Butterfly Cauldron

Friday, August 18, 2006

Who needs water when you have Mardi Gras?

A year later, you'd think something as basic as water would be back online. A year seems long enough to get water, sewage and electricity work, at a bare minimum. Obviously, the city won't be back to full power in a year. There was way too much damage. But the basics? Come on. I'm begining to notice the similiarities between New Orleans and Iraq. No water? No lights? No sewage? People dying at an increased pace? National Guard troops roaming the streets? Temperatures over 100 degrees? Yeah...substitute swamps for sands and it's an almost familiar picture. Well, aside from the fact that our government is willing to spend whatever it takes on Iraq and can't seem to find the funds for New Orleans. Maybe our people are too brown?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The most-devastated section of the Lower Ninth Ward, a poor area that was torn apart by Hurricane Katrina and floodwaters, is still without drinking water nearly a year after the storm.

Following a meeting between residents and the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board on Thursday, community activists said there is no indication of when the problem will be solved.

“That was an utter waste of my time,” ACORN organizer Tanya Harris said moments after the meeting. “I wasn’t given any clear timeline, a damage assessment, a partial damage assessment, nothing concrete.”

Because of the extreme devastation in the area, crews have been unable to open major valves that would move water and reveal pipe leaks, said Tommie Vassel, the board’s president pro tempore.

Repairs also have been slow because it took weeks to pump the area dry after Katrina on Aug. 29 and again after Hurricane Rita on Sept. 24, Vassel said.

After the water was drained, much of the area was off-limits after lawsuits were filed to stop demolition of ruined houses. Now that homes are being razed, demolition crews have torn more pipes from the ground, contributing to the difficulty of pinpointing infrastructure problems, Vassel said.

Harris said the board told residents that crews have been working seven days a week in some sections to repair pipes, but she had never seen any workers while visiting her neighborhood daily.

Harris also was critical of the S&WB spending almost $200,000 to install underground leak-detection devices in the French Quarter, the Central Business District and the Warehouse District while work has lagged in the Lower Ninth Ward
“I understand that those areas are important to our city, but we are important to our city,” Harris said. “We are important people, and we count.”

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posted by Zan at 12:31 PM

2 Comments:

It is so typical of this cynical administration that it is the French Quarter and not the Ninth Ward that is getting help. If they can keep black citzens from returning to New Orleans, they can win more elections.

1:05 PM  

That's so very true. I cut them a bit of slack at first, since the French Quarter took the least amount of damage. It makes sense it was the easiest to get back online and well, it does bring in money and we need that. And since the majority of the city's residents didn't come back for months, okay. I can sorta see the reasoning behind getting the Quarter back up first. But...it's been a frigging YEAR. There's no excuse not to have made more progress. There's no excuse not to have the basic utilities back online for the city. I'd think that would be top priority.

I really think they're trying to rebuild New Orleans as a white-washed, generic city. Which is stupid, because then it won't be New Orleans and no one will want to come and then what have they earned?

7:10 AM  

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