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The Katrina Myth

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

...the truth about a thoroughly unnatural disaster

Please watch, rate, and share this very important, factual video.

For so long I have been saying much of this to people. I have argued that the irritation many Americans have about giving aid to "just rebuild a city that is below sea level" is misinformed and wrong; most of the city is NOT below sea level.

Furthermore, the idea that rebuilding NOLA is a waste is just plain ignorance and couldn't be more erroneous. Our New Orleans boasts an international airport and is the location of the one of the most important waterways and ports in the world. It is integral to the United States as just about anything that comes into this country via ship begins its journey into the U.S. from the Port of New Orleans.

That doesn't even begin to cover the musical, artistic, literary, and all around rich cultural atmosphere that has inspired and spawned countless artists, architects, writers, musicians, etc.

To say that New Orleans is not important - nay, integral - to this country simply could not be further from the truth.

The truth is - and many people throughout this country do not realize - that it was not Hurricane Katrina (only a Cat 3 at landfall in the city, causing mostly wind damage) that drowned New Orleans - it was the failings of the levee systems, which were the failings of the Army Corp of Engineers. Nature did not wreck havoc on this city and kill thousands - our government and the Corps did.

Please watch this video to learn more and help spread the truth.

You can also visit levees.org for more information and read up on the "Katrina whistle-blower" Professor Ivor van Heerden, the disaster-science expert who was fired from Louisiana State University (LSU) for speaking out against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their responsibility in the post-Katrina flooding that nearly destroyed New Orleans and killed thousands.

Also, for more fact-based information debunking many of the commonly-held myths, misinformation, and careless ignorance that is often bantered about concerning New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and the tragic events that unfolded in the hours after the levees broke and our beloved city drowned, I point you to an October 2005 post of my own.  In George Carlin Isn't This Ignorant, I minced few words as I - my wounds still fresh and raw  - took on a particularly nasty email that was making its way around inboxes at the time.

Whatever you do, please continue to learn more and educate others about what happened to New Orleans due to the failings of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  As the video above states, there are 120 levees in 28 states that may be vulnerable; sadly, what happened here could happen elsewhere, too.  That is why getting the truth out and seeing justice done is so very important.

Thank you.

Local Charms Help Support Local Community

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Earlier this month, my friend Emily and I traveled down to New Orleans and stumbled upon this charming little jewelry store called Isabella's Fairy Dust (Yelp review) located at 614 Royal Street in the French Quarter.  It was not only the dazzling array of lovely, unique, and simply beautiful "jewelry, masks, stained glass, kaleidoscopes, fairies, and angels" that had us so captivated, but the fact that every piece in the store had been crafted by local artisans.

Though the media gives mostly encouraging reports coming out of New Orleans and it's slowly - but surely - recovering economy, the truth is that the Crescent City and its multitude of talented artists are still struggling.  The shopkeepers of Isabella's told us that stores around the French Quarter - even up and down the daytime "walking mall" of Royal Street with its chic boutiques and gilded antique stores - were closing up one by one.  It is a sad but all too true reality.

That is why it is so very important for locals, visitors, day-trippers, tourists, and/or vacationers to help support this most basic fabric of New Orleans's culture by supporting local artists and the shops that sale their wares.

If you dine in the city, be sure to do so at a locally-owned restaurant such as the Clover Grill (900 Bourbon), China Moon Wok (800 St. Ann), Coop's Place (1109 Decatur), Mona Lisa's (1212 Royal) or Angelli (Decatur at Governor Nicholls).  You can get McDonald's and Subway anywhere and any day.

If you need a grocery-type item, skip Walgreens and take your business to one of the Quarter's quaint, time-worn stores like the Royal Street Grocery & Deli (801 Royal), Central Grocery (923 Decatur),  Matassa's Market (1001 Dauphine) or, a personal favorite, the Verti Marte (1201 Royal).  Though the prices may be a bit higher, the atmosphere of these old and friendly groceries and the quality of local produce more than make up for it; plus you have the satisfaction of knowing your money went to help a community in need rather than a giant, nameless corporation.

If you shop, be sure to visit the artists in Jackson Square as well as the myriad of shops lining the streets of the French Quarter; be on the lookout for locally hand-crafted items.  Every such purchase that you make while visiting New Orleans helps this community to rebuild, and every penny that goes back into the hands of it's multicultural, multi-talented, and colorful citizenry helps New Orleans remain the magical, eccentric place that so many treasure. (See FrenchQuarter.com's Shopping page for where to find shops by item, great articles on the latest shopping trends & shop happenings, and lots more.)

You can also visit the New Orleans/French Quarter page at Wikitravel for listings and descriptions of more locally-owned businesses and eateries that are worth a visit.

Supporting shops like Isabella's Fairy Dust, with its simply breathtaking pieces and friendly, local ownership boasting wares from area artisans, goes to the very heart of bringing New Orleans - and its residents - back to life.  I encourage you to visit this charming little jewelry shop - I simply don't have words to describe the many beautiful baubles and precious pieces we saw there; it's something you must see for yourself - and others like it to help support this striving community and the people who make it so great.

Gustav Churns Towards Us as Cat 3 Hurricane

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

If you look at the NEXRAD radar at Weather Underground (best weather site online, imo), you can see that we're just starting to see bands of rain - the outlying strips of Gustav making itself known - coming ashore.

Here in Baton Rouge, the weather is calm...very cloudy, slightly dark, and with intermittent sprinkles.  I started my first 12-hour shift about 30 minutes ago, and traffic was light getting here - though there were a lot of people in store parking lots making last minute supply stops.

There's not really any wind, except a weird breeze that you barely feel - otherwise the air - to me, at least - has this "pregnant" feel to it, a certain electricity as well...something is coming, and that much is obvious.

It makes me wonder how my grandfather's family knew a hurricane was on its way.  Living at a time when there was no television, and quite possibly not a radio they could afford on their small, farm home, they had to judge the threat of such a storm coming by changes in nature around them, and the weather itself.  I wonder what signs someone such as my great-grandfather, and his father before him, looked to as portents that a hurricane was eminent.

I've no word on how the evacuations are going in New Orleans, though something I read online said that they were more than 500 buses short.  I don't know if that's true or not, but it is a sobering thought.

I'll update as more happens...for now it's the "calm before the storm".  We should start seeing rain and some wind as the hours pass, but I don't expect to start seeing any hurricane-type activity until more into Monday itself.  I'll be off at 6am, and hope it isn't storming too badly for that early morning drive home.

Gay Marriage Causes Cat 5 Hurricane, News at 11

Wednesday, May 5th, 2004

If you know little about the southern state of Louisiana, other than your exposure to it from me here, you might believe it to be teeming with open-minded, rather free-thinking, individuals. The truth is, you'd be very, very wrong.

While not sitting exactly inside of the "Bible-belt", Louisiana is still, for all intents and purposes, a largely fanatical Christian state and (barring New Orleans, of course) very conservative. Baton Rouge itself, where I live, is one tight-ass city. Even those just from New Orleans come and are shocked at the puritan, conventional ways of the common folk.

That said, it should come as no surprise to find out where the majority of Louisianians stand on the issue of gay marriage. This article appeared in yesterdays The Advocate (the main newspaper for south Louisiana):

Group Urges Ban on Same Sex Marriages

A group of Protestant ministers, a Roman Catholic priest and a handful of legislators told a committee room overflowing with supporters Monday that Louisiana needs a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

One of three bills in the Legislature to create that amendment is up for debate today in the Senate Judiciary A committee.

The group also opposes four pending bills that it deems pro-homosexuality.

"Sodomites have a right to marry, just not to one another," Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in New Orleans told the cheering crowd at the State Capitol.

Louisiana law already allows marriage only between a man and woman, and Louisiana does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

The bill being heard today would lock traditional marriage into the state constitution, making the law harder to change in the future.

According to Shanks, God views gay marriage as an abomination and, unless Louisiana bans it stronger, God might visit a calamity on the state worthy of Noah.

"One Category 5 hurricane coming up the river would take care of all Sodomite marriages -- along with ours and our churches'," he said.

The group -- which has no name -- was formed by Apostle Willie Wooten of Gideon Fellowship in New Orleans, said organizer Leslie Ellison. "It's not really an organization. Apostle Wooten led the charge," Ellison said.

The group -- ministers at the committee room's dais and people in the audience -- went to the Capitol to lobby legislators on the proposed amendment and other bills, Ellison said.

Supporters filled the 100 seats in the hearing room, crowded the aisles and clogged the hallway. House officials opened another hearing room with an audio-video feed to handle the overflow.

"We call on our lawmakers -- and especially the Black Caucus members -- to be strong and courageous as you give priority to this matter and do all that is in your power to protect historic marriage," Wooten said.

Disasters "heaped upon" Louisiana's black community occur because "a lot of our legislators are not on the side of God and His moral laws," Wooten said.

The four bills Wooten fingered for opposition, because he said they promote homosexuality, are all filed by black legislators.

  • Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, has Senate Bill 217 on granting sick leave. It would define a domestic partner as a spouse.
  • Sen. Paulette Irons, D-New Orleans, has Senate Bill 700 on making public schools create policies on bullying. The bill, Wooten said, would force schools to teach tolerance of homosexuality.
  • Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, filed House Bill 845, which would prohibit any discrimination based on sexual orientation. Wooten said it would make being homosexual a civil right.
  • Rep. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, has House Bill 1229, which would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"My bill makes sense," said Murray, who described himself as a practicing Christian active in his church.

"The Christianity I practices teaches that you should respect people," Murray said. He said his bill does nothing but bar discrimination against people who are gay.

Wooten disagreed.

"It is not a civil-rights issue. It is not an issue of discrimination. It is a moral issue," Wooten said.

The state needs to be protected from "counterfeit" marriages that will devalue other, traditional marriages, he said.

Homosexual marriage is contrary to Scripture, said the Rev. William Maestri, a priest with the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

"If you eliminate the uniqueness of marriage, you destroy it," said the Rev. Larry Bizette of the Baton Rouge Christian Center Church.

Because voters must approve it, "the constitutional amendment will allow the people of the state of Louisiana to define what marriage is," said Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum.

The measure requires approval of two thirds of the House and Senate and majority approval by voters this fall.

One legislator, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, told the crowd that protecting traditional marriage in the state's constitution is vital.

A recent court decision in Massachusetts and actions by the "rogue" mayor of San Francisco to sanction same-sex marriages could force the state to accept those marriages, he said.

Scalise is one of the sponsors of another constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

We're working with some real geniuses here, folks.

My favorite line, also that of my gay friends that have read this bilge, is that a major storm will come and wipe out the state if gays are allowed to marry. That's right, their ever-loving and I'm-so-damn-peaceful-I-have-a-dove-for-one-of-my-symbols God is going to rain down a Category 5 Hurricane on Louisiana if gays are allowed to marry. Makes perfect sense to me.

And I'm angered, but not surprised, by this charming line:

...has Senate Bill 700 on making public schools create policies on bullying. The bill, Wooten said, would force schools to teach tolerance of homosexuality.

Oh for fuck's sake, let's not do that. Let's teach children that it's a-okay to beat up anyone in school they think might be gay. All the world needs is a few more horrible Matthew Shepard incidents; it's ok to bully and hurt gay people because "God doesn't like them". Yes, that's what I'd want to teach MY children. I thought Jesus taught to love everyone - even those you consider your enemies.

And are we living in the Middle Ages again? Make it okay to fire someone because of their sexual preference?? "Yes, sorry, Frank, you're the best employee we've got, you work your ass off, meet all deadlines and get along with everyone here at the office. But we found out you're gay, so we're going to have to let you go. You understand." Give me a fucking break.

Their big main gripe is, as always, about Sodom. Supposedly (though it never officially says so), the Sodomites were gay - so gay people today are sodomites; evil as can be. So what about lesbians? I always wondered...does God like lesbians, then?

I'm convinced that "Apostle Willie Wooten", leader of some anonymous "group", is nothing but a fucking crock anyway, but still. All of these other somewhat valid religious leaders going to rally against equality and the entire love-everyone concept fills me with anger, and shame for my home state.

God is Love they always like to say, but he HATES gay people. Where in the love is there room for hate? Why does God hate gay people? I've read, in one of those infamous Chick Tracts (my version - Trick Tracts) that sodomy was the only sin God ever wiped out an entire city for. Excuse me, didn't the old bastard wipe out the entire world once because everyone was so cruel and unloving? Yeah, thought so. I can't believe in a homophobic God, I'm sorry. God is so above our human foibles and worries and judgements it's not even funny. At one time, people read into the Bible and believed that God created black people to be slaves - it didn't make it TRUE or RIGHT! Chew on that one for a bit.

We can't give them equal rights because they are different - they are gay and we are not. Isn't the entire foundation of the United States equality for all? But still, blacks and women had to fight for their rights, and now, so do gay people. Want to hear the argument I always hear to that statement? "It's different - women can't help being female, and blacks can't change their skin color. They were born that way. Gay people choose to be gay." Oh, really? And you know this for a fact? Okay then, let's play a little game, Conservative Homophobe, I want you, right now, to choose to be attracted to, and able to have a relationship with, someone of the same sex. Come on, right now, do it. If it's so easy to just "not be gay", then try it. Do you choose to be straight?! No, you were born that way. So what's the fucking difference, you morons?

The whole mess makes me sick - it's so unfair and completely not right on so many different levels. I've never seen the Christian church do much of anything good, and this just furthers that stance. Burn the witches, strike down the non-conformists, stone the New Age shops, stamp out the gays. Welcome to the cult of Christ - believe or be damned.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go board up my windows for that Category 5 hurricane that is going to beat down on my bi-sexual self's house while I sit in a tub full of ice preparing for my downward descent into hell because I hang out with and support all these sodomites. Because, remember kiddies, "Sodomites have a right to marry - just not to one another."