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.