People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Merry Katrina Christmas, 2006

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2006

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There are more of my Katrina Christmas photos here, here, and here. And visit Humid City for an entertaining twist on The Night Before Christmas.

A lot of us may not be blogging over the next few days, so here’s my wish to all of you for a happy holiday season, whatever it is you like to celebrate.

I haven’t been driving around much lately because I was busy studying, so maybe it’s my imagination, but I don’t think I’m seeing as many Christmas decorations in areas that flooded as I saw last year. Last year, the first Christmas after Katrina, people who made it back — some who were living in trailers, some living in tents, some in their gutted homes without gas, some without electricity, many taking cold showers, and eating MRE’s or cooking on camp stoves — people who were defying all odds and making it happen made a powerful statement about getting back to normal despite the odds by putting up some amazing Christmas decorations. If it’s true that there aren’t as many decorations this year, that would be very disconcerting because it would mean people are feeling defeated, or have already given up and moved away. More hopefully, it’s also entirely possible that people are just too damn busy fighting their insurance companies (still), and ICF for their Road Home grants, and the Corps of Engineers, and City Hall, and now, re-salvaging what they can of their salvaged Katrina possessions since the Sewerage and Water Board can’t handle a little rain.

A friend of mine was flooded again:

“The worst part about it, this is the stuff that survived,” said Steve Quick, who had just returned from school at Washington University in St. Louis to visit his girlfriend for the holidays.

Quick sorted through soggy pictures, stuffed animals and books, which he laid out to dry in the front room of his girlfriend’s apartment, which is still being renovated. His girlfriend, who was at work during the flooding, lives in a FEMA trailer next to the house.

I waded into River Road — ironically, in front of the Corps of Engineers office building — to push two flooded cars off of the street. As I was helping one driver blow water out of her engine block, I heard a loud thud as a driver trying to get out of the floodwater in a Toyota compact found a curb instead of a driveway. When he quickly jumped out of the car to examine the fabric burn on his forearm, I realized the smoke pouring out of the passenger cabin was coming from the deployed airbag.

Times-Picayune photos here, here, and here.

It seems the problem was an electrical outage at Pumping Station No. 6, which would have slowed drainage throughout a huge swath of Uptown, Broadmoor, Carrollton, Jefferson, and Old Metairie, and silt-clogged pipes from Katrina flooding which FEMA still hasn’t paid to get cleaned.

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I did find it interesting that the TP reporters caught up with Joe Sullivan, the general superintendent for the Sewerage and Water Board, even though he was on vacation. Sullivan couldn’t say how long the electrical outage at station 6 lasted, because of course, he was on vacation. So who’s in charge when Sullivan’s on vacation?

I’m also wondering why, if the city has so far had to pay for the cleanup of those drainage pipes — which were inundated by a disaster caused by the federal government — why isn’t Mayor Unseen Ray Nagin broadcasting this vital infrastructure project through a megaphone every day?

I find it difficult to imagine how four inches of water could cause so much destruction. I’m not convinced that The Times-Picayune got to the bottom of the problem, but Matt McBride has additional insights which, as always, merit attention. Here is blogging at it’s best — I mean, who has time to go around town in the middle of a rain storm to inspect the pumping stations (compare Matt’s report to the AP report in The Washington Post for an example of how media democracy is often far superior to corporate media). Good work Matt! Once again, New Orleans citizens are doing it for themselves!

One last item before I depart from this post. For those of us wondering whether or not citizens have power over local broadcasters, and can get them to serve the community better, Madison, Wisconsin has an answer.

Griper News is reporting that protestors forced Clear Channel to keep the Air America format on Madison’s 92.1 FM. There’s been quite a bit of discussion about Madison’s struggle in the comments to a recent PGR post, “Raise the volume: Raze corporate media.” The problem there was similar to the problem here in New Orleans — the only difference here is that the corporate villain is Entercom.

Just three days after the Democrats won control of Congress, Clear Channel announced that it was going to kill the progressive Air America format in Madison. In New Orleans, Entercom didn’t wait to announce the change — they just did it, two days after the election. Entercom is now re-running the same content on 1350 AM that it simultaneously broadcasts on two other stations, 870 AM and 105.3 FM. How hoarding three licenses to broadcast the same content in any way serves the community isn’t just a rhetorical question. It demands an answer by Entercom executives, and we citizens should demand public hearings and an FCC investigation.

Incidentally, Entercom used the same excuse that Clear Channel used. They both said that the Air America format had bad ratings and wasn’t getting any advertisers. The truth is, they never had a dedicated sales staff to acquire advertisers, and they never promoted the format.

Maybe John Nichols of The Nation will now turn his attention from Madison’s fight, to give us a hand in fighting New Orleans’ corporate media villains. Not only should we demand an alternative to the ignorant rants streaming from 690 AM, 870 AM, 105.3 FM, 1350 AM, and 99.5 FM, but the community should be able to operate its own radio station, sharing the information we need to make our neighborhoods safe places to live in again.

Imagine if Matt McBride had his own radio show!

Related:

Metroblogging New Orleans — Matt McBride: The Station Pump Master

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8 Responses to “Merry Katrina Christmas, 2006”

  1. Matt said

    Thanks for the kind words. It’s very much appreciated.

  2. F P said

    You have to check out these eerie Hitler-Bush parallels from Thomas Hartmann who happens to also be the most listened to radio talk host in the entire Seattle area.Published on Sunday, March 16, 2003 by CommonDreams.org When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History by Thom Hartmann The 70th anniversary wasn’t noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago – February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world. …….. reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state – and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he’d joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones. Continued…

    Or better Yet, Listen to the Radio version at this link, it starts 3 minutes 40 seconds in so just slide the little bar over to skip the intros. You will need to hit the little green button with and arrow on it to start it. This version is much better, it has original Hitler recordings on it to help illustrate. Trust me, I am confident you will like it.

  3. rickbrah said

    hey man glad your blogging again. great link to yesterdays flood. did you see your dollah’ bill grapic on shane warners wist blog?
    at least they didnt fuzz out the pgr.com . hopefully it will lead to more hits to you and other nola bloggers. happy holidays friend.

  4. Share Warner? Phht! What a major ignorant a-hole — but no worse than any of the other ignorant a-holes on WIST. I hope his fans come around for a visit if only to read about my contempt for Shane Warner. Last I heard him talk about the issue, he was blaming Orleans voters for getting Dollar Bill re-elected, when it was his fans in Jefferson Parish who did it. OF course, he got his facts wrong again — no surprise — by crediting someone else for the artwork.

  5. rickbrah said

    re: shane warner

    when you make kairie johnson sound cool you know you suck.

    sounds like you are more of a morning radio listener. if you are up at night there is a guy named deke on wwl who i really like.

    i allways thought he was a one trick pony before the storm and he is an aquired taste.

    he is fair and balanced (sorry i know that brings fox news cringes)
    plus he is straight up louisiana.

    check him out a few times and i think you will like him.

    along with hokie and jim during a saints game thats pretty much it for local radio

  6. rickbrah said

    just read your contempt for shane warner link.

    i think spud needs an intervention to curb his weierd tourettes cartoon voice .

    it’s for sure he needs help with this. maybe slidell shutter shop and the no smoking laser sponser can help.

  7. F P said

    http://ltradio.blogspot.com/2006/12/disenfranchised-radio-listeners.html

    Disenfranchised radio listeners increase grassroots efforts

    A grassroots swelling of Clear Channel-owned WXXM/Madison listeners succeeded last week when station management reversed a decision to flip the station’s format to all-sports. This has obviously inspired other groups in similar situations to start up their own efforts to save their favorite stations.

    After a few weeks of speculation, Boston’s Clear Channel-owned liberal talk simulcast of WKOX and WXKS changed formats last Thursday to a Spanish-language tropical music format as “Rumba 1200”. A group of livid listeners to “Boston’s Progressive Talk” took action, setting up a Yahoo! group and a website, with the goal of returning the talk programming to local airwaves.

    And in Columbus, where another Clear Channel-owned station, WTPG, plans to drop liberal talk in favor of shows from Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Dave Ramsey and others, listeners have begun taking action as well, with a website, petition and Yahoo! group already established.

    Grassroots support for the format is nothing new. A group of listeners in Portland, ME banded together two years ago to help save WLVP, which was planning a flip to ESPN Radio. The station’s owners, Nassau Broadcasting, changed their minds and kept the format, which carried mostly shows from Air America Radio. Since then, other listener efforts helped bring the format to markets such as St. Louis, Iowa City (albeit briefly), and New Orleans. A dedicated effort helped bring the format back to Phoenix, a mere few weeks after being dropped following the sale of KXXT, and following the demise of liberal talk stations in Dallas, Missoula and Atlanta, listener-supported movements sprung up to help bring liberal talk back to the local airwaves. A petition with over 18,000 names on it obviously helped get Mike Malloy’s show back on the air after its much-criticized cancellation by Air America.

    Fans of liberal talk obviously took a cue from television fans who rallied in years past to help save shows such as “Star Trek”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Due South”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Arrested Development”, “Stargate: SG1”, and even the current “Studio 60”, among others.

    Will it all succeed? Who knows? But doing nothing certainly won’t work. LTR wishes all the supporters the best of luck in their efforts, and of you can keep up with developments on their sites and, of course, here.

  8. […] Related: Merry Katrina Christmas, 2006 […]

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