Tag: New Orleans

This should scare the crap out of you

There’s really nothing I can say to comment on this.   You just have to read it.  

It happened in America: Katrina’s secret jail

When the storm hit, Zeitoun stayed, to protect his house, help friends and clients, and watch over properties he and Kathy owned: their office building and houses bought as investments. Kathy and their four children evacuated to Baton Rouge.

Zeitoun weathered the storm’s harrowing landfall, and ended up in a tent on his house’s roof. He dug a secondhand canoe out of the garage and began paddling around, seeing how he could help. He spent the first days aiding neighbors and strangers, saving the life of at least one person trapped in her house, and even feeding stranded dogs.

Then the standing feet of water became toxic with organic material and spilled pollutants, his meetings with people became more fraught and weird, he saw his first body and his first criminal entrepreneurs, and decided it was time to go. And that’s when the unnatural disaster happened.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005, armed and badged black-uniformed men and a tall woman in a power boat appeared at the door of one of his properties that he, his tenant, and two others were using as a meeting place because it still had a working phone. Zeitoun was in the middle of a call with his brother Ahmad, a ship captain, calling from Spain to repeat his pleas to Zeitoun to leave town.

With no questions asked and no questions allowed, Zeitoun and the others were handcuffed and shackled at automatic weapon-point, dropped into the boat, and taken away; the officers didn’t secure the house or treat it as a crime scene and left it unlocked, which meant it was eventually completely stripped and looted.

Zeitoun documents a little-known fact: the existence of “Camp Greyhound,” an outdoor jail built in New Orleans’ central bus station within hours of the hurricane’s landfall at the behest of the federal Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. Similar to Guantanamo Bay, Camp Greyhound (the guards’ name for it) was a kennel, runs of wire fencing and concrete flooring; there was nothing to sit or sleep on, and toilet facilities were portables outside the enclosures. Power was provided by a running diesel locomotive parked within yards of the cages, providing a continuous deafening hum and diesel pall.

Zeitoun was not formally charged, was not read Miranda rights, was not allowed a phone call. He was physically and verbally abused, pepper sprayed, strip-and body-cavity searched; and was accused of being a “terrorist” during his processing at the “camp.” The details of his captivity only become increasingly outrageous.

Fellow prisoners he was able to talk to included a New Orleans firefighter ordered to stay in the city to work who was arrested in his own yard, and a Houston sanitation worker whose company contracted to help in the cleanup effort – arrested wearing his work uniform, possessing ID, and with the keys to his garbage truck in his hand.

Prisoners included Marlene Maten, 73-year-old diabetic deaconess at Resurrection Mission Baptist Church, arrested as she carried a package of sausages from a cooler in her car, parked beside the hotel to which she was returning.

Marlene, along with Zeitoun and hundreds of others from Camp Greyhound, ended up at maximum security Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, in St. Gabriel, La., 70 miles from New Orleans. They were FEMA prisoners: FEMA rented state prison space and Camp Greyhound transfers were, according to prison staff, “FEMA’s problem.” Again: transferred with no charges, no information, no opportunity to make a phone call or talk to a lawyer.

Thanks to a volunteer prison missionary who agreed to call Kathy, she found out Zeitoun was alive. (His family had assumed him dead once contact was broken for weeks.) She immediately hired a lawyer, who found out there would finally be a hearing on Zeitoun’s “case.” However, when Kathy contacted the Hunt center to find out where the hearing would be held, she was told that location, and whether Zeitoun was even at the prison, was “private information.”

Released from Hunt on Sept. 29, 2005 – after paying a $75,000 bail – Zeitoun was lucky, compared with the three men he was arrested with. Todd, Nasser and Ronnie spent, respectively, five months, six months and eight months in maximum security Hunt prison. All charges against all of them were dropped.

I’m Depressed on This Anniversary…

I should be feeling better–after all, Obama did commemorate Katrina and the flood in his radio address this morning. To his credit he also brought up levees and coastal restoration. But only time will tell if these words will be backed up by action or be mere empty words.

I have been upset and feel as if I’m almost physically ill. I cannot help but flash back, see the scenes of rescues and of the afflicted at the Superdome and the Convention Center and think of how so many suffered during Katrina and the federal flood and are still suffering. And I can’t help but wonder if Obama really cares about New Orleans. Because when I remember what happened during the flood and Katrina which turned the lives of so many upside down and think about the fact that Obama won’t be going there (which he wasn’t going to do anyway even if Ted Kennedy hadn’t passed) I’m depressed.

And others are also turned off by the fact that Obama has paid so little attention to Louisiana and her problems and those of her neighbors in the Gulf Region–a wound which Obama’s absence from Katrina observances has rubbed salt into. More below the fold…

Friday Night at 8: Loose Threads


I’m smarter than President Obama!  Really.  It’s true.

I’ll bet he can’t write beat poetry worth shit.

He has not memorized every single story in Nathan Ausubel’s “Jewish Wit & Wisdom.”  And let me tell you, that’s a LOT of stories, like hundreds and hundreds of them!

Yeah, I’m smarter than President Obama.

I’ll bet he doesn’t have a clue as to how the internet has expanded the political consciousness of certain DFH’s and activists of all kinds who have leaped into the new paradigms like fearless parachute divers.

Come to think of it, THEY’RE smarter than President Obama, too!

Ted Kennedy and NOLA

Among all of his other accomplishments, Ted Kennedy can be remembered since Katrina and the federal flood happened as a legislator who proactively did what he could to help New Orleans’ and the rest of the Gulf Region’s people after the catastrophe.  

NOLA Looks As If McCain Were President

Where are the hope and change in New Orleans? When Barack Obama was a presidential candidate, he promised that

he would “keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast” and take steps to prevent failures in emergency planning and response seen during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Specifically, Obama would ensure New Orleans has a levee and pumping system to protect the city against a 100-year storm by 2011, free up rebuilding funds that had been allocated but not released and to rebuild hospitals and schools.

Naked Soul Plea

8-29-05 Remember

katrina art tree

We are not ok

katrina art



Rising Tide 4


Show us you got some soul and come to New Orleans for the Katrina Anniversary, show us you understand and know how to gain strength from us so that everyone else will know they can also gain strength from us we are a part of America.

Not just to remember but to remember in the way New Orleans should be remembered, deserves to be remembered, deserves to be remembered, deserves to be remembered, as you would remember someone you loved being wronged and because you loved them you’d need to help them heal, help them heal, and it would heal you too

America’s soul is locked up by some big ogre, like fairy tale princess chained to rocks with big orcs and one eyed monsters and she cries out so the hero must break those chains, America’s soul cries out and we are the heroes who will break those chains if you only remember us, remember us as we deserve to be remembered, as a loved one, as part of your family.

Remember the dead, remember the living, remember the kindness and the cruelty, the joy and pain, remember the great city of New Orleans and care as she rises up again with every fiber of her being, not just a geography of land and water but a people and a culture and not let her be invisible from the rest of her neighbors, remember the family crying around the world for the great city of New Orleans, remember her as she deserves to be remembered.

That’s what an anniversary is for.  Come to New Orleans, please.  It would be good for all our souls.

Why Obama Should Be in NOLA on Katrina Anniversary

The deathers are all worried about how old folks will be treated under Democratic health care legislation.

Perhaps they have forgotten how old folks were treated under Republican rule:


How many old folks died because our federal government saw no role to play in protecting and caring for its citizens?

See, the trouble with not looking back is that we don’t remember what we ought to remember.

Katrina is something to remember.  Always.  The federal flood, they call it on the NOLA blogs.  The federal flood because the Army Corps of Engineers cut corners and didn’t make the levees right.  The federal flood because heckuva job Brownie and Bush’s happy cronies didn’t give a shit about the folks suffering but only cared about going to the cash register to hear the “ca-ching” that meant their usual profit off of human suffering.  Blackwater profited.  Halliburton profited.  A whole lot of Republicans profited.

Friday Night at 8: Cool Shades

The only way to view the political circus nowadays is to put your shades on first.



Don’t want anyone to recognize me!

My mama told me to stay out of places like that.

And it’s worse than she said!

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All I can say is it’s a damned good thing we didn’t get health care legislation passed before the August break!  Look what we would have missed!

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How can something so utterly serious be impossible to take seriously?

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The circus has come to town ………………………… hall.

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My political commentary for the week.  It’s fucking Friday and I’m gonna put on my cool shades and go prowling down some particularly fine back alleys.  Hope all is well with Dharmaniacs everywhere and Happy Weekend!

Some music to prowl by …

… it’s coming up to that time of year again.

From YouTuber maedgen’s notes on this tune:

Filmed in mid-2005, this is a glimpse into life on the French Quarter’s lower Decatur Street before Hurricane Katrina.

Originally written by Ray Davies of the Kinks, this track is performed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Clint Maedgen on vocals with a guest appearance by the New Orleans Bingo! Show in the video.

On Making Money, Or, Art Can Help New Orleans

The long, lazy days of summer are upon us, and it’s time to have a little fun-but it’s also a great opportunity to volunteer a bit of spare time for a good cause.

So imagine how cool it would be if you could combine the two…and even better, do it in a way that doesn’t take a bite out of your wallet…and even better yet, if it was something you and the kids could do together.

Imagine no more, because it has been done; which is why today we are going to be talking about lead in the soil of New Orleans, Operation Paydirt…and Fundred Dollar Bills.



For those of you who have followed New Orleans political events on the many local blogs that have sprung up since Katrina, this story brings certain feelings:

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and his wife have been quarantined in China after a passenger on their flight exhibited flu-like symptoms.

From E at We Could Be Famous:

Totally surreal.

Did Mr. Nagin name an acting mayor before his journey? Would it be the role of City Council to appoint one in the event he did not? Is the Mayor going to be fit to lead if he now must face down this mutant cyborg super flu?

This is actually one of the most graceful Nagin resignation scenarios out there.

Drink fluids.

“The Old Man and the Storm”

Last night, 1-02-009, on the PBS News Hour they held a discussion with “Frontline” correspondent and filmmaker June Cross who describes her documentary “The Old Man and the Storm” which will air on PBS’s “Frontline” on Jan. 6th, New Orleans: Three Years After Katrina.

This is a timely documentary more than three years after Katrina and especially as to the way the Government has been handling that compared to the extremely quick bailouts of the financial institutions in the present economic collapse and at other times when the corporate elite demanded their political friends come to their aid. There are three short video’s at the ‘Frontline’ site that I’m embedding below, the third one touches on just that, especially as to the promises made by the President bush and other Government Officials and to the rapidly failing ‘free market’ ‘trickle down’ economic policy of the GOP.

Let’s ask Obama to have New Orleans musicians play at the Inaugural

(NOTE: This diary was originally posted on Daily Kos by azureblue, a musician who got his start in New Orleans. Per a request he made to readers in a comment under that diary, I am crossposting it here–because he and I feel this is an idea that needs as much attention and exposure as possible so hopefully Obama will pick up on it.)

The title says it all, but this grew out of a discussion last night about Obama’s love for jazz, and the possibility of him having jazz players at the inauguration:

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