Thursday, June 28, 2007

Money Money Everywhere

Thanks to Matt at Absolutely No Spin for his encouragement in continuing to write about my experiences at the Gulf Coast. After awhile the emotions get to be too much and it's hard to write about something so serious all the time. However I believe it is really important and I will keep talking until the word gets out there.

Today I came across an article from the Christian Science Monitor that said Private Dollars Leading Recovery of New Orleans. I of course had to read it, I think I've pretty much every news story about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast since being back from my trip.

The day I spent in New Orleans was education and sad to say the least. Our guide Mary who is the director of All Churches Together (ACT) a PICO organization discussed with us, among many things, the money situation. There are millions of dollars coming into New Orleans, but people are not benefiting from it all that much. Mary described over and over again, how it has been the people in the neighborhoods that have brought the spirit back to New Orleans and how the government has not been very helpful.

This article describes the situation in New Orleans, as I know it to be, very effectively. It discusses what has been done by the government (including the rebuilding of the Superdome, which to the best of my knowledge no one lives there), and what is being done in greater numbers by the people themselves.

Take a few moments to read the article, become educated about the situation. Note the sidebar on the last page giving you "recovery by the numbers." While there is a large number of street signs, light poles, and storm drains that have been repaired you would not notice these things during a drive through the city. What you would notice are the closed hospitals, schools, libraries, and the vacant houses.

One last statistic: The article says that $117 million in US funds have been allotted for the long-term community recovery program to rebuild public works such as libraries, sewers, and schools however $0 has been actually received by the city so far. We are coming close to 2 years since the storm and people are living with out the things that most people in the US take for granted, our libraries, schools, and don't forget our sewers.

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