the three-year anniversary of Katrina was yesterday. It came and went, buried beneath the monumental history being made in Denver, as well as the announcement of McCain's running mate (or is she just the Ol' man's new 'mate'?). But in nature's ironic harshness, a massive storm known as Gustav is here to celebrate. By Monday, the estimated category 3 hurricane will hit somewhere near New Orleans.
Anniversaries don't mean much, other than they serve as a reminder of how well or how bad you're doing. If Katrina was your girlfriend or wife, and you just celebrated three years together, you'd be in lousy shape. You would have not been keeping your word about how you'd clean things up, treat her better and take care of her. She'd still be hurt by your inaction and lack of attention. And your chances of surviving another big fight would be slim, since she's still so wounded by the last one. So, in this case, the anniversary of Katrina should be seen as a time to take stock and realize that our government (who we elect, thank you) is letting us down. Still. Again.
The informative video above is something done by the grassroots organization levees.org. For the past couple of years, I've been getting their emails and reading their updates. They've stayed the course in educating me and others as to the state of affairs, the politics and the progress being made/not made in New Orleans. As America pulls its attention from the Mile High City, and moves on to the Twin Cities, I hope it will take a minute to remember the Crescent City.
The video, rightfully so, lays much of the blame at the feet of the Army Corps of Engineers. Until this corrupt, tax-funded enterprise is overhauled and held to account, we're going to have to celebrate these anniversaries with our collective heads hung in shame.
Lil Wayne vs. Bush
On a related note, I recently ran into Harry Shearer at a Huffington Post luncheon during the DNC. Shearer is best known for his myriad voices on the Simpsons, but he's also an outspoken advocate of New Orleans. He was calling very early for an investigation surrounding the Army Corps — and others' — mishandling (before, during and after) Katrina. When I spoke to him in Denver, he expressed sadness and deep concern over the approach of Gustav.
Harry Shearer, during the DNC (photo: Raymond Roker)
In 1990, I co-founded a magazine called URB (urb.com) in Los Angeles. URB captures an intimate view of progressive urban sounds and landscapes in print and online. Beyond my day job, I also explore the world of politics, race and culture, photography and media (new and old). pure/ROKER is designed to be a living and shared notebook of the most discussion worthy aspects. Enrichment is encouraged. Debate and disagreement unavoidable. And dissent welcomed. As always, please leave a comment if you're inspired, subscribe to my RSS or email me anytime at email@example.com.