"Drove north all day Wednesday and Thursday, going further away every minute from my neighbors stranded on roofs, my home filling with water. Very hard. I cried often, tears coming down as I passed others on Interstate 75 and not even trying to wipe them off. I was in mourning, and wanted it to be public."
These were my words after leaving Memphis on August 31, 2005, heading on my way north.I remember that pain, thinking about all of the New Orleanians sitting on their hot roofs, with no water or food or shelter for days. When I came back in October, I was heavy hearted for a long, long time and still (like most of us) can slip back into it when certain memories come back or I see something that shows we have not left those days behind yet.
So, over 2 years later (December 20,2007), I am back in that moment of grief and anger at my government, with the reports of tasering and pepper spraying of citizens as they protested at City Hall today over the shocking demolitions of good housing when so many are in need.
The federal government will tell any media person that they have housing available; whether it is in the person's neighborhood, within the price range of their paycheck, or even half as well-built as Lafitte or St. Bernard is not important to the bureaucrats.
They just want prime land and will threaten our city's elected officials with anything to get it- not that they have to use threats because this administration is more than willing to hand the keys over without a qualm.
America has invaded my city today. They brought violent tactics, cordoned off City Hall and showed their terrifying federal power to a few hundred protesting citizens. They want that land, and we can drive to a reservation and ask any Native American what happens when the government wants the land. While we are at that reservation, we can look around at the substandard housing, high crime, and the poor pushed together in most undignified manner and see what this government leaves behind as a payment for taking land.
And when we leave that reservation and get back to New Orleans, we will enter it once again with that heavy heart, but a clear head for the work that is still needed to save for our city.