Cider Press Hill

Time out

Saturday, 4:09 pm

By Kate





Gotta take a little time away from the blog. Or least away from the urge to say things that have already been said by those who say it far better. I am so discouraged and sad and angry.

I’ve reopened a blog of New Orleans photographs that I took while visiting in 2002. It may be an effort to cling to the past or, perhaps, it’s a forward view of what can be rebuilt. I realize, looking at the photographs again, that they paint a very small picture of New Orleans. They represent the sites tourists liked to snap. They don’t represent the real day to day life of probably the vast majority of the people who lived there. Nor do they record the inequities that were intentionally hidden from tourists. They do record a portion of our history that can’t be replaced, but must be preserved. If it’s still there and salvageable. It’s too early to think about that realistically, I suppose, but I’m sure that my grief at the destruction must be shared by millions of others. As well as the desire to raise New Orleans out the mud and breathe life back into it.


How could they?!

Saturday, 4:05 am

By Kate




partly cloudy

I happened to stumble over this and it left me stunned.

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans? (from the Red Cross website)

* Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

* The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

* The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.

* The Red Cross shares the nation’s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities and to focus all our efforts on our lifesaving mission of feeding and sheltering.

* The Red Cross does not conduct search and rescue operations. We are an organization of civilian volunteers and cannot get relief aid into any location until the local authorities say it is safe and provide us with security and access.

* The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown. We applaud this decision and believe it saved a significant number of lives.

* As the remaining people are evacuated from New Orleans, the most appropriate role for the Red Cross is to provide a safe place for people to stay and to see that their emergency needs are met. We are fully staffed and equipped to handle these individuals once they are evacuated.

So let me understand. LA Homeland Security will not allow the Red Cross into New Orleans to give aid to the people stranded at the SuperDome and Civic Center because it would discourage them from evacuating and encourage others to enter a drowned city where people are literally dying to get out? Like these people have a choice about hanging around the Civic Center and SuperDome since they have to wait...and wait...and wait...for days for buses to come get them. Five days later, people are dead and the bodies are piling up in the street around these two shelters, with more inside, but the Red Cross isn’t allowed in because it might encourage the people to stay? With the stench of dead bodies and raw sewage so strong that the National Guard troops are even gagging? It was a better plan to just let the weaker people die of thirst, heat, and exposure and hope the stronger ones would hold out?

Is someone insane?