Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Princess Katrina

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I wanted to post a video of me reading my poem Princess Katrina. I am posting it a day early because the winds are picking up and it looks like my power may go out from Hurricane Isaac. This poem, which focuses on social class and poverty, is still poignant seven years later on the eve of another hurricane’s landfall.

I have been watching Hurricane Isaac coverage for days on the television. I have listened to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's live press conferences. There has not been one mention on the television of an open shelter in the city of New Orleans. Whereas, officials from adjoining parishes and Mississippi are bragging during press conferences about their increased shelter capacity—a lesson learned from Katrina. Moreover, it has been widely televised that two large New Orleans public shelters available pre-Katrina and during Katrina will be closed (Convention Center and Superdome). Additionally, as I have surfed all the local television networks for days, there has been no mention of any means or plans to transport anyone out of the city. So, if you see buses on CNN lined up to transport New Orleanians out of the city—it is a publicity stunt.

In a live local television interview today, an official from Second Harvest Food Bank effusively discussed the readiness of their organization. I believe this organization does great good for the area. However, this representative focused on how people can donate food and volunteer time, not how those in need can receive the food. Again, here is a broken link in the system. Poor people without internet access who only have antenna television are about to be cut off from the world by a power outage due to a hurricane. They need specific information and locations where they can find food and help during and in the aftermath of these disasters.

Lastly, many people in this poverty stricken area do not have automobiles to evacuate, nor the $700 to $2000 needed to evacuate. Do you have money for a 5-day vacation right now? Maybe you do. However, many people are living paycheck to paycheck in this economy. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and concerns as Isaac strengthens. Let’s turn our attention to the broken infrastructure that makes these storms so scary.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent point about how citizens of New Orleans without any connection outside their home (internet, television, radio) will be disconnected from information which can improve their situation during the storm and/or prove life saving. I wish this city and parish were more proactive! You think they would be; nevertheless, each year there are excellent points made from folks like yourself.

    Your poem about Katrina is one of my favorite, but it is the book's dedication that has always been one of my most favorite items you've written and it also applies to how you ended this entry: broken infrastructure that makes these storms so scary =
    "Thank God you weren't human
    capable of
    looking away from poverty
    secluding the most vulnerable"

    Wishing you the best through Isaac!


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