities with evacuee populations. They have also formed committees and a structure for folks from New Orleans and for supporters from around the US to join, and they are convening a strategy retreat for this weekend, in South Carolina. “We’re buckling down for the long term,” organizer Curtis Muhammad told me. “This is a five year, a ten year struggle.”

PHRF has achieved an early prominence through its powerful and galvanizing first statement, issued just days after the world watched in horror as a city drowned under mismanagement and neglect.
Since then, representatives from the group have been highlighted on independent media, and have met with Hugo Chavez and spoke at last weekend’s March on Washington.

However, there are other efforts as well, with various levels of cooperation and communication. In Baton Rouge, at least two other coalitions focused on reconstruction have come together. One of the groups was initiated by the NAACP and the Service Employees International Union, and is planning
demonstrations, as well as media and political campaigns. Their first two meetings featured a
diversity of organizations and individuals, from shelter residents to folks from ACLU, ACORN, Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. They are still grappling with everything from the group’s name and mission, to their demands.

Another group, the Rebuilding Louisiana Coalition, was initiated by progressive political campaigners from New Orleans, and appears to be focused more on political pressure. The conveners, Cheron Brylski and Russell Henderson, have worked with a wide array of progressive politicians from Louisiana.

Still, most New Orleans residents do not know about these groups, and those of us who are in touch have been following their progress with hope and apprehension. As one shelter resident whispered to me during a recent coalition meeting, “I’m just worried that they’ve won already. The Krewe’s have won, and we’ll never see our city again.”

Jordan Flaherty is a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. This is his seventh article from New Orleans. To see the other articles, go to www.leftturn.org. You can contact Jordan at NewOrleans@leftturn.org.
Based on conversations with organizers on the ground, Left Turn Magazine has compiled a list of grassroots New Orleans organizations focused on relief, recovery, social justice and cultural preservation that need your support. The list is online at www.leftturn.org. Please spread the word.
The fight isn’t over.

coldbeansoup: (soup)
I'm all about oral history.

this project is interesting: the new orleans disaster oral history & memory project

and this one has been going on for a while, but now more than ever: the neighborhood story project


Sep. 22nd, 2005 06:10 pm
coldbeansoup: (dreamy)
more stories from UUs on the gulf coast

it took me forever to find something, anything about the folks from the UU fellowship in gulfport.
coldbeansoup: (Default)
I was next to leo at last year's bookfair... wonder when/where/if this year's bookfair will be? anyhow, his message:


I hope this message finds you well.

Here is some AG news:

I have set up a blog for AntiGravity here:

I've put up a bunch of pictures of New Orleans, my house, and other
things of note. I'll update every day with news on the magazine, the
area, and anything else I can think of. I'd say to expect a print
edition of AG in the next two or three weeks, but this new storm may
push that timetable back a bit.

I am currently in the New Orleans area, at my parents' house on the
Westbank. We plan to leave either tonight or tomorrow to get out of the

way of Rita. We have hotel rooms in Tunica, MS and I should have
internet access there, so I should be able to stay in the loop.

That's it for now, and hopefully there'll be more good news sooner than

Stay safe,

-Leo McGovern
The Alternative Media Expo
P.O. Box 24584
New Orleans, La 70184
(504) 881-7508

just adding, his photos of new orleans this week are really surreal. as is this all, you know, but anyway.
coldbeansoup: (soup)
(thanks as always to orangegrrrl_nola)

Shelter And Safety

by Jordan Flaherty

September 20, 2005

Last New Year’s Eve, a Black Georgia Southern University student named Levon Jones was killed by bouncers in the Bourbon Street club Razzoo’s.
The outrage led to near-daily protests outside the club, threats of a Black tourist boycott of New Orleans, and a city commission to explore the issue of racism in the French Quarter. Despite widely-publicized advance warning, a “secret shopper” audit of the Quarter found rampant discrimination in French Quarter businesses, including different dress codes, admission prices, and drink prices, all based on whether the patron was black or white.

“The French Quarter is not a place for Black people,” one community organizer told me pre-hurricane. “You don’t see Black folks working in the front of house in French Quarter restaurants or hotels, and you don’t see them as customers.”

Just north of the French Quarter, a few blocks from Razzoo’s, is the historic Treme neighborhood. Settled in the early 1800s, it’s known as the oldest free African-American community in the US. Residents fear for the post-reconstruction stability of communities like Treme. “There’s nothing some developers would like more than a ring of white neighborhoods around the French Quarter,” said one Treme resident recently. The widespread fear among organizers is that the exclusionary, “tourists only” atmosphere of the French Quarter will be multiplied and expanded across the city, and that many residents simply wont be able to return home.

Chui Clark is a longtime community organizer from New Orleans, and was one of the leaders of the protests against Razzoo’s. He now stays in Baton Rouge’s River Street shelter. “This is a lily-white operation,” he reports.
“You have white FEMA and Red Cross workers watching us like we’re some kind of amusement.” Despite repeated assurances of housing placements from Red Cross and government officials, the population of the Baton Rouge shelters does not appear to be decreasing, according to Clark. “You have new arrivals all the time. Folks who were staying with families for a week or two are getting kicked out and they got no where else to go.”

I went to the River Road shelter as part of a project initiated by Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children to help displaced New Orleans residents reconnect with loved ones who are lost in the labyrinth of Louisiana’s corrections system.

Everyone I met was desperately trying to find a sister or brother or child or other family member lost in the system. Many people who were picked up for minor infractions in the days before the hurricane ended up being shipped to the infamous Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where it’s estimated over 90% of the inmates currently incarcerated will die within its walls. Most of the family members I spoke with just wanted to get a message to their loved ones, “Tell him that we’ve been looking for him, that we made it out of New Orleans, and that we love him,” said a former East New Orleans resident named Angela.

While Barbara Bush speaks of how fortunate the shelter residents are, in the real world New Orleans evacuees have been feeling anything but sheltered.
One woman I spoke with in the River Street shelter said that she’s barely slept since she arrived in the shelter system. “I sleep with one eye open,” she told me.
“Its not safe in there.”

According to Christina Kucera, a feminist organizer from New Orleans, “issues of safety and shelter are intricately tied to gender. This has hit women particularly hard. Its the collapse of community. We’ve lost neighbors and systems within our communities that helped keep us safe.”

Where once everyone in a neighborhood knew each other, now residents from each block are spread across several states. Communities and relationships that came together over decades were dispersed in hours.

Kucera lists the problems she’s heard, “there have been reports of rapes and assaults before evacuation and in the shelters. And that's just the beginning.
There are continuing safety and healthcare needs. There are women who were planning on having children who now no longer have the stability to raise a child and want an abortion, but they have no money, and nowhere to go to get one. Six of the thirteen rape crisis centers in Louisiana were closed by the hurricane.”

One longtime community organizer from the New Orleans chapter of INCITE!
Women of Color Against Violence has written, “We have to have some form of community accountability for the sexual and physical violence women and children endured. I'm not interested in developing an action plan to rebuild or organize a people’s agenda in New Orleans without a gender analysis and a demand for community accountability.”

We are already unsettled, and now Hurricane Rita threatens a new wave of evacuations. Astrodome residents are being out on buses and planes. While communities continue to be dispersed, some New Orleanians are staying and building. Diane "Momma D" Frenchcoat never evacuated out of her Treme home on North Dorgenois Street, and has been helping feed and support 50 families, coordinating a relief and rebuilding effort consisting of, at its peak, 30 volunteers known as the Soul Patrol.

"I ain't going nowhere," one Soul Patrol member told the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper in a september 18 article about Momma D. "I'm the son of a bricklayer.
I'm ready to cut some sheetrock, lay some block, anything to rebuild the city."

Asked about her plan, Momma D had these words, "Rescue. Return. Restore.
Can you hear what I'm saying, baby? Listen to those words again. Rescue, return, restore. We want the young, able-bodied men who are still here to stay to help those in need. And the ones that have been evacuated, we want them to come home and help clean up and rebuild this city. How can the city demand that we evacuate our homes but then have thousands of people from across this country volunteering to do the things that we can do ourselves?"

Community organizers like Momma D in Treme and Malik Rahim, who has a similar network in the Algiers neighborhood, are the forces for relief and rebuilding that need our help. The biggest disaster was not a hurricane, but the dispersal of communities, and that's the disaster that needs to be addressed first.

Yesterday a friend told me through tears, “I just want to go back as if this never happened. I want to go back to my friends and my neighbors and my community.”
Its our community that has brought us security. People I know in New Orleans don’t feel safer when they see Blackwater mercenaries on their block, but they do feel security from knowing their neighbors are watching out for them. And that's why the police and national guard and security companies on our streets haven’t brought us the security we’ve been looking for, and why discussions of razing neighborhoods makes us feel cold.

When we say we want our city back, we don’t mean the structures and the institutions, and we don’t mean “law and order,” we mean our community, the people we love.
And that's the city we want to fight for.

Jordan Flaherty is an organizer with the Service Employees International Union and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. This is his sixth article from New Orleans. To see the other articles, go to www.leftturn.org. You can contact Jordan at NewOrleans@leftturn.org.




Phone: 662-334-1122 Fax: 662-334-1274
coldbeansoup: (Default)
These are some links I've found helpful & informative.

Unitarian Universalist links

http://www.swuuc.org/ the southwest district of the Unitarian Universalist Association,
with links to their relief resources & efforts.

http://www.uua.org/msd/katrina.htm the midsouth district of the UUA, which includes affected
areas of mississippi and alabama

http://www.uua.org/clf/ the church of the larger fellowship,
which is offering membership to all UUs from the new orleans area congregations.

links to grassroots efforts & connections in & around new orleans

http://www.foodnotbombs.net/katrina.html food not bombs is in new orleans & feeding people!

http://www.neworleansnetwork.org/ keeping in touch as activists

http://neworleans.indymedia.org/ staying informed

http://www.commongroundrelief.org/ common ground has a clinic and more set up in algiers

http://www.vfproadtrips.org/ veterans for peace have a camp in covington and are getting
food & supplies to people all over the area

http://michaelmoore.com/mustread/covington.php michael moore is working with the
vfp & has lots of good info, pictures, links...

http://ccfm.standardemail.com/phpBB2/ check in with the crescent city farmers market community
coldbeansoup: (Default)
from shana sassoon of the league of pissed off voters:

Dear League family,

I'm in exile in Houston writing to you with a broken heart. It's been three overwhelming weeks, watching my city come apart at the seams. Three weeks of being outraged at the abandonment by our government. And three weeks of being rescued by the generosity of individuals and communities.

Thank you for your outpouring of support for the New Orleans League. To date, we have raised more than $9,000 that is paying organizers, helping displaced families, and building a grassroots response.

We've been re-building our network from New Orleans, and helping people get involved in a political response to this experience. We have been finding each other and strategizing. And we've created a new website to help us talk to each other and organize:…


As the waters recede, there are new challenges we need to work together on:
* When and how do we get back into our homes without being harassed by police and military?
* How can we organize as displaced people?
* How can we fight the land grab? How can we make sure that ALL People in New Orleans are given the right to return and rebuild?
* How can we make sure that "invisible" communities (immigrants not getting FEMA or Red Cross aid; people arrested and held without process whose families can't find them) get the resources they need?
* What happens to people with nowhere to go as shelters begin closing?
*How can young people, poor people, communities of color have a say in what is done to us --or in our name?

NewOrleansNetwork.org will be a crucial part of keeping our communities connected, informed, resourced, and involved in re-building our lives and our city better FOR EVERYONE.

I am asking everyone to do three things to help us:

Take 5 minutes, RIGHT NOW, to go to
http://www.NewOrleansNetwork.org and

1. Log In: create a user name and password for yourself.

2. Go to the Evacuee Communities forum for the city or state where you are, and post your name and info. Post any events, meetings, or contacts people should know about. If you are not from the region, enter any organizing you know about.

3. Go to the NOLA neighborhoods forum for your neighborhood and post any information, questions, or stories you have about your neighborhood.


1. Forward this email to everyone you know and get them to log in, enter their info, articles, stories in their evacuee community forum and neighborhood forum.

2. Help any New Orleans folks near you who don’t have access to a computer get logged into this site and to other online resources.

To support our efforts…


For New Orleans with love,

Shana Sassoon
New Orleans League


Sep. 12th, 2005 03:16 pm
coldbeansoup: (dreamy)
(thanks again to orangegrrrl_nola)

Mourning For New Orleans

by Jordan Flaherty

Its been six days since I left New Orleans, and I miss my home so much. I’m still in a daze, its hard to hold a conversation or to think straight.
People ask if everyone I know is ok, and I don’t know what to say. There are so many stories, so many rumors, so many people dispersed around the US.
So many of us may never see each other again. I don’t think any of us are ok right now.

One friend, a teacher, was searching the Astrodome while holding up a sign, looking for his former students. Another friend says she fears she’ll never see New Orleans or her friends from there again. Another friend found temporary comfort with family in Houston and then got kicked out. A lot of friends are working in shelters, providing assistance, medical care, whatever they can. We are already spread across so many states, trying to pick up the pieces of our lives.

I can think of at least thirty people that I have no idea where they are.
In some cities it seems like when people meet they give out their email address or weblog or friendster or whatever. In New Orleans, a lot of us only know each other only by first names. There are so many people I would see at least once a week that I don’t know how to get in touch with at all.
Even cel phones from the New Orleans area code have been nonfunctioning for most of the last two weeks.

New Orleans is a word of mouth town. The way you would find out about parties, secondlines, jazz funerals and other events is from hearing about it from friends. I always liked that about New Orleans. In an increasingly disconnected world, New Orleans felt different, more real and concrete. Now that we aren’t seeing each other regularly, our elaborate communication network has broken down.

But when people ask I just say, yes, as far as I know everyone is ok. I can’t really bring myself to think about it further than that.

Those with the least to begin with are the ones we worry about most now.
Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children is a grassroots organization with a long history of fighting for New Orleans’ most vulnerable. Since hurricane Katrina, they have been on the front lines of relief, spending time in the shelters, helping advocate for the refugees of New Orleans, and trying to find out what happened to both adults and children who were locked up while New Orleans flooded.

There has been a lot of media hysteria regarding those who were locked in New Orleans’ prisons during the hurricane, stories that make it sound like a Hollywood action film where murderers use a disaster to escape and wreck havoc.

This is exactly wrong. The truth is that tales from the imprisoned population of New Orleans are among the most heartbreaking stories of the past week. Families are still looking for loved ones lost in the system.
According to organizers with FFLIC, of approximately 240 kids in state custody, as of a couple of days ago only 6 or 7 parents had been able to track down their children.

According to statistics compiled by the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, at least 78% of New Orleans’ incarcerated youth were locked up for nonviolent offenses. The detention center in Jefferson Parish reports that 96% of the youth held there in 2000 were for nonviolent offenses. At least a third of youth in prison have been sentenced to three or more years for nonviolent offenses. In New Orleans, 95% of the detained youth in 1999 were African-American. Louisiana taxpayers spend $96,713 to incarcerate a single child, and $4,724 to educate a child in the public schools.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch, “the state of Louisiana has one of the highest rates in the country of children living in poverty and children not in school or working. Large numbers of children, especially black children, are suspended from school each year, sometimes for the whole year. Approximately 1,500 Louisiana children are confined in secure correctional facilities each year...In response to the question,"what would you most like to change here?", virtually every child at all of the facilities responded that they would like the guards to stop hitting them and that they would like more food. Children consistently told us that they were hungry.”

Some people have been hurt to hear people of New Orleans called refugees.
This hurts me too, but it hurts me more to feel that we have been treated as refugees. In a way, the people of New Orleans were refugees before hurricane Katrina ever came. We were abandoned by a country that never needed us, unless they needed a cheap vacation of strip clubs and binge drinking and cheap live music.

One of the things I love about New Orleans is that it always feels like another country. Now we see that in the eyes of the federal government we truly are residents of another country. A poor, black country. Instead of insisting that the displaced of New Orleans are not refugees, we should use this as an opportunity to look at why the idea of US refugees is so discomforting.

The transformation of the people of New Orleans into refugees is a large part of what has captured the imagination of people from around the world, especially those who are refugees themselves. I’ve received emails from Ghana and Cuba and Peru and Lebanon and Palestine. In New York City tonight, a group of artists, initiated by Def Poetry Jam star and Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad, organized a benefit called Refugees For Refugees. That title beautifully and poignantly captures the feelings this man-made tragedy has generated around the world.

In her most recent poem, On Refuge and Language, Suheir writes:

I do not wish
To place words in living mouths
Or bury the dead dishonorably

I am not deaf to cries escaping shelters That citizens are not refugees Refugees are not Americans

I will not use language
One way or another
To accommodate my comfort

I will not look away

All I know is this

No peoples ever choose to claim status of dispossessed No peoples want pity above compassion No enslaved peoples ever called themselves slaves

What do we pledge allegiance to?

A government that leaves its old
To die of thirst surrounded by water
Is a foreign government

People who are streaming
Illiterate into paperwork
Have long ago been abandoned

I think of coded language
And all that words carry on their backs

I think of how it is always the poor
Who are tagged and boxed with labels
Not of their own choosing

I think of my grandparents
And how some called them refugees
Others called them non-existent
They called themselves landless
Which means homeless

Before the hurricane
No tents were prepared for the fleeing
Because Americans do not live in tents
Tents are for Haiti for Bosnia for Rwanda

Refugees are the rest of the world

Those left to defend their human decency Against conditions the rich keep their animals from Those who have too many children Those who always have open hands and empty bellies Those whose numbers are massive Those who seek refuge From nature’s currents and man's resources

Those who are forgotten in the mean times

Those who remember

Ahmad from Guinea makes my falafel sandwich and says So this is your country

Yes Amadou this my country
And these my people

Evacuated as if criminal
Rescued by neighbors
Shot by soldiers

Adamant they belong

The rest of the world can now see
What I have seen

Do not look away

The rest of the world lives here too
In America

Jordan Flaherty is an organizer with the Service Employees International Union and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. His other articles from New Orleans can be seen online at www.leftturn.org.



coldbeansoup: (Default)
so it's weird - but nice! - to see my email to ariel posted on her livejournal.
I see that I used the word "refugee" which just last night on the news I learned is offending some people, the connotations. I was taking a literal approach and not considering cultural context much. It sounds like it's a huge issue for some people and I'm not going to use it in print anymore for the time being.
love from the library, coleen


Sep. 3rd, 2005 02:37 pm
coldbeansoup: (Default)
Below are some small, grassroots and New Orleans-based resources, organizations and institutions that will need your support in the coming months.

Social Justice:

Cultural Resources:

Current Info and Resources:

from inside

Sep. 3rd, 2005 02:28 pm
coldbeansoup: (Default)
(thanks to orangegrrlnola)

Notes From Inside New Orleans

by Jordan Flaherty

Friday, September 2, 2005

I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.

In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp.

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.”

There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to set up any sort of transparent and consistent system, for instance a line to get on buses, a way to register contact information or find family members, special needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.

To understand the dimensions of this tragedy, its important to look at New Orleans itself.

For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a incredible, glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere else in the world. A 70% African-American city where resistance to white supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and dance and sexuality and liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block can take two hours because you stop and talk to someone on every porch, and where a community pulls together when someone is in need. It is a city of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city, state and federal governments that have abdicated their responsibility for the public welfare. It is a city where someone you walk past on the street not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.

It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. The city of New Orleans has a population of just over 500,000 and was expecting 300 murders this year, most of them centered on just a few, overwhelmingly black, neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying that they don’t need to search out the perpetrators, because usually a few days after a shooting, the attacker is shot in revenge.

There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In recent months, officers have been accused of everything from drug running to corruption to theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile police killings of unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests for several months.

The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child’s education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest teacher salaries. The equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on any given day. Far too many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the prison. It is a city where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying, transient, insecure jobs in the service economy.

Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana politics. This disaster is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence. Hurricane Katrina was the inevitable spark igniting the gasoline of cruelty and corruption. From the neighborhoods left most at risk, to the treatment of the refugees to the the media portrayal of the victims, this disaster is shaped by race.

Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the tragedies of this week our political leaders have defined a new level of incompetence. As hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us to “Pray the hurricane down” to a level two. Trapped in a building two days after the hurricane, we tuned our battery-operated radio into local radio and tv stations, hoping for vital news, and were told that our governor had called for a day of prayer. As rumors and panic began to rule, they was no source of solid dependable information. Tuesday night, politicians and reporters said the water level would rise another 12 feet - instead it stabilized. Rumors spread like wildfire, and the politicians and media only made it worse.

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.

No sane person should classify someone who takes food from indefinitely closed stores in a desperate, starving city as a “looter,” but that's just what the media did over and over again. Sheriffs and politicians talked of having troops protect stores instead of perform rescue operations.

Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be insured against loss is a greater crime than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic, just as the eighties focus on “welfare queens” and “super-predators” obscured the simultaneous and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan scams and mass layoffs, the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to cover up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this week’s events, was more about politics and racism than any kind of natural disaster, illustrated exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city. While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending danger to New Orleans and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce and protect the city, the Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the dangers rose with the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the callous disregard of our elected leaders.

The aftermath from the 1927 flood helped shape the elections of both a US President and a Governor, and ushered in the southern populist politics of Huey Long.

In the coming months, billions of dollars will likely flood into New Orleans. This money can either be spent to usher in a “New Deal” for the city, with public investment, creation of stable union jobs, new schools, cultural programs and housing restoration, or the city can be “rebuilt and revitalized” to a shell of its former self, with newer hotels, more casinos, and with chain stores and theme parks replacing the former neighborhoods, cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.

Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a hurricane of poverty, racism, disinvestment, deindustrialization and corruption. Simply the damage from this pre-Katrina hurricane will take billions to repair.

Now that the money is flowing in, and the world’s eyes are focused on Katrina, its vital that progressive-minded people take this opportunity to fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is a special place, and we need to fight for its rebirth.

Jordan Flaherty is a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine (www.leftturn.org). He is not planning on moving out of New Orleans.

coldbeansoup: (Default)
As soon as mail delivery is restored, send cards or notes of support --
include notes and drawings from children -- to refugees staying at the
Houston Astrodome: Astrodome, 8400 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77054.


Check http://www.worldcare.org/now/donations/donor_inkind_er.htm to
specific goods from a posted list to World Care's warehouse in Tucson,


CoffeeCup Software is located in Corpus Christi, Texas (a couple of
hours south of Houston), we are calling upon anyone who receives
this e-mail to send 'Goods' to our office. This will directly help
the thousands upon thousands of American refugees that will be
entering Houston, Beaumont, and throughout Texas within the next
days and weeks.

Our office will collect what you send and will drive these items by
cargo truck to the refugees where they are located. Over 25,000
people will arrive at the Houston Astrodome tonight and we expect
many waves of refugees over the next month. We will collect items
for the next 60 days and will make trips once a week or more as

Currently many Charitable organizations are overwhelmed and we want
to make sure the Families and Children will be given what they
really need without wait. Send as much as you wish, we have plenty
of storage.

Some items we believe they need are:

Diapers, Baby Wipes, Infant Care Items
Personal Care Items (soap, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, hygeine
Clothing (socks, underwear, shirts, shoes, pants, shirts)
Long Distance Calling Cards, Batteries, FM Radios, Walkie-Talkies
Toys (coloring books, crayons, puzzles, any activity toy)
and more....

Our Address is:

CoffeeCup Software
c/o Hurricane Aid
226 South Tancahua Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401

Operation Blessing tells you how to put together Disaster Relief kits
items that could be purchased at the dollar store.

coldbeansoup: (Default)
from all over:

The Saint Vincent DePaul Society is accepting donations for displaced families who are in the Baton Rouge Area.

Label the boxes with the size of clothing and if it is for a boy or girl,
man or woman. She said to please use smaller boxes if you do not have many
like sized items of the same size. Larger boxes are absolutely acceptable
if they for example are womens size 8 and not mixed with other sized
clothes. Or to please place them within a plastic bag with the same sizes
in them labeled if using a big box.

Things on their much needed list as of today are:

Infant Clothing/layettes
Baby wipes
Childrens Clothing
Childrens Shoes
Childrens Sleeping Bags
First Aid Items
Childrens Tylenol
Baseball Caps to limit sun exposure
Non Aeresol deoderant
Non Aeresol Bug Repellant
Coloring Books

Please pass this along to everyone.

Address is:

St Vincent DePaul Society
St Vincent DePaul Place
Baton Rouge LA 70802

And from Heather:
> There are 45,000 New Orleans refugees staying at the River
Center. The PR
> person I spoke with said they would be there 2-3 months.
> They are asking for direct donations. She said there are many
many babies
> and children. She said they need EVERYTHING! She specifically
> Clothes
> Blankets
> Formula
> Water
> Diapers
> Non-perishable food
> Sheets
> Pillows
> Sleeping Bags
> ANYTHING. She sounded desperate
> If you are feeling benevolent, please ship a package to:
> The Baton Rouge River Center
> 275 South River Road
> Baton Rouge, LA, 70802
> Phone- 225-389-3030
coldbeansoup: (Default)
I want to say, to people sending letters, packages, positive thoughts:

it all really helps and I deeply thank you.

we are very fortunate and well situated in that we have a house in which we can stay indefinitely, we have electricity, we have clothes to wear, we have toiletries, we have food.

we are, like most (all?) evacuees, without income, but we are applying for aid from the state and we are for the moment not in need, you know? I won't be afraid to say so if our situation changes, I promise.

but letters and packages are wonderful, they really brighten up the day for me, and especially for my kids. we are all feeling intense emotional strain and hearing from friends helps us with that.

so again, thank you. and if you have a pile of money, please give some to the red cross to whatever shelters & organizations you can get info for. my internet time is severely limited right now so I can't research much, but the red cross does not seem to be the best option in terms of direct aid.
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