Friday, September 02, 2005

Hard times in the Big Easy

The sight of a major American city being washed away was striking and horrifying enough but that was nothing compared to the now-homeless people there pleading for help (food, shelter) on the news programs. The sight of people wading through disease-infested water, waving for helicopters on rooftops, sweltering in the heat with thousands of others inside stadiums with no electrical power, others walking for hours just to escape town is almost unbearable. Maybe we're wondering how this could happen in the most prosperous nation in the world but the sad fact is that some of the poorest counties in this country who were already barely surviving were hit the worst by this disaster. As I've argued with others, I do understand someone taking food or water to survive when there's no help coming otherwise (but taking electronics isn't only over the top but where are they going to use these things?)

News reports are already coming out (ABC did a great job with this) that there had been warnings for years that this kind of tragedy was on its way but ignored by the federal government. Molly Irvins' article A Flood of Bad Policies sums this up well: the gist of it is that when we look to sink all of our resources into Iraq, we neglect home and suffer for it accordingly.

Among the many missing were a number of notable musicians. Thankfully, Fats Domino has been found but there are mixed reports about the whereabouts of Alex Chilton (who stayed to ride out the storm), Allen Toussaint (possibly evacuated to the Superdome) and Irma Thomas (unknown). I hope they're alright. I hope everyone who survived the storm is alright.

I urge anybody reading this to donate to The American Red Cross to help the people in New Orleans. I know that there are a lot of benefit concerts that are coming up soon but the fact of the matter is that the people hit by this disaster cannot afford to wait any longer for help. Thanks in advance for anything you can do.


Blogger Perfect Sound Forever said...

Two updates. Jody Stephens of Big Star says: "Alex (Chilton) stayed in New Orleans during the hurricane. He was OK after the hurricane but hasn't been in touch with anyone that I know after the flooding began on Tuesday." Also, this website has some news from Irma Thomas herself.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Perfect Sound Forever said...

A few more updates. It's reported now that Allen Toussaint got out of New Orleans. Also good to hear that the Grammy people are helping out with donations through their Music Cares program. And finally a video of the day featuring a flustered Kanye West from a promo for a disaster benefit: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

10:01 AM  
Blogger Perfect Sound Forever said...

On the Sunday morning news programs, along with Michael Chertoff of Homeland Security defending his non-job, even Republicans were wringing their hands about the Feds' lack of response to the New Orleans disaster. The New York Daily News probably had the best editorial (Shame of A Nation) to sum up the feelings of so many when they see the slow inaction that cased the unnecessary death and suffering of thousands of people who just happened to be mostly black and poor.

9:44 AM  

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