Saturday, September 24, 2005

"This is turning into the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans"

The title of Naomi Klein's piece in the Guardian UK. She writes, "There is empty housing for the tens of thousands made homeless by Katrina - but the white elite have other plans." (This is a slightly different version than the piece in the Nation.)

In many ways Klein is right on mark with her assessment but/and she must know that this it's not only the white elite who have other plans. This investment in the raced classed cleansing of New Orleans cuts across race. "A few blocks from Mr. O'Dwyer, in an exclusive gated community known as Audubon Place, is the home of James Reiss, descendent of an old-line Uptown family. He fled Hurricane Katrina just before the storm and returned soon afterward by private helicopter. Mr. Reiss became wealthy as a supplier of electronic systems to shipbuilders, and he serves in Mayor Nagin's administration as chairman of the city's Regional Transit Authority. When New Orleans descended into a spiral of looting and anarchy, Mr. Reiss helicoptered in an Israeli security company to guard his Audubon Place house and those of his neighbors.

He says he has been in contact with about 40 other New Orleans business leaders since the storm. Tomorrow, he says, he and some of those leaders plan to be in Dallas, meeting with Mr. Nagin to begin mapping out a future for the city. [...] The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out." Read more.

Nagin reopens New Orleans to businesses despite the environmental hazards that we seem not to be hearing much about.


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