Friday, December 19, 2008



Finding Our Folk and The Fyre Youth Squad throw a community concert and film screening a year to the day of the "landmark" decision to clear-cut public housing. D20 Blowout Consciousness celebrates the resilience of the people and culture of New Orleans featuring the creative spirit of local youth. Amid photographs by Through The Youth Lens, young spoken word artists will "bless the mic" while, the next generation of brass, The Big 7 & The Trendsetters, blow it out! The evening's program will frame the youth with two local award-winners: Cut Off: It's Not About The Buildings. It's About The People. (Documentary, 45 min.) and a performance by the legendary Hot 8 Brass Band. In New Orleans fashion, there will be good food & plenty of discussion free and open to the people!



Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Studio at Colton School's Turning the Tables project invites local artists of all disciplines to submit proposals for collaborative-based exhibitions

Proposals due Monday, December 15, 2008

Studio at Colton School's Turning the Tables project invites local artists of all disciplines to submit proposals for collaborative-based exhibitions that foster exploration of new media, innovation, and expanded networks of collaboration between creative disciplines. Proposals will be considered for both main ground floor gallery spaces (the Red Ballroom and the Convergence Gallery) on either side of the auditorium.
For more information e-mail Natalie at or call 504.218.4807.

Submission Guidelines:
  1. Include a written description of your project in 500 words or less
  2. Include 3-5 representative images.
  3. Creative Alliance of New Orleans (CANO) membership required for submission. Access, print and fill out the application available at If not already a member, please submit your CANO application along with or before proposal.
    Printed applications with images should be submitted to the Administration office at the top of the front entrance staircase at the Studio at Colton.

    WHO: Creative Alliance of New Orleans (CANO) and the Studio at Colton School Local artists of all disciplines
    WHEN: Proposals due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 15, 2008 Exhibitions will run from January 1 – 31, 2009 An Opening reception will be held January 6, 2008
    WHERE: The Studio at Colton School 2300 St. Claude Avenue New Orleans, La. 70117

    More About The Studio at Colton School:
    The Studio at Colton School is designed to be a facility that will provide working and exhibition opportunities to artists and students in order to advance their career, education and marketing opportunities and thus contributing to the economic development of the creative sector of our community. One of this year's most exciting and important community projects, The Studio features 78 local artists, designers, arts organizations, performers, film makers, builders and culinary artists who have signed contracts to utilize free studio and exhibition space granted by Creative Alliance of New Orleans (CANO) in the 100,000 square foot Studio at Colton school.

    ###-- Jessica E. Dore Creative Industry 2326 Esplanade Avenue New Orleans, La. 70118(o) 504.218.4807(c) 504.913.4259

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lower 9th Ward New Orleans - Make It Right NOLA - A Visual Perspective

Area photographed:


Not only would this essential supermarket bring greatly needed jobs to the local community, it would bring something that seems to be taken for granted by those who have a car and supermarket in their communities... fresh food, and more food choices for families with children and the elderly. Three years on since Katrina/Rita, this community, which has shown their commitment to rebuilding and revitalization, continues to wait for their supermarket.

Further west on St. Bernard Avenue and Claiborne, the Circle Food store continues to remain closed due to insufficient funding, a hardship for many in the 7th Ward and surrounding communities. And, it has only been within the last month that the mid-city Claiborne Avenue "Save-a-Lot" supermarket building, is being re-built.

One only needs to spend some time in the streets of New Orleans to see how insiduiously, demographic related racial profiling manifests in "city planning" efforts; a subtle message to those who have been waiting -those communities and individuals who are keenly aware of being been discounted in the eyes of those who control the funding of the revitalization of New Orleans, that the quality of your life, your family's life, is not a priority.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

(American Baptist Minister and Civil-Rights Leader. 1929-1968)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Alice Walker is the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. But Monday, I called her to talk about a true story.

The Obamas had just visited the White House. The first African-American elected president of the United States had visited his soon-to-be residence, a house built by slaves. Walker told me: "Even when they were building it, you know, in chains or in desperation and in sadness, they were building it for him. Ancestors take a very long view of life, and they see what is coming." The author of "The Color Purple," who writes about slavery and redemption, went on, "This is a great victory of the spirit and for people who have had to live basically by faith."

Many decades ago, Alice Walker had broken anti-miscegenation laws in Mississippi by marrying a white man. She is a descendent of slaves.

Read the article:

Obama Can Redeem the White House
by Amy Goodman
Published on Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


"Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


The Difficult is that which can be done immediately;
the Impossible that which takes a little longer.

I claim that human mind or human society is not divided into watertight compartments called social, political and religious. All act and react upon one another.
--Mohandas Gandhi

Unless man is committed to the belief that all mankind are his brothers, then he labors in vain and hypocritically in the vineyards of equality.

--Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (1908 - 1972), '
Black Power: A Form of Godly Power,' 1967



On All Souls Day,
We United for Peace in New Orleans
November 1st, 2008

Started and ended: Martin Luther King Boulevard and South Claiborne at the statue of Martin Luther King Jr.

In collaboration with Mothers Hurting Because of Violence, Central City Comeback Committee, OneEVOLution, Ninth Ward Community Center, The Porch, The Teen Center for Nonviolence, Silence is Violence, Horns for Guns



Artists, children, mothers and neighbors paint portraits and plaques for murder victims post-Katrina New Orleans for the Peace Pilgrimage on November 1, 2008.

Hosted by: United for Peace in New Orleans. Held in the Bywater on October 26, 2008.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


A Planetary note: For those who have not spent much time in New Orleans or with our planetary brothers and sisters who make up the predominant culture - an Afrocentric culture - the heart of New Orleans, my choice of title may seem to White Anglo/Caucasian sensibilities, cold or mocking.

The title for this blog posting is reflective of the violence occurring in New Orleans - violence that has not only occurred to Kirsten, her family, and her friends, post-Katrina 3 years later; but for the hundreds of planetary brothers and sisters (primarily of African decent) who have died violently since Katrina. There are thousands of walking time bombs living in post-Katrina New Orleans and thousands are at risk daily.

Psychological and psychiatric treatment for the symptoms of post traumatic stress, except for in small pockets, is virtually non-existent. Psychiatric beds are found in jails - after one of our nation's largest natural disasters. A national disaster where our planetary brothers and sisters, especially in the lower 9th Ward - lost everything - their homes, their memories, family members, friends, and community. The experiences that they went through, as we watched horrified on t.v. has left hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in an ongoing state of re-traumatization. These planetary brothers and sisters have been for the most part, left undiagnosed and untreated, with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Their neighborhoods still in ruin as they watch those who 'have', who were barely impacted by Katrina (wind damage mostly, no flooding - Uptown, the Garden District, and the CBD) receive monies and funding for beautification of their neighborhoods and communities, for the pleasure of the tourists. Violence, poverty, greed, racism, classcism. This is the education for far too many New Orleanian residents. Kirsten our sister from California, has in her last act of service, become forever our sister in New Orleans.

Jah Guide.

Shooting victim ID'd as roving activist

California woman killed in 9th Ward
Thursday, October 02, 2008
By Brendan McCarthy

For five days, she was unidentified, a young woman found on a 9th Ward sidewalk with gunshot wounds to her head.

On Wednesday, authorities identified the woman as Kirsten Brydum, 25, of San Francisco. She was identified through fingerprints and by a friend, according to John Gagliano, chief investigator for the Orleans Parish coroner's office.

Brydum was a well-known community organizer who had stopped in New Orleans amid a whirlwind trek across the country in which she visited local activist groups and collectives, according to postings on the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center's Web site and several other sites which memorialized her.

New Orleans police discovered Brydum on Saturday about 8:30 a.m. in the 3000 block of Laussat Place in the blighted Florida neighborhood. She was lying on the sidewalk, police said. Paramedics said she was dead at the scene.

Police have not released a motive or information about suspects in the case.

News of Brydum's death traveled quickly among friends and associates who posted remembrances online and coordinated a gathering in San Francisco.

Brydum organized a monthly event in a San Francisco park. Dubbed the Really Really Free Market, it brought like-minded people together to get or give away goods or services with no cost, no trades and no bartering, according to its Web site.

Brydum wrote dispatches to friends as she traveled across the country on a so-called "education tour."

Her supposed last letter from the road, sent Sept. 25, was posted online at the Independent Media Center's site.

"Right now I'm rolling into New Orleans. I really don't know what to expect," she wrote. "The sun is setting on the bayou-licked lands and I am truly fortunate. I have rounded this beautiful Southeast corner on the Crescent line today and from now on I am westward bound."

She signed her dispatch: "Getting closer."

Police ask that anyone with information about the case call Crimestoppers at 504.822.1111 or toll-free at 877.903.7867.

. . . . . . .

Brendan McCarthy can be reached at
or 504.826.3301.

Prayers for New Orleans too many are dying here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



Undoing Racism & Community Organizing Workshop

A unique, one day workshop that moves beyond a focus on the symptoms of racism to an understanding of what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone.

September 27, 2008
ERC Tutoring Center9 AM – 4 PM

Limited Capacity – Free to the Tulane Community – Food Provided

This workshop is offered by the People’s Institute For Survival and Beyond, a national, multiracial, anti-racist network dedicated to ending racism. For more info on the organization & training visit

To ask any further questions or RSVP, email Adrien McElroy, Advisor of Students Organized Against Racism-

Avery Brewton, Community Service Program Manager
Center for Public Service
327 Gibson Hall
6823 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118
(o) 504.862.3354 (f)504.862.8061

There is an Undoing Racism workshop being held this Saturday on Tulane’s campus. Please spread the word and post information about this powerful workshop and encourage those who are interested to RSVP as soon as possible, especially those who are interested in doing community work. The spaces are first come first serve, and filling fast. Although this workshop is free and open to the Tulane community and partners, there is a limited capacity. Ordinarily it would cost nearly $400.00 per person to participate!


Thursday, September 26
7:00PM - debates start at 8:00PM
$5 donation encouraged to benefit the candidate of your choice.

Come show some political support and meet some amazing leaders in our New Orleans community.

Other sponsors include: Nola Yurp, Orleans Parish Young Democrats, ULGNO Young Professionals, Young Leadership Council, Young Friends Society, Idea Village, New Orleans Alumni Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, Neighborhood Partners Network, LatiNola, SENO, and OPDEC.


I know its taken a minute but Curious Tribe's first mini magazine entitled "ICON," focusing on the icons in our curious world, will be hitting a few select places very very soon.

Articles include:
fashion from a neo-hippie perspective, the wine of choice of the new urban professional, and a detailed analysis of the true voice behind snoop dogg's "sensual seduction" and kanye west's "stronger".

I'm very excited to see the reaction.


Curious Tribe is what happens when a group of friends decide that they have the power to change the world. One project at a time, we plan to redefine the way the media portrays youth culture. We call New Orleans home, but we plan to affect everyone everywhere.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

[jordannola]: Gustav and New Orleans and More

Friends and Allies,

New Orleans filmmaker Lily Keber and I recently completed our firstwork as correspondents for Democracy Now, with a special report wefilmed in the hours before Gustav landed in Louisiana. The reportfeatures Saket Soni from the New Orleans Workers Center for RacialJustice, Bill Quigley from Loyola Law Clinic, Carol Kolinchak fromJuvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, and many others. We tried tohighlight some of the concerns people feel around both the evacuation,and the state of New Orleans three years after Katrina.The report aired on Democracy Now on Tuesday. Below are two links tothe report, as posted on Youtube.

The first was posted by DemocracyNow and has higher resolution video, but the end is cut off. Thesecond version was posted by us, and is lower-res, but the end isintact. The third link is the link for the entire episode of Democracy Now that aired the report.

For more info and current updates, including info from much harder hitplaces in Louisiana like Houma, and also reports from the virtuallyunmentioned casualties in Haiti, please see the following links:

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and kind wishes.
in solidarity, Jordan

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


On the drive home, expect police check points
by The Times-Picayune
Tuesday September 02, 2008, 1:13 PM

-- Checkpoints were removed in East Jefferson and also allowed access into New Orleans.

--There was no access without a pass into West Jefferson from any direction, however.
These locations have no checkpoints: -- Eastbound Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge into East Jefferson and New Orleans.-- Any road into New Orleans from East Jefferson, including I-10, Earhart Expressway, Veterans Boulevard, Hammond Highway, River Road, Jefferson Highway/Airline Drive and Metairie Road.-- Any road into East Jefferson

These locations have checkpoints:-- Eastbound U.S. 90 into West Jefferson from St. Charles Parish. The Hale Boggs Bridge to Airline Highway, however, is open without a checkpoint.-- Westbound I-10 at the Twin Spans in Slidell. State Police have a checkpoint and are requiring placards.-- Southbound U.S. 11 Bridge at Slidell has a State Police checkpoint and officers were requiring placards. However, some motorists were being allowed to proceed depending on their circumstances, such as saying they were going to check on their parents.-- The southbound span on the Causeway has a checkpoint at the north toll plaza in Mandeville. Officers were requiring placards, but observers noted that many motorists were persuading officers of their need to get to Jefferson Parish.-- There also is a checkpoint on the northbound span of the Causeway headed to Mandeville. It appears to be a futile exercise, as that apparently is the only road into St. Tammany with a checkpoint.

You can also click here for the latest road closures from the state Department of Transportation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Starkville Mississippi September 2, 2008

It took us 13 hours in the car to make what was a 5 hour drive. Non-stop. The trusty old Volvo gave out the recnt crankcase gasket repairs abut 1 a.m. on the back roads of Louisiana and Mississippi. About 3 a.m. in the morning I noticed how unusual it was to see so much car traffic on the highways. At 4 a.m. we are pulled over in a garage driveway trying to get some quick shut eye. at 5 am I know we need to be back on the highway or we are going to be sitting in traffic in the sun and I don't think the Volvo is going to make it. At 8 am we are in northern Miss at a rest stop by Alabama cause I have gotten us lost from fatigue. We drive in and there is a sea of humanity - my planetary brothers and sisters sleeping, kids playing, people talking and not for many of us the first time all night in which we can stop and rest.

We get into Starkville - thanks to Nature's friends Doug and Yehshebed we have a safe place to stay. The Volvo makes it on a wing and a prayer into Starkville, we get to go to a few stores. Yesterday the Volvo gives up its ghost as we pull out of the driveway. All the repairs I had done -- the crankcase gasket, the flat tire I had plugged the day we left, the front end suspension, the transmission shifter cable and for the crowning... the brakes failed! Luckily, all this occurred as we were trying to pull out of the driveway and not on the road.

Today we went to a Red Cross shelter to find out about food and if there might be any emergency financial assistance to help with the car repairs. We went to the Red Cross in Okitbeeha Miss -- and the experience was difficult. The workers were unresponsive at best, very nice, so polite - but it came down to a battle of the will to even get the directions written down and the name of the church to go to for meals. And here's the thing, they have everything set up and ready, vans, supplies, etc and nobody is doing anything. And we walk in genuinely in need of help due to the mandatory evacuation. Wow. And this is what I hear as we walk around and the workers are speaking amongst themselves - they have not been given any information about assistance. Yet Governor Jindal and Mayor Nagin say that New Orleanians are not to return yet. Hey what's going on?

FEMA: Gustav: Federal Agencies Support States, Evacuees Aug 30, 2008 ... FEMA has deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) to .... The American Red Cross is already allocating national resources to the - 21k - Cached - Similar pages

Yeah, the evacuation went orderly, but there are people who were in crisis before we left, on the edge, and this event has pushed the envelope for many. News is hard to find. I find myself calling and texting my friends to see what they have heard and pass the word around the grapevine. There may have been a tornado uptown around Audubon Park or New Orleans East {notice the bold lettering around the words may have been?} there is some flooding in the Lower 9th but not the upper 9th. There seems to be a news blackout even though we do get CBS/WCBI news, it is hard to find out informative news about New Orleans.

I am writing from the Starkville public library, well cared for and protected. After all the hours and miles of driving, the car died basically in the driveway of where we are staying. That is Divine protection.

your planetary sister in Starkville.

p.s. here is an image I will never forget - the sea of cars before me and behinid me in the dead of the night - the feeling of all of us together stressed, overwhelmed, many going through this ordeal again and trying to keep spirits high - I felt deeply as I was driving that planetary connection.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


It is really quiet in the city. The sounds of everday life - they are subdued. Certain neighborhoods are more active then others. More boards are being drilled over windows today, and yet much less boarding up activity is occurring than I would expect after experiencing hurricanes in FLA/Virgin Islands. I haven't left New Orleans as yet. I heard that Whole Foods is selling off prepared foods off half price today before they close at 2 pm today. Rue was closed but the kind folks at Zotz had hot beverages brewing on Maple Street. Last night after filling all 4 tires with air - the back drivers side tire which had some construction debris stuck in it and the tire went flat. Luckily, just as I pulled out of the truckers gas station by the Lowes on Elysian Fields. The owner came out to help Nature change the tire. Nature is my storm buddy. He is a great poet, he can say a powerful prayer, and he is a talented carpenter/painter/tileman. Where he lacks talent -- anything having to do with cars. So the owners help was a great help. I was able to get the tire plugged on St. Claude Avenue this morning. $15 to plug the hole - holes. At first they asked for $20 and I agreed just happy to get the tire repaired - then it hit me -- $20 to plug a tire. It has cost me $5 before on St. Claude - but that was the tire place further down. So in the end I negotiated $15 with a $2 tip. Which was all the cash I had.

You know, as I have driven around the city of New Orleans these last few days, I have been conscious of how the city traffic (foot and car) has been changing. I am aware of how people have been leaving in what I perceive to be cycles. I seem to be keenly aware of traffic flow, who is still around, and what they are doing. Yesterday I saw a lot of pillows - either in peoples hands or being packed into cars. Yesterday and the previous day - I heard (and saw them chug on by) many cars that were struggling to get down the road seemingly on their way to get some band-aid repairs to get their owners out of the city.

For many New Orleans residents rebuilding, the anniversary of Katrina was marked by ongoing rebuilding efforts. There was an expereince of building and battening down the hatches on the streets on Friday August 29, 2008.

This morning in the city, I was aware of how quiet the car traffic was, there was more foot traffic and the car traffic seemed to be specific as there are many businesses which are closed. Kudos to the businessmen who have stayed open to help people like myself with last minute car repairs. Last night around 11 p.m. you could see the homeless gathering on Oreatha Castle Haley by the mission and under the highway. I noticed off to my right, a group of 5 people walking with their belongings towards the closed mission. There will be buses to take the homeless to shelters.

For the tourists, there hasn't been a whole lot for them to do as even some of the Quarter businesses closed for the hurricane. This morning Mayor Nagin has asked the tourists to leave.
My experiences so far have been about trying to get the car repaired, packing today, helping Nature who is my storm buddy get his things together, be there the best I can for friends and strangers, and observe the reality I am a part of in this moment. I have spoken to Ulla, three years ago day she was pregnant, alone and evacuating. This time, she is surrounded, upheld, and supported by those who love her. Another friend is leaving with her family on a bus for a shelter in Northern Louisiana, she and her children went through a living hell 3 years ago - they are still in crisis as a family - they will be safe and together. Uncle G and Kiki will be staying at his parents home - safe. I left a message for Mrs. G as I had spoke with her a few days ago, I am not sure with which relative she is with but I know for sure she is safe. I guess what I am sharing with you is that these are my dear friends who have been previously traumatized, and who have been going through sufferations since, and who are revisiting a similar traumatizing event on the anniversary of the previous one. And this is not specific to them - it is specific to a whole region, hundreds of thousands of people...

I was so tired yesterday. I went to get something to eat in the grocery store and met a woman in the isles who was just going through so much, and her stress levels were so high, that she needed in that moment, to process with a stranger, me. She told me later that she is a nurse. I was glad to be of service AND was already one step beyond weary -- by last night I was unable to center myself and found myself anxious, fearful, and crying. This mornings sun and a good nights rest has helped. So has the loving support around me. What is interesting for me is that I am so tired that I cannot help volunteer - which is the reason I am here. I just don't have anything extra in me. That doesn't stop my ego from beating me up for not being able to do more...

My plan is...

When I finish this posting, I am going to begin to pack and get ready to evacuate later in the day. The highways are bumper to bumper right now. My plan as of this posting is to leave early evening or later, when there are less folks on the road. I am taking my time, keeping my stress levels low and letting those who call me that I will talk to them when I have plenty of time on the road most likely sitting in traffic and update them then.

At the same time, my heart/spirit is holding how evacuation is particularly difficult on those already at risk and often living in crisis from paycheck to paycheck. For many, car repairs are needed to get family and friends out of town. For others, there is the trauma related to 3 years ago and for them -- how going through many of these same motions of packing and making decisions what to take and where to go -- is a great emotional and psychological strain. For many impacted by this natural weather pattern for this area, the high gas prices brings with them, the extra strain of having to travel. For those who cannot take their food with them, there is the throwing out all of their food (unless you can travel with a cooler) - the refrigerator lessons from Katrina/levy failure flooding -- travel monies, picking up prescriptions, etc. For others there is making the difficult decision between paying their rent and having the funds available to get out of the city, often with their families.

PHOTO: There is so much building debris on the ground in many at risk neighborhoods. I call at risk neighborhoods as neighborhoods where the people who have recently rebuilt are at risk of damage directly related to the construction sites nearby them. If there is wind, this debris becomes projectiles. If there is water, flooding -- as the storm drains become clogged with the debris.

Will the levy's hold? I think that is the greatest concern. Yeah, everyone is leaving in an orderly and calm fashion - everyone who can be saved will be. But what will happen to the levy's? What affect with the storm surges have on the structural integrity of the levy's.

Hurricane Gustav is the residents, the city of New Orleans, and the state of Louisiana's, first test of whether it is really safe to rebuild.

your planetary sister in New Orleans.

SEEN: BANKSY in NEW ORLEANS - Elysian Fields & Chartres

Seeing Banky's work in person and being able to take in the energy of this artist through his work; especially as I have been an admirer of his work in Palestine... Wow, what an honour to come upon his work at Elysian Fields & Chartres.


Friday, August 29, 2008


My neighbor pulled his boat out of the weeds this morning. I guess this photo says what needs to be said about the situation for too many people still at risk in New Orleans on this 3rd anniversary of Katrina and the levy failure related flooding.

I'm tired. So are many of my friends. There are people and families I know that have been in crisis since Katrina, keeping their heads and hearts "above water" so to speak. Some have already left. Some are planning not to come back. Often these are the craftsmen and carpenters. They tell me they cannot compete with the prices the Mexican laborer's are willing to accept and still raise their families. For others whom I know, going through the same motions of packing and evacuating on the anniversary of Katrina, one of the greatest national natural and man-mismanaged disasters, is taking a toll on them emotionally and psychologically. And with staunch big easy good humour, they will tell you, "we were going away for the holiday weekend anyway to visit family, friends," and once again I witness sweet lemonade being brought forth from what others would perceive as sour lemons.

I noticed yesterday in my travels through the city of New Orleans that in the previously hardest hit neighborhoods, many of the people whom I would see walking in the streets and hanging out on their porches and stoops, were noticeably not there. Traffic patterns were different as I needed to drive from Broad Street and Paris Avenue to Metarie. Usually it is a very stressful drive as their are many speeders and tailgaters on highway I-10. Yesterday, it seemed to myself and a friend in the car with me that people were driving with more care and thoughtfulness. Less personal drama being acted out on the highway and more contemplative, thoughtful actions. I perceived that their was a drawing together of community and consciousness as people were not only reflecting on the anniversary and their lives 3 years ago and since, but also a sense of we need to work together to get where we all need to go and take care of business.

I perceive that alot of people have already left. I am living Uptown at the time in the Black Pearl neighborhood if you want to Google where that is situated in New Orleans. It is a part of the city built on high ground. It is also where a good bit of the wealth is concentrated. I was speaking with someone who works at the Audubon Zoo this morning who will be staying to take care of the animals, he told me the National Guard and other rescue workers will be staying there as a base camp. What I didn't like is when he began telling me how they were needed to protect the people uptown from being looted by the people downtown. There is such an incredible disparity between those who have and those who do not here. And such fear of "other" - i.e. many of my friends and adopted family members from the inner city, 7th Ward, Desire and 9th Ward. In the local grocery store this morning the clerks were speaking of not losing their belongings "again" and who is shifting their belongings uptown and the sense of safety they feel here as they won;t have to worry about looters. Wow, after a few of those conversations this morning, I just needed to go lie down for awhile. It is amazing that racism and fear of other can transcend the reality of we are all planetary brothers and sisters on this ONE PLANET living here together - trying to make it through another day.

Well, I have a lot to do today. Laundry to wash and hang out. Car parts to pick up in Metarie. Car repairs to get done in Gentilly. A house to sort and pack. What I take and leave behind (besides the essentials) depending on the predicted category strength. I will be evacuating with a friend of mine who went through Katrina, the flooding and waiting to be evacuated 3 years ago to a friends empty house in Mississippi on high land in the woods.

As much as I would like to write more there is the delicate balance of sharing what is happening, with the need to take care of myself and be there for those around me who are in need or crisis.

I perceive as someone living here in New Orleans on this 3rd anniversary of one of our nations greatest national disasters, great communal grief and a solemn quietness in the streets. I also perceive an emptiness, whilst still hearing the sounds of power drills and hammers which speak of the future and hope.

I have about 45o photo's I took on Wednesday August 27 to put up when I have a chance to edit them.

I am very tired. I don't believe I am alone in this experience.

Blessings and prayers for the suffering on this anniversary of Katrina and the levy failure related flooding. And blessings and strength to all who are packing and preparing to evacuate, who are on the highways as I write, who are in their homes trying to figure out if they should pay the rent or use the money to take them, their elderly relatives, and their children out of harms way.

your planetary sister in New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Three Years After Katrina

While Republicans and Democrats Gather and Celebrate, A City Still Searches for Recovery
By Jordan Flaherty

While much of the media focuses on conventions and running mates, the third anniversary of Katrina offers an opportunity to examine the results of disastrous federal, state and local policy on the people of New Orleans. Several organizations have released powerful reports in the past week, examining the current state of the city; while grassroots activists have plans to broadcast their message from the streets. For those who have heard only uplifting stories about the city's recovery, the facts on the ground offer an urgent reminder of the ongoing disaster.

According to a study by PolicyLink, 81 percent of those who received the Federally-funded, State-administered Road Home grants had insufficient resources to cover their damages. The average Road Home applicant fell about $35,000 short of the money they need to rebuild their home, and African-American households on average had an almost 35% higher shortfall than white households.

More than one in three residential addresses – over 70,000 - remain vacant or unoccupied, according to a report by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. While workers with Brad Pitt's Make It Right project are working on overdrive to finish the first of their scores of planned houses in the notoriously devastated Lower Ninth Ward, the neighborhood overall ranks far behind other neighborhoods in recovery, with only 11 percent of its pre-Katrina number of households. The same report notes that since the devastation of the city, rents have raised by 46% citywide (much more in some neighborhoods), while many city services remain very limited – for example, only 21% of public transit buses are running.

Race and Class

Its not only radicals that speak of race and class divisions in New Orleans. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 70% of residents feel we're divided by class and/or race. The Kaiser survey also found unity among New Orleanians: we're united in feeling forgotten by the rest of the US. Eight out of 10 said the federal government has not provided sufficient support. Nearly two-thirds think that the US public has largely forgotten about the city.

The survey found large percentages saying that their own situation has deteriorated. Fifty-three percent of low- income residents report that their financial situation is worse today than pre-Katrina. The percentage of residents who say they have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness such as depression has tripled since 2006.

There is a continuing debate about how many people live in the new New Orleans, with no definitive figures until the next complete census. But last year, the census bureau estimated a population of 239,000. Other analysts – and Mayor C. Ray Nagin – estimate the population to be nearly 100,000 higher. By any measurement, the growth in that number has stagnated, while even optimistic figures report that 150,000 - 200,000 former residents (out of a former population of nearly 500,000) have been unable to return. The once nearly 70% African American city is now estimated to be less than 50% African American, a change reflected in the changing face of electoral politics statewide. While Republicans have been losing across the US, Christian Coalition candidate Bobby Jindal was easily elected Governor last year, and in the city, decades of Black-majority city council shifted to a white majority.

Blank Slate or Burial Ground

Much of the change in the city is led by a new strata of the city's population – planners, architects, developers, and other reformers. Many of them self-identify as "YURPs" – Young, Urban Rebuilding Professionals - in their work with countless nonprofits, foundations, and businesses. Some have spoken of New Orleans as a blank slate on which they can project and practice their ideas of reform, whether in health care, architecture, urban planning, or education. What this worldview leaves out, according to some advocates, is the people who lived here before, who are the most affected by these changes, and have the least say in how they are carried out. "It wasn't a blank slate, it was a cemetery," says poet and educator Kalamu Ya Salaam. "People were killed, and they're building on top of their bones."

The vast majority of New Orleans' new professionals have come here with the best intentions, with a love for this city and a desire to help with the recovery. However, many activists criticize what they see as token attempts at community involvement, and a paternalistic attitude among many of the new decision makers.

For example, our education system was in crisis pre-Katrina, and certainly needed revolutionary change. Change is what we have gotten – the current system is in many ways unrecognizable from the system of three years ago – but this revolution has been overwhelmingly led from outside, with little input from the parents, students and staff of the New Orleans school system.

Shortly after the post-Katrina evacuation of the city, the entire staff of the public school system was fired. Not long after that, school board officials chose to end recognition or negotiation with the teachers' union – the largest union in the city, and arguably the biggest outlet of Black middle class political power in the city. Since then, the school landscape has changed remarkably – from staff to decision-making structure to facilities. According to Tulane professor Lance Hill, "New Orleans has experienced a profound change in who governs schools and a dramatic reduction of parent and local taxpayer control of schools."

The school system used to consist of 128 schools, 124 of them controlled by the New Orleans School Board. Now according to Hill, 88 have opened for the fall, and "50 of them are charter schools (privatized management) governed by self-appointed, self-perpetuating boards; 33 are run by the State Department of Education through the Recovery School District; and only five are governed by the elected school board."

"There are now 42 separate school systems operating in New Orleans," Hill continues, with their own "school policies, including teacher requirements, curriculum, discipline policies, enrollment limits, and social promotions. Publicly accountable schools in which parents have methods for publicly redressing grievances are limited to only five schools (5.6% of the total)."

Several recent articles have expressed excitement and admiration for the new school system, including pieces in the New York Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. For school reformers, who came to New Orleans with a desire to try out the changes they had imagined, this represents a dream come true. They have media support, federal, state and city officials on their side, and a massive influx of cheap (and young, idealistic) labor. Teach for America supplied 112 teachers last year, has committed 250 this year, and a projected 500 next year, while tens of millions of dollars in funding is coming through sources such as the Gates and Walton foundations.

There is no doubt that some students receive an excellent education in the new school districts, but critics are concerned that the students that are being left behind, are those that need the most help – those without someone to advocate for them, to research and apply for the best schools. According to New Orleanian Kalamu Ya Salaam, who is director of a school program called Students at the Center, the new systems represent "an experimentation with privatization, and everything that implies."

Although the new charter schools have been able to choose from the best facilities and have used methods such as state standardized tests to pick only select students (including 40% fewer special education students), there are still serious questions over the extent to their much-heralded success. G.W. Carver School, the subject of a fawning NYTimes piece last Spring, received an 88% failure rate for English and an 86% failure rate for math on state standardized tests.

Anniversary and Commemoration

August 29, the anniversary of the devastation of the city, falls between the Democratic and Republican conventions. While the Democratic and Republican parties crown their nominees, activists on the ground will be on the streets, still fighting for a just recovery. "It ain't to rain on Obama's parade," says Sess 4-5, a New Orleans-based hip hop star and activist, "but the people down here need the world to understand that its still a tragic situation. The rent has tripled, the health care system is in shambles, we have less access to education for our kids. The working class and poor are being exploited, while everyone at the top is getting fat off our misery."

"We think August 29 should be holy day, not a day for business as usual," explains Sess, who is one of the organizers of a Katrina March and Commemoration, starting Friday morning in the Lower Ninth Ward, and marching into the 7th Ward. That march is one of two activist commemorations in the city that day, the other starting uptown, near the BW Cooper development, one of the major housing developments torn down this year. "The Mayor announced to the world that New Orleans was 'open for business' but we're here to tell you that it is closed for families," declares former public housing resident Barbara Jackson, who will be part of the demonstration at BW Cooper, called Sankofa Day of Commemoration. "Five thousand demolished homes. Eight thousand new jail beds. This is their one for one replacement plan for us."

Taking to the streets is not the only agenda of local activists. In New Orleans, people have been organizing at the grassroots, working together to build a movement. In the aftermath of the US Social Forum last year in Atlanta, a broad coalition of social justice organizations began meeting monthly to combine efforts. This group, called the Organizers Roundtable, is an important spot for collaborations and community building.

It's been community, not foundations or government, that has led this city's recovery at the grassroots. Bayou Road - a street of Black-owned, community-oriented, businesses in New Orleans' seventh ward – has rebuilt post-Katrina to more businesses than they had before the storm. It hasn't been government help that has enabled these businesses to come back, but the effort of community members coming together. It was also local support that brought back the membership of many cultural organizations, like the network of Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, the century-old Black community institutions who organize secondline parades nearly every weekend throughout the year, as well as benefits for causes such as school supplies for students.

Nationally, the Right to the City alliance (RTTC), a coalition of organizations that focuses on urban issues such as health care, criminal justice, and education, sees the continuing crisis on the Gulf as central to their work, referring to New Orleans as "the front lines in the struggle against displacement and gentrification in the US." They are co-sponsoring the march in New Orleans, as well as actions in seven other cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, Providence, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Miami.

The work of RTTC deserves special notice, as a coalition that has worked to support the struggles of the people of New Orleans, and to bring that struggle and solidarity home to their own communities, while taking guidance from voices on the ground. In this time of many competing visionaries struggling to reshape this city, that willingness to listen to the people who lives are being affected, and to take that struggle and those lessons home to their own communities, may be the radical change New Orleans needs most.

Jordan Flaherty is a journalist based in New Orleans, and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. He was the first writer to bring the story of the Jena Six to a national audience and his reporting on post-Katrina New Orleans has been published and broadcast in outlets including Die Zeit (Europe's largest circulation newspaper), Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, and Democracy Now.

Resources for Information and Action:
Greater New Orleans Community Data Center

Kaiser Family Foundation Poll

Policylink Report:

Right To The City Alliance

Katrina Information Network Schedule of Commemoration Events:

Sankofa New Orleans March

Katrina March and Commemoration

Safe Streets Strong Communities

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children

New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice

Justice for New Orleans

Color Of Change

Media and More:
Left Turn Magazine:

Grit TV, hosted by Laura Flanders – Week of 8/18 featured excellent coverage of New Orleans

Kalamu Ya Salaam

Monday, August 25, 2008

Katrina Pain Index – New Orleans Three Years Later

Published on Monday, August 25, 2008 by
Katrina Pain Index – New Orleans Three Years Later
by Bill Quigley

0. Number of renters in Louisiana who have received financial assistance from the $10 billion federal post-Katrina rebuilding program Road Home Community Development Block Grant — compared to 116,708 homeowners.

0. Number of apartments currently being built to replace the 963 public housing apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the St. Bernard Housing Development.

0. Amount of data available to evaluate performance of publicly financed privately run charter schools in New Orleans in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years.

.008. Percentage of the rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied — a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected.

1. Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in percentage of housing vacant or ruined.

1. Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in murders per capita for 2006 and 2007.

4. Number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina.

10. Number of apartments being rehabbed so far to replace the 896 apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the Lafitte Housing Development.

11. Percent of families who have returned to live in Lower Ninth Ward.

17. Percentage increase in wages in the hotel and food industry since before Katrina.

20-25. Years that experts estimate it will take to rebuild the City of New Orleans at current pace.

25. Percent fewer hospitals in metro New Orleans than before Katrina.

32. Percent of the city’s neighborhoods that have fewer than half as many households as they did before Katrina.

36. Percent fewer tons of cargo that move through Port of New Orleans since Katrina.

38. Percent fewer hospital beds in New Orleans since Katrina.

40. Percentage fewer special education students attending publicly funded privately run charter schools than traditional public schools.

41. Number of publicly funded privately run public charter schools in New Orleans out of total of 79 public schools in the city.

43. Percentage of child care available in New Orleans compared to before Katrina.

46. Percentage increase in rents in New Orleans since Katrina.

56. Percentage fewer inpatient psychiatric beds than before Katrina.

80. Percentage fewer public transportation buses now than pre-Katrina.

81. Percentage of homeowners in New Orleans who received insufficient funds to cover the complete costs to repair their homes.

300. Number of National Guard troops still in City of New Orleans.

1080. Days National Guard troops have remained in City of New Orleans.

1250. Number of publicly financed vouchers for children to attend private schools in New Orleans in program’s first year.

6,982. Number of families still living in FEMA trailers in metro New Orleans area.

8,000. Fewer publicly assisted rental apartments planned for New Orleans by federal government.

10,000. Houses demolished in New Orleans since Katrina.

12,000. Number of homeless in New Orleans even after camps of people living under the bridge has been resettled — double the pre-Katrina number.

14,000. Number of displaced families in New Orleans area whose hurricane rental assistance expires March 2009.

32,000. Number of children who have not returned to public school in New Orleans, leaving the public school population less than half what is was pre-Katrina.

39,000. Number of Louisiana homeowners who have applied for federal assistance in repair and rebuilding who have still not received any money.

45,000. Fewer children enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare in New Orleans than pre-Katrina.

46,000. Fewer African American voters in New Orleans in 2007 gubernatorial election than 2003 gubernatorial election.

55,000. Fewer houses receiving mail than before Katrina.

62,000. Fewer people in New Orleans enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare than pre-Katrina.

71,657. Vacant, ruined, unoccupied houses in New Orleans today.

124,000. Fewer people working in metropolitan New Orleans than pre-Katrina.

132,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the City of New Orleans current population estimate of 321,000 in New Orleans.

214,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the U.S. Census Bureau current population estimate of 239,000 in New Orleans.

453,726. Population of New Orleans before Katrina.

320 million. The number trees destroyed in Louisiana and Mississippi by Katrina.

368 million. Dollar losses of five major metro New Orleans hospitals from Katrina through 2007. In 2008, these hospitals expect another $103 million in losses.

1.9 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to metro New Orleans for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

2.6 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to State of Louisiana for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

Bill is a human rights lawyer, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and author of the forthcoming book, STORMS STILL RAGING: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice. A version with all sources included is available. Bill’s email is For more information see the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center and Policy Link.


This is a photo of where I once lived most of the time before I came to New Orleans.

Off to the left in this photo, if you follow the dirt road about 3/4's of a mile down, take the rickety wood bridge over a small stream, keep driving further down the dirt road, past the lower fields, just before another stream you will find the woods and fields I once slept in nightly for years before moving to New Orleans.

One winter I slept in a tent next to the barn in this photo on the right hand side. It was so bitter cold. I slept at night on the land on this farm up until December 2006 after which I came to New Orleans as a volunteer. This past week I returned to MA for a long overdue spiritual retreat. Whilst in Massachusetts, I made the decision with the love and support of my spiritual teacher and community, to stay in New Orleans and make it my home. New Orleans had begun calling my heart sometime ago. Last Monday when I got off the plane in New Orleans I kept repeating to my friend Victorine, "I am home, I am home." And I knew I meant it.

With my decision to move to New Orleans come the decison to move to a new neighborhood. I am hoping that I can find "my neighborhood" in this New Orleans post-Katrina rental market. It may not happen with this new apartment as I am dependent upon timing and this rental market is horrendous. Check out this link for one bedroom apartments in NOLA:

What a joke. It seems like the rental market in NOLA is designed for wealthier Tulane and Loyola students & the Doctors and Nurses needed to run the soon to be booming medical industry and I sometimes feel as if some of the new apartment complexes are being built to lure in retirees to fill the hospital beds. Donald Trump has a sign up that he will be building in the CBD and the CBD is being marketed as the up and coming "luxury" area. Most of the houses/apartments up around where I live at this posting seem to be becoming student housing. I assume the mathematics may be more bodies per household = higher rents. My neighborhood which used to be 60% Black New Orleanians to about 40% Caucasian/mixed race, has to my eye, changed to @65% Caucasian/few Asians to about 30% Black New Orleanians and these demographics are changing fast. I have been feeling for some months as if I am beginning to live in a white collegiate bastion of privilege and it is depleting to my spirit.

With these new changes will come changes to the blog. I had hoped to have posted slide shows of some of the thousands of photo's I have taken over the year of post-Katrina New Orleans - my brand spanking new 500 gb external hard drive had other ideas - such as its driver not recognizing my computer. I working on having the photo data salvaged as I would like to donate these photos to the The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank and the New Orleans African American Museum. Unfortunately, they will not be available for any anniversary memorials this year.

I had hoped to go to the Layfette Reggae festival with some friends, we are all waiting to see what happens with the storm Gustav. I have a storm buddy - we will both be looking out for each other first. Once we meet up, we can help friends from there. My car has a full tank of gas and I have water for 3 days. I just need to get some dried fruits, nuts, protein bars so that I have some provisions in case of emergency. I have a tent and plenty of experience 'roughing it'.

So that's the news for now. When I get fresh photo's I'll post them. I hope to continue to share stories on my expereinces of New Orleans - I just don't know if I can continue to document and share stories related to Katrina and the levy related flooding. I am burnt out. I am saturated emotionally and tired. As a friend of mine who went through Katrina/flooding shared with me "everybody has a Katrina story and none of them is good. You gotta take care of yourself now."

PHOTOS: Upper 9th Ward - Piety & Dorgenois, Jonathon Lockett School being demolished. Piety & Law. Law & Louisa Streets. Louisa & N. Dorgenois. N. Dorgenois & Clouet. Clouet & N. Rocheblave. Clouet & N. Tonti. 7th Ward - N. Miro, Annette & N. Tonti. N. Tonti between Annette & St. Anthony. Bayou Road & Barracks. Gov. Nichols by Claiborne. @ 200 photo's. The most difficult photo's personally, was watching the destruction of Jonathon Lockett School.

I am going to take some time off to find my New Orleanian neighborhood. After I move, I will see what direction I feel my heart calling me. My hearts call will feed the passion that will inform my work.

Until then --
may you experience Divine guidance, blessings and love.
your planetary sister in New Orleans.

Thank you for your readership over this last year.

Sunday, August 10, 2008



Marcus Garvey Earth Day Celebration

Sunday August 17, 2008 7 p.m. - until

Club Caribbean
2441 Bayou Road (at Dorgenois)

"Bless us and come forth for our Marcus Garvey celebration"
--Ras Bo & Sister Tricia

DJ Nelson
DJ Rock-A-Dread
Zion Trinity
AmbushAfrican Dancing & Drumming
Nature Man - African Culture Poetry

BLESSINGS:Free food, music & entertainment.Gifts to the first 50 people at the door.


new orleans ORIGINAL Reggae Artist ~ NATURE MAN

CONTACT: tuffnuchiternational AT
***the current ETHIOPIAN flag: Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world that has no history of colonization. Upon their independence, many African countries adopted the colors of the Ethiopian flag - green, yellow and red - that became known as the Pan-African colors.

The official flag of Ethiopia consists of three equal and horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands.
The yellow pentagram on the blue disk, also known as the National Coat of Arms, is a symbol of the current government; it is intended to reflect the desire of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, as well as of its religious communities, to live together in unity and equality.
Prior governments had their own unique identifiers (National Coat of Arms) on the flag. For instance, the DERGUE had the Arma placed on the flag and the late Emperor Haile Sellassie had the Lion of Judah on the flag.
Although the National Coat of Arms has changed with the governments over the times - the green, the yellow and the red - has survived.
Ethiopian Flag Meaning:The colored stripes on the Ethiopian flag are significant - the red stripe stands for power, faith and blood; the yellow symbolizes the church, peace, natural wealth and love; and the green represents the land and hope. The colors were also interpreted to have a connection to the Holy Trinity, and the three main provinces of Ethiopia. The star represents unity of the people and the races that make up Ethiopia. The five rays on the outside of the star represent prosperity and the blue disk represents peace.

featuring:Strikly Love & Zublun

Unreleased interview with Bob Marley - special excerpt for birthday tribute

SEEN: Elementary School - Orleans Parish School District: 70117


SEEN: St. Claude Avenue - New Orleans

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The Peace Park Project

United for Peace in New Orleans is a coalition of concerned citizens using nonviolent resistance to build peace in New Orleans. On September 20th (International Peace Day), we will be holding a peace pilgrimage. Through art, gifts, song, stories, silence and speeches, we will honor the dignity and worth of all 498 New Orleanians who lost their lives to violence since the Storm.

We will stop at several locations where murders have happened in Central City. To honor the victim, we will pause for a moment of silence, offer a creative act and a gift of peace. Through our gifts of peace we will aim to address the problems that cause the violence in our city.
One of the people we intend to honor is Arthur Mitchell, 15, who was shot in what is now known as the ‘Nicola Cotton Memorial Park’ (Jackson Ave. and S. Robertson). He was playing a game in the park which is across the street from his house and a friend shot him after Arthur won the game. Thanks to the work of NBA Cares, the park was lively and enjoyable place to play for the youth, however, after Arthur’s murder, the park is abandoned.

In honor of Arthur, we will pledge 1,000,000 hours of volunteer service to the park. Every day from 3pm until 7pm, the park would be a place where people and organizations from all over the city can volunteer an hour of their time to engage the youth in a special activity. The activities can range from basketball and football to chess and checkers to debate and writing.

We are asking for community's support on this project. We are asking members of the community and organizations within the community to pledge one hour a week to the million hours of the Peace Park Project. The activity is their choice.

At the march on September 20th, all people and organizations would present what activity they intend to create at the park. Shortly after the march, the volunteering will begin and at the park we will post the activity list for the week along with the amount of hours we have volunteered together.

If you are interested in helping make peace possible in New Orleans, please contact me through email at or on my cell phone day or night at (908) 328-7956. Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.

Charles Anderson
Founder, United for Peace in New Orleans