Friday, March 31, 2006

Jill's release brings out worst in the wingnuts...

Just as the whole world is celebrating the release of Jill Carroll the rightwing hate-mongers come out of their sewers to demonize her. One of the worst examples is Imus and his band of idiots. ThinkProgess has the details. Take your blood pressure meds before you read what those guys had to say about this brave American journalist.

I've tried to figure out the reason for the outpouring of vitriol. Maybe it is because she did not allow herself to be used as a stenographer for the Administrations' pro-war some of her more celebrated colleagues.

Pay no attention to the wingnuts, Jill!

Welcome home...and we love you.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Breaking news...Jill Carroll is free!!!

Jill as see appeared on Iraqi television earlier today. (AP Image)

What great news this morning! Those of us who are graduates of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have extra reason to be trilled with this news. We are all happy for the Carroll family. An early Passover/Easter gift!

A grim reminder..

Today the Times-Picayune (online edition) published this photo of debris piled high in a Chalmette street. I was amazed to discover that so little has changed since I visited this area last November.

Photo: Chris Granger/Times-Picayune

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Problem fixed! Thanks, Brett!

A publishing problem...

Note to Katrina Memo visitors:

If you are using the Internet Explorer (IE) browser you may not see the right-hand might have dropped all the way to the bottom of the page. Those using Firefox or Nescape will not have this problem. I'll resist the opportunity to complain about Blogger since they provide the hosting for this blog for FREE.

I've asked an IT consultant to help resolve this problem. Hopefully, we can get a "fix" in the near future. If you have any ideas send me an email.

Thanks for your patience!

Update: New Orleans continues to face major challenges...

Headlines from today's Times-Picayune (online edition):

* Homeowners likely to go without insurance due to rising costs, limited availability

New Orleans' health system still in shambles after Katrina

Post-storm New Orleans economy a huge question mark

FEMA flood map release delayed

FEMA meets with local officials on storm evacuation planning

St. Augustine closed after disruption

N.O. public housing still in limbo

Corps role in drainage still unsettled

A glance at these headlines tells us that New Orleans is still facing huge challenges.


If you are using Internet Explorer you may not see the side-bar on the right side of this page. It looks okay on Mozilla-Firefox. Have contacted Blogger about the problem and hope to get a response in a few days.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Update: Judge refuses to delay New Orleans vote...

A federal judge yesterday refused to delay New Orleans' April 22 mayoral election, telling both sides to solve any problems that might hinder displaced residents' ability to vote.

"I recognize that there is still room for improvement in that electoral process," U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle said.

Civil rights groups wanted to postpone what would be the city's first municipal elections since Hurricane Katrina, arguing that too many black residents won't be able to participate.

The Aug. 29 storm flooded 80 percent of the city, destroying some polling places and scattering more than half the population. What was a mostly black city of nearly half a million people was reduced to well under 200,000 inhabitants.

I expect we have not heard the end of this story.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The mother of all demonstrations...

Photo: Bob Chamberlin/LAT

A crowd estimated by police at more than 500,000 boisterously marched in Los Angeles on Saturday to protest federal legislation that would crack down on undocumented immigrants, penalize those who help them and build a security wall along the US southern border.

I don't understand the specifics of the legislation that will be discussed in Congress this week. It certainly is not very practical to consider sending home 11 million immigrants who are here illegally. And the idea of building a wall across our southern border would appear to be un-American.


Regular visitors will notice that I have revised the tag line at the top of this page to reflect a broader focus for this blog. I'll continue to post several times each week on post-Katrina reconstruction.

You will notice that I've revised and updated the sidebar. I've dropped the Red Cross link because of the most recent scandal involving the misappropriation of funds in New Orleans. And I've added a Google Ad that will be activated in a few days. Will get some pocket change from Google if people click on this Ad enough times! As usual, your comments are always welcome.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The challenge of getting rid of abandoned cars in New Orleans...

Abandoned cars left over from Hurricane Katrina are still crowded about the city. In this photo a portrait of Fats Domino overlooks the cars under I-10 at N.Claiborne and Esplanade looking towards Baton Rouge. A number of disputes, including who should pay for car removal and who should get the contract, has resulted in little progress addressing this problem.

Photo: Elliot Kamenitz, Times-Picayune

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A story worth reading...

This morning when I visited Firedoglake, one of my favorite blogs, I was surprised and pleased to find a post that highlights the struggles of one individual/family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is the post by Christy Hardin Smith, AKA ReddHedd. Christy reproduces the personal story by one hurricane victim ... a story that is a metaphor for the utter frustration experienced by many hurricane victims.

Problems with Blogger..

Sorry folks! Blogger is acting unfriendly today. I'm working on the problem. Since I'm not a geek this may take some time.
Thanks for your patience.


Problem fixed! I deleted my previous post and everything now looks okay.

Friday, March 24, 2006

LSU topples Duke...

Photo:Michael Democker / Times-Picayunee

The folks in Baton Rouge are pretty happy this morning! In the biggest upset of the NCAA tourney so far, LSU toppled #1 ranked Duke last night.

The city of Baton Rouge has almost doubled in size since Hurricane Katrina. This has caused many challenges. Baton Rougeans are big sports fans and I know this win will be a big boost to their spirits.

I saw the game on TV and had the impression that this team could go all the way. Of course I'm a little biased as I've been an LSU fan since living in Baton Rouge in the late Sixties and early Seventies.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Getting ready for the mayoral election in New Orleans...

Photo: Ted Jackson / Times-Picayune

Judy Jackson helps her mother Adele Joseph as she registers to vote in the upcoming mayoral elections.
Some civil rights groups are trying to get the election postponed because they believe many of the diaspora will not be able to vote.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Comcast broadband connection is down and I'll not be blogging until later in the week. Sometimes the technology goes haywire!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Understanding what motives terrorists...

Last night I had the opportunity to see in Boston a play called Talking with Terrorists. Written be Robin Soans, it was first produced in London last April.

The play left me thinking that our "war on terrorism" may be based on some rather simplistic notions about terrorists as evil people. Its helpful to understand where they are coming from.

Talking with Terrorists resonates with the voices of children growing up in parallel worlds of economic deprivation and powerlessness. Of people tortured for crimes unknown except for being the voice of the other side. Voices lost in the political, diplomatic and military maelstrom. Angry voices, cold voices, heartbreaking voices and often chilling voices.

The play addresses some highly controversial political issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It attempts to understand what makes and motivates "terrorists."

Produced by the Sugan Theatre Company, a small theatre in the South End, it provides a pretty intense two-hour experience. I'll recommend it to friends.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Taking a break from blogging's St Patrick's Day. Growing up in Ireland we observed this date as a "holy day of obligation." One of the High Holy Days!


This story from Daily Kos will not cheer you up. Don't read if you want to enjoy St.Pat's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A feel-good story...

CNN has been a running story about thousands of college students from "up North" who have given up Spring break to help Katrina victims. I saw one group of hard-working kids repair the roof for a woman in Biloxi.

I don't have the details but I believe the students are part of some kind of religious youth group. Good for them!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Barge removal chores are nearly completed in Algiers...

Photo: Meghan Gordon/Times Picayune

Levee damage is revealed as a 200-foot, 330-ton barge is pulled off the batture in Algiers.

Almost every day the Times-Picayune reports steady progress in the process of restoring New Orleans and the Coastal area. Opening up the roads and waterways is a major priority.

Another soldier is laid to rest...

This is somewhat off topic for this blog. In surfing the Internet I came across this photo published by Truthout.Org. Images of funerals of Iraqi casualties are rarely seen in the national media. Shouldn't these young men and women be honored as national heroes? Reporting on this war and its casualties has been pretty sanitized. I guess the local media provide coverage of the funerals. Clearly, the Administration would like to downplay the number of casualties. Somewhere I read that both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney had not attended a single funeral of any of the more than 2000 soldiers who have died on behalf of their homeland.

In this photo Gordon Misner Sr., father of Sgt. Gordon Misner II, is consoled by his sister, Suzie, during his son's burial in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Sgt. Gordon Misner II, of the US Army's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, died February 22nd in Iraq.

Photo: Hunter McRae / AP

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The consequences of war...

Times-Picayune: Newspaper of record...

One of the most valuable resources available to people who are part of the Katrina diaspora is the on-line edition of the Times-Picayune. Almost every day the lead story focuses on Katrina-related issues. For example, today they have this story on how residents of one community are taking matters into their own hands to prevent looting.

When I lived in Louisiana several decades ago I used to consider the Times-Picayune to be a somewhat dull and uninteresting newspaper. I guess that's why I am so impressed with the online edition. Most informative!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Another victim of Katrina....

Photo: Bill Haber/AP

Parishioners in St. Augustines parish celebrate Mass yesterday. The archdiocese is set to close this historic predominately black parish.


St. Augustine Church, founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color, is among the parishes the archdiocese plans to consolidate as it seeks to deal with $84 million in uninsured losses from Hurricane Katrina. Hundreds of structures in the archdiocese, including schools, churches and administrative buildings, were damaged when the storm blew in Aug. 29 and four-fifths of the city was covered in water.

The archdiocese is careful to point out that St. Augustine's will only close as a parish but still be open for Mass on Sundays and some other functions like funerals and weddings. Its building, one of the oldest churches in New Orleans, suffered only wind damage from Katrina and will remain open.

"Show up on Sunday, and you won't miss a beat," said the Rev. William Maestri, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Members of the parish, though, say it's not enough. They officially appealed the decision on Thursday and expect a response Monday.

"A parish is family. A parish is generations. A parish is your history," said Sandra Gordon, who began attending St. Augustine as a child, after Hurricane Betsy wiped out her family's previous parish in 1965. Now the president of the pastoral council, she wants St. Augustine to remain the parish of her children and grandchildren.

St. Augustine sits in a low- to middle-income racially diverse neighborhood near the French Quarter; the music, this Sunday played by Ellis and Branford Marsalis, is jazz. About half of the 350 pre-Katrina families that belonged to the parish have returned, and many have suffered heavy damage to their homes, including Gordon.

This story is further confirmation that every aspect of community life in New Orleans was impacted by Katrina.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Thinking about Tom Fox...

Spring seems to have arrived here in eastern Massachusetts. This morning I took advantage of the mild weather to go on a long solitary walk. I found myself thinking about the news stories that have dominated the news for the past few days.

The story that has most affected me was the murder of Tom Fox in Baghdad. The details of his death are gruesome. He was obviously tortured before he was murdered.

I found myself wanting to know more about this unusual man. Maybe because I also think of myself as a pacifist. Using Google News I was able to track down several articles.

There is a certain irony in the death of Fox. He was one of just a handful of Americans in Iraq with the mission of promoting peace. He was there as a Christian Peacemaker.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Top Bush aide arrested...

Left Blogistan this morning is buzzing about the news that a top White House aide had resigned because he was caught shoplifting. Claude Allen was Bush's senior advisor on domestic policy. He was a strong promoter of conservative Christian values. Earlier this year Allen was arrested for a scam that involved stealing $5,000 from a Target store. His White House salary was $161,000.

Allen chaired a special White House Task Force that was set-up to respond to Hurricane Katrina. At one time Bush had nominated him to a Federal Appeals Court but he didn't get the "up and down" vote from the Republican dominated Senate.


More depressing news. Tom Fox, an American Christian pacifist was found near a west Baghdad railway line with gunshots to his head and chest. There were cuts on his body and bruises on his head.

Word of Fox's killing came as four people - including an Iraqi journalist and a human rights activst - died in drive-by shootings on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the White House announced that President Bush would be delivering a series of speeches next week explaining how well things are going in Iraq. Talk about a tough sell!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Billy Graham goes to New Orleans...

Franklin Graham was on CNN this morning from New Orleans. I guess he and his father, the Reverend Billy Graham, are on a mission to bring hope that that stricken city.

Graham's TV appearance brought back memories of an encounter I had with Dr. Graham in Baton Rouge back in 1972. Graham had come to town to preach a Crusade at LSU's Tiger Stadium. I was part of a group that petitioned Graham to speak out against the racial segregation of his sponsoring churches. You guessed right. Graham refused to say a word about racism or segregation.

Hypocrites? Okay, we all grow and change with the passage of time.

Bush: Give Louisiana the entire $4.2 billion...

This news article by staff writer Michelle Krupa of the Times-Picayune was published in yesterday's edition of the newspaper....


President Bush toured New Orleans' most flood-ravaged neighborhood for the first time Wednesday morning, strolling down a street of rotting homes and using the visit to call on Congress to honor his proposal to earmark an additional $4.2 billion for Louisiana housing recovery.

Standing atop the breached Industrial Canal levee in the Lower 9th Ward, Bush said he is counting on lawmakers to reverse a Tuesday move by leaders of the House Appropriations Committee that would let other states, including Bush's home state of Texas, vie for the cash. The money is part of a $92 billion supplemental spending request Bush proposed last month, including $19.8 billion for Gulf Coast recovery aid

"Congress needs to make sure that the $4.2 billion that I requested goes to Louisiana," said Bush, who was joined by his wife Laura, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Mayor Ray Nagin, Gulf Coast recovery coordinator Donald Powell and a bevy of Army Corps of Engineers personnel.
The trip Wednesday was the president's ninth visit to south Louisiana since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged communities from St. Bernard Parish to Lake Charles last fall. It included a nearly 2 ½-hour tour of the Lower 9th Ward, with stops at a debris heap on North Rampart Street and a diner off Desire Street.

The visit came on the heels of three recent federal reports that criticize the government's response to Katrina, as well as previously unreleased video that showed Bush was warned the day before Katrina hit that New Orleans levees might fail.

Bush, however, said he made the trip at the request of Nagin and Blanco. "The mayor and the governor thought it was important for me to see firsthand the devastation," he said.

$4.2 billion defended

Defending his request for $4.2 billion to be spent solely in Louisiana, Bush said the figure matches the amount required to launch a state housing rehabilitation plan that would offer payouts and rebuilding grants of as much as $150,000 apiece for almost 169,000 flooded Louisiana homes. He said that blueprint likely would win approval on a "timely basis" from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has reviewed the preliminary plan.
Some congressional and administration officials have blamed the state's lag in generating its own housing plan for the delay in Louisiana's storm recovery. But Bush seemed to strike a conciliatory note Wednesday, calling the state's buyout proposal "a well-thought-out plan that has been put together by the local folks."

"The housing plan has been coordinated by state authorities with local authorities, as well as with (federal housing) authorities. In other words, we've all been working together to figure out how to come up with a housing plan that will restore the confidence of the people of this important part of our country."

Bush also rebuked Congress for stripping out of a $29 billion hurricane recovery spending package approved in December his requests for money to armor levees, add new pumping stations near Lake Pontchartrain and close off canals that failed and flooded much of the city after Katrina. Bush's current request includes $1.5 billion for that work.

"Congress heard our message about improving the levees, but they short-changed the process by about $1.5 billion," he said. "And so, in order to help fulfill our promise on the levees, Congress needs to restore" the money.

Capitol Hill aides have said Congress is unlikely to vote on the spending package, the fourth since the storm, before May. The first three packages totaled about $68 billion.

'A fine job'

At the Industrial Canal levee breach, Bush saw diagrams of the new levee and floodwall design being implemented there, along with photographs snapped soon after the 13-foot floodwall crumbled during the Aug. 29 storm. The shots showed the scene just outside the levee, now a disaster of dry wreckage, at the time it was inundated.

Col. Lewis Setliff, the coordinator of the corps' Task Force Guardian in charge of rebuilding the levees, told Bush that since beginning work in December, the corps has restored 44 percent of storm-wrecked levees to their pre-Katrina strength or better. The agency has promised to restore flood protection to pre-Katrina levels by June 1, the start of hurricane season.

"You've done a fine job," Bush told corps personnel, putting his arms around several workers to pose for a snapshot. He said later: "We fully understand that if people don't have confidence in the levees, they're not going to come back."

Also speaking at the levee breach, Laura Bush announced The Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative, a project of her charity foundation that aims to restore the libraries of 1,121 public and private schools damaged or destroyed by Katrina, Rita and Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida in October. Organizers hope to raise $5 million in private and corporate donations to support the effort, a foundation spokesman said.

Walking amid debris

The president arrived at Louis Armstrong International Airport at 8:30 a.m., about a week after a bipartisan delegation of congressional leaders began its own three-day tour of the region. Bush boarded a helicopter bound for the Port of New Orleans' France Road terminal. By motorcade, he crossed the St. Claude Avenue bridge, then hung a right onto Lamanche Street and stopped at the corner of North Rampart Street for about 20 minutes.

In perhaps his most intimate view of the damage wrought in New Orleans by Katrina, Bush stepped out of his SUV and approached a debris heap of the kind that has remained a common sight on city streets: a mass piled several feet high with couch cushions, a child's sneakers, moldy clothing, an oatmeal can, a bed frame, several television sets and a mattress, all set next to a flooded-out Chevrolet Cavalier.

Houses lining the street bore the telltale signs of the hurricane. "Dead dog" was spray-painted on the outside wall of a brick home. An X painted on another house showed that it had been searched by rescue workers on Sept. 11, with no one found inside.

Wandering away from the entourage, Nagin peered into the wide-open front door of a house cleared of much debris but not gutted since the storm.
"Mr. President! You ought to come see this," the mayor called to Bush, who stepped onto the porch and gazed into the dim space. Neither of them entered.

Outside, Laura Bush peppered Gil Jamieson, FEMA's deputy director of Gulf Coast recovery, with questions. "Is this debris out of one house?" she asked, pointing to the pile. "It was just put out on the street? What about the homeowners who are gone?"

Sharing thoughts

The motorcade then headed down Caffin Avenue toward the Industrial Canal, speeding through the mostly desolate neighborhood. Construction workers in hard hats lined some blocks, along with onlookers waving disposable cameras. A handful of demonstrators held a homemade placard that read "Where's My Government?" while another group shouted, "Stop evictions now!"

Before returning to the port facility and lifting off by helicopter for an afternoon tour of coastal Mississippi, the president grabbed a to-go container of red beans and rice at Stewart's Diner, a short-order restaurant at North Claiborne Avenue and Desire Street.

Bush, Laura Bush, Blanco and Nagin spent about 10 minutes at the lunch counter chatting with owner Kim Stewart and some of her relatives, then emerged with Stewart, who invited the president to give her a call with his comments on the meal.
"Give me a little feedback on it," she said.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

An extraordinary life...

November 30, 1912 - March 7, 2006

Gordon Parks, who captured the struggles and triumphs of black America as a photographer for Life magazine and then became Hollywood's first major black director with "The Learning Tree" and the hit "Shaft," has died at 93.

(Photo: Marsha Halper / AP)

Tough hurdles for companies in move back to New Orleans..

Photo: Chang W. Lee/New York Times

A facility made up of trailers in Robert, Louisiana, served as temporary office space for displaced Shell employees after Hurricane Katrina.

One of the major challenges facing companies in the New Orleans area is finding places for employees to live. Some have set up trailers on their property. Yesterday the New York Times carried this story about how Shell addressed this challenge. They invested more than $30 million in purchasing property that could be used by employees.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

U.S Army Corps of Engineers ignored data that showed higher levees needed...

According to this story in today's Times-Picayune, weather data showing the need to raise the height of levees to defend New Orleans against stronger hurricanes was not incorporated in Army Corps of Engineers designs, even though the agency was informed of the new calculations as early as 1972.

The heights of floodwalls and levees currently being rebuilt by the corps are based on research for a likely worst-case storm done in 1959. When new weather service research in the 1970s increased the size and intensity of that storm and its projected surges, the corps stuck to its original design specifications when work began in the 1980s, including for structures that failed during Hurricane Katrina.

This news has to be discouraging for individuals trying to decide if they should rebuild homes that were destroyed by the hurricane.


President Bush traveled to New Orleans this morning and visited a levee reconstruction site as well as some of the devastated areas, including the Lower 9th Ward. He seemed so much more in touch with the challenges confronting hurricane survivors than he was on previous visits. As I've been saying on this blog, you have to go out into the neighboods to fully appreciate the extent of the devastation.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Corps begins demolition of New Orleans houses..

Photo: Ellis Lucia / Times-Picayune

The demolition of homes within the most hard hit areas of the Lower 9th Ward began Monday.


A total of 120 houses will be razed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Wrecked houses that block city streets or otherwise pose public hazards will be first to be removed.

Dog teams trained to locate human remains precede the demolition crews. A body was found in the attic of a house in Lakeview on Sunday.

Levees may fail in another storm...

(Photo: Joby Warrick / The Washington Post)
The Army Corps of Engineers are working around the clock to repair the damage to the levees as a result of Hurricane Katrina. However, there is growing concern that the repairs may not be able to withstand another Category 3 hurricane.
The Corps seems likely to fulfill a promise by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans's toppled flood walls to their original, pre-Katrina height by June 1, but two teams of independent experts monitoring the $1.6 billion reconstruction project say large sections of the rebuilt levee system will be substantially weaker than before the hurricane hit.

These experts say the Corps, racing to rebuild 169 miles of levees destroyed or damaged by Katrina, is taking shortcuts to compress what is usually a years-long construction process into a few weeks. They say that weak, substandard materials are being used in some levee walls, citing lab tests as evidence. And they say the Corps is deferring repairs to flood walls that survived Katrina but suffered structural damage that could cause them to topple in a future storm.

The Corps strongly disputes the assertion - by engineers from a National Science Foundation-funded panel and a Louisiana team appointed to monitor the rebuilding - that substandard materials are being used in construction. Agency officials maintain that the new levees are rigorously inspected at each step. But they acknowledge that much more work will be needed after June 1, the beginning of hurricane season, and that the finished system still will not be strong enough to withstand a storm the magnitude of Katrina.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Members of Congress visit Katrina devastated areas...

Photo: John McCusker/Times-Picayune

A congressional delegation, including the House Speaker and minority leader, tours the Ninth Ward. The group were on a three-day tour of devastated communities.


When I visited New Orleans in late November I became convinced that there is no substitute for seeing first-hand the damage caused by Katrina. I'm glad some members of Congress finally made the trip to the Gulf Coast.


I've just heard a report on CNN that the search for bodies in the Lower Ninth Ward has resumed. This in anticipation of the bulldozing of some houses. The search was suspended in November because of the lack of funds. One body was found in the attic of a house yesterday.

Makes one sick to realize that they are finding bodies more than six months after the hurricane. And this is in America. Is it any wonder that the African-American community is angry? Compare what happened to the victims in the Lower Ninth Ward to the response to the 9/11 attack in NYC.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Thanks for the critical feedback...

In a comment yesterday, Rex From Tex has some interesting advice on what should be the focus of this blog. He correctly points out that there are many interesting issues arising out of the hurricane disaster that deserve serious discussion. I completely agree.

Just off the top I can think of several questions that deserve examination. For example, why did it take six months for the leaders of the House of Representatives to make it to New Orleans? What impact will the changed demographics of the city have on the upcoming mayoral election? What about all those bodies that are unaccounted for? Should the government be responsible for the damage caused by the levee breaks?

Clearly, there are lots of issues that deserve examination.

Here is the problem. Publishing a blog is A LOT OF WORK! As a self-employed management consultant I have to devote considerable energy to just making a living. Frankly, I wish I could devote full time to this blog. I would be able to do the kind of things that Rex From Tex referenced in his thoughtful comment.

What I've learned is that most people who visit progressive blogs expect something to be posted every day. If a week passes without some new material posted the traffic will drop off. I've been tempted to go to posting once or twice a week but I know there is a downside to this approach.

I have also thought about inviting several people to become blog contributors. One of my favorite blogs - Firedoglake - publishes fresh material several times each day...but that blog has two contributors.

Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback. In retrospect I believe the comment I posted on Friday was somewhat defensive. Chalk it up to the winter blues.

1840 still listed as missing after Katrina...

According to this article in today's Times-Picayune, six months after the storm some hold out hope their loved ones will be found.

In the Lower Ninth Ward they are checking for bodies in the ruins of houses before the bulldozers move in. It is likely we will never know the fate of many who are listed as missing.

After six months, Congressional delegation visit devastated area...

Photo: Alex Brandon/A:P

Lower Ninth Ward resident Mattie Mack, left, gets a hug from House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Members of Congress are on a three-day tour of the tri-state region hardest hit by Katrina.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Fair and Balanced" news...

Courtesy of Think Progress


Okay, only about 1500 people have been killed as a result of sectarian strife in the past week. Maybe those guys at Fox could send a couple of reporters to Baghdad to do some on-the-ground reporting. Come to think it, that might not be a great idea since western reporters are confined to the Green Zone.

Last week Fox posed the question, "Could all out war be a good thing?" They played such a key role in propagandizing the American people in support of the invasion that now they are desperately trying to come up with some spin. Sorry fellas, the public are catching on...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mardi Gras in New Orleans...

Photo: Eliot Kamenitz/Times-Picayune

Rex toasts the crowd along Napoleon Avenue yesterday. A smaller crowd than usual but everyone had a good time!

And Gretna celebrates Mardi Gras...

Photo:Susan Poag/Times-Picayune

Nice weather plus lots of sunshine equaled a near perfect Mardi Gras day for the crowds which lined Franklin Ave. in Gretna to watch the 59th annual Grela and 71st annual Choctaw parades.


Celebration of Mardi Gras in not limited to New Orleans. Many cities and towns along the Gulf Coast have their own celebration.

Pas Christian, one of the most devastated towns on the Mississippi coast had a small parade yesterday. Most communities choose to hold parades despite the devastation from Katrina.

I caught some of the coverage on CNN. They did a good job of putting the celebrations in perspective. The consensus is that Mardi Gras provided good therapy...and gave people some renewed energy for the challenges they face.