Friday, September 11, 2009

Katrina in the Courts

This Times-Picayune article caught my eye because I happened to catch the story on Democracy Now last week during their Katrina anniversary special edition:

Investigation into Memorial deaths during Katrina to be reopened by Orleans Parish district attorney

I still have mixed feeling about the whole thing. While several of the allegations are, at the very least, disturbing, I feel like they're a little too ready to prosecute people who were themselves victims of a really hideous situation that should never have happened in the first place. People in situations like that (no power, hundred degree heat, round the clock shifts for days) are apt to do irrational things, in my opinion, especially when rescue doesn't appear to be coming. Heck, three days without power in New Orleans in August makes everyone lose it--it's like sitting in a sauna you can't get out of, you can't think or move or breathe. Who knows how many people perished after the levees broke while George Bush hemmed and hawed up on that hill. Honest to god, it just burns me up sometimes that the people who were really the architects of this whole tragedy, will never be held accountable for it. I'm not saying there shouldn't be an investigation, just something about the whole thing seems wrong somehow. On the other hand, I'm sure the families of the patients who died wouldn't be won over by my above argument and they certainly deserve their day in court. A mixed opinion, I know, but I told you my feelings on the subject weren't exactly clear.

Also, on a side note, is it me or is the Times-Picayune using the absolute worst photo of Leon Cannizzaro. Is that actually how he looks? And is that actually the newspaper's stock photo? Wow. Just... Wow.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Katrina Remembered and Cultural Collision @ NOMA

So a couple of things I checked out this week, both events hosted by the New Orleans Museum of Art located in City Park.

On Saturday we went to catch the tail end of one of the many Katrina Memorials and we managed to see Part 3 of Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke which was great. I'd only seen bits and pieces of it on TMN and it was a really moving experience to watch it in a theater full of people who have lived through it. There was a lot of laughter (and some tears) over things that I think someone who hasn't lived here wouldn't quite get. Part 3 contained shots of Bush's speech from Jackson Square which got a lot of anger from this particular audience. According to the documentary they got the electricity working to that part of the city just for the president's sound bite before shutting it off again... seriously. Bush may still have some fans in Texas but I don't think he'll be setting foot in Louisiana any time soon.

We also saw the museum's newest photography exhibit entitled Caring
that was quite lovely--shots of people, families, emotions--I really enjoyed the whole thing. The section of the exhibit dedicated to 'Disaster' contained many shots by local artists taken during and after the storm.

I'm not sure if there is anything I can say about Katrina that hasn't been said before and by people who have lived through it and been affected deeply by it. I just hope no one forgets about us down in New Orleans because nobody around here is able to forget. A lot of times it feels like everyone here has been through a war and is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder--people pick up the pieces but if you ask a resident if New Orleans has changed they'll always say yes in a sad sort of way.

Yesterday we were back at the museum to check out an event called Cultural Collision, sponsored by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. I wasn't sure what to expect but it turned out to be a really great time. Every theatre, museum, musical group and art gallery had a booth set up where they were handing out their season programs, coupons and freebies--this might not sound too exciting to you but I've found it practically impossible to find out about preforming arts going on in New Orleans since it's still a city that relies a lot upon word of mouth for its events.

I was shocked at the number of theatre and musical companies in the city that I had never even heard of before. It's so exciting to realize that there is a lot more going on than I had thought. RJ and I have already got our eye on tickets to The Producers, Wicked, November and Avenue Q (the total number of shows he's willing to see) and I am just dying to check out Grey Gardens, The Color Purple, Aida, I am My Own Wife, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, just to name a few. My year is totally looking up!... and my wallet is feeling a little on the light side :)

The festival was also a great chance to scope out some of the smaller museums in New Orleans and the French Quarter now that I'm considering archival work. There are some very interesting historical collections in town that I wouldn't mind exploring a little more.

Tomorrow I'm heading over to the Times-Picayune to fill out a job application--wish me luck!