Race And Class In Katrina's Aftermath

I think the thing that they have done is given a whole lot of money to extremely large contractors and so large contractors have made out very well after Katrina. Those of us who are affected or those of us who do the work, the small contractors, have gotten nothing. And so there's been a lot of talk about money but that money is not trickling down for example to small minority businesses or the businesses who were here before the storm. So we are really hurting.

The upside of that is the people of New Orleans are absolutely convicted in their desire to return home and for example we've implemented our own clean up program called "Safely Back Home" and we've completely cleaned up one solid block as a demonstration project in the city of New Orleans utilizing the Army Corps of Engineers and 180 volunteers. We have a small grant funding the program all coming from local foundations, not a dime from the federal government to do what is really necessary to get the people back in their homes.

"There's been a lot of progress in areas where businesses are. I mean, like right after the storm they came in and completely wiped down the French quarter where businesses are. There's no contamination there because they came in and did what they were supposed to do. They brought the big trucks in and washed out all the debris and washed down the streets but there's nothing done with where people live, and the work that has been done has been done by people themselves.

There are a number of organizations on the ground. For certain I would mention my center and what we've been doing. I an author of something called In the Wake of the Storm, and I'm a Sociologist and so we put together our analysis of what's happening as it relates to race and class. There's the African American Leadership Project and there's NRGC that's still handling all the environmental issues around race and class. There's the organization for Civic Participation. And I also believe ACORN and the Hurricane Relief Fund have been doing some pretty outstanding things in regards to race and class. I think that our council people have been seeking out on what they see as desperate responses, bringing people home based on race. Our city council people have been really involved in a serious battle I would have to say the most vocal person Cynthia Willard Lewis and Oliver Thomas.

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