Saturday, September 10, 2005

Walking Out Of New Orleans


Just a few minutes ago I was driving from Raleigh to Chapel Hill and listening to our local NPR station, WUNC.org. Today's This American Life on NPR was titled "After The Flood". In the first half, they had the blow-by-blow interview with the EMTs who were shot at by the racist, elitist "West Bank" police from Gretna who were preventing tourists and locals from evacuating, even passing through their pretty little all-White Republican gated neighborhood - the story I commented on here.

The radio interview brings out even more details. It made me seeth with anger. At the half-hour point, when the story ended, they put on Fats Domino's version of "Walking to New Orleans" - I almost cried. I always loved that song. I wore out the Fats Domino Greatest Hits LP when I was a kid by playing it too many millions of times. But what could a kiddo in Belgrade know about New Orleans? It was just a really cool song to me. But this week, the song also acquired an added meaning.

The next segment was perhaps even more moving. An 18-year old, so mature, so eloquent, told her story. She hallucinated about water-bottles. She said [paraphrase] "is it a crime being poor, with the punishment being death?". She said:"When 9/11 happened it was bad. Terrorists hit us. It is no surprise that the whole world was with us. But this is much worse than 9/11. It was not the terrorists - it was our own givernment who betrayed its own people".

In some areas, This American Life gets repeated on Sunday so try to catch it tomorrow. Or just splurge $13 on the CD. It is the most poignant document of what happened last week that I have heard or seen anywhere.

Update:
Here is a response of the authors to the Wingnut criticisms they got since their article was published, circulated by bloggers (including me), and aired on NPR.

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