The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site on the article, “Three months after the Katrina disaster: New Orleans left for dead” .
Your article is absolutely right. Have you visited New Orleans or driven through the streets? At night, whole neighborhoods are pitch-black. The hotels and fast-food restaurants are only doing well because of the influx of cleanup crews from other states. Local workers are having great difficulty getting contracts to work. I am lucky in that my job still exists, and my home received little damage. My power and gas just came back on last week.
Half the people I know lost everything they had. The ones who are getting those FEMA trailers are being told the trailers are only for 18 months, and they will then be homeless again. Landlords are tripling rents on the rentable properties. Most apartment complexes lost their roofs in the storm and are still not livable. Grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations are operating shortened hours due to lack of employees. Gas stations frequently run out of gas. Store shelves are not restocked often. There are no groceries open in New Orleans; you have to drive to Jefferson Parish to shop. Half the people who did come back are losing hope and leaving again. I have no faith in Bush or Congress or “Governor Blank,” as we call her now. This will take people coming and staying and dealing with the mess and the lines and the aggravation of daily life in this city. Nothing here is easy any more.
New Orleans, Louisiana
14 December 2005* * *
I live in New Orleans, and I am trying to make every day here happy, but knowing that my government does not care hurts. I was in the military for four years and served my government well, and now that my fellow New Orleansians need help, there is nothing. I understand why we help other countries, but what about helping our own. We are being treated worse than countries that want to destroy us.
I wish there was some way to do what needs to be done without the government. But since they have their dirty little hands in everything, there is no way. So someday soon, when people yearn for the great food here, the Mardi Gras, the jazz fest, the history and just the good-natured people, they will wish they had tried to do something. It will be too late, and New Orleans will be gone. The city I love and want to see come back may not have a chance. But, alas, this will not only happen here, but somewhere else—it’s just a matter of when. Hopefully not soon.
15 December 2005* * *
Congratulations. You have done a great service to humanity, especially those people in the world who consider the United States as a civilised country. Many of the US actions—like depriving the New Orleans residents of their right of dwellings and support, like destroying a country, Iraq, for no solid reason—are bare proofs to the fact. The whole of humanity is suffering at the hands of American capitalism’s imperial and expansionist designs.
17 December 2005* * *
I am from eastern New Orleans and suffered complete loss of everything. Thank God my family and I were able to leave ahead of time to Houston, Texas. Many were not as fortunate. While in the hotel, my family and I watched the television in horror to see the complete devastation of New Orleans. We became emotionally torn to see all the people left to die. There were people lying dead at the feet of a family member, newborn babies held up to the camera, hungry, wet and exposed to the elements. There were elderly that could not survive this newfound holocaust. There were healthcare workers who were dedicated to their jobs, abandoned for days with dying patients, and the staff suffered great mental/emotional upset.
How can our so-called leaders expect us to return to a city with no real government? The water, land and properties are toxic. They’re still giving out bottled water in rations. There is still no power or sewage. The police department still has its issues. Mayor Nagin keeps trying to sell us swampland that we already own.
I’m more infuriated because our government cares more about cockroaches and experiments and trying to find new ways to move their personal mountains, but they all sat back and watched thousands in despair and dragged their feet. I will never consider returning like so many others. You never hear about how there aren’t any jobs in New Orleans, not to mention how our leaders are allowing prices of rental properties to be increased to four times above the norm, but Nagin keeps telling people to come back. And in the same breath he has to lay off thousands of people.
Now, on top of everything else, Nagin and the other BSers have the audacity to push for Mardi Gras when people are still trying to recover and bury the dead. People are still committing suicide because they are so devastated.
I have seen depression at an all-time high, and it’s going to get worse all over the country. Many in other areas that were not affected had better pay attention to how the people in Louisiana were treated, because we all are under the same government that let people perish right before your eyes. Next time it might be your city!
I’m also upset that our insurance companies have decided to jump on the bandwagon and screw what’s left of the many people left without homes. Since our government failed us in so many other ways, they could at least support the claims that people have paid for years. That is flat-out stealing from a homeowner! Oh, you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Thanks. I hope you can post this as I speak for millions.
20 December 2005