The Katrina Story You Don’t See So Much in Anniversary Coverage

In the coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s fifth anniversary, you’ll find several obligatory mentions in the corporate media of the still-decimated Lower Ninth Ward, but you’d be hard pressed to find anything as direct or damning as what you find in independent media coverage–for example, this piece on Women’s eNews (8/29/10) by Kimberly Seals Allers, who recently attended a conference in New Orleans on health disparities in communities of color:

When a few of the local community leaders came to address us, what they had to say about the Lower Ninth Ward was appalling but not surprising. They said that of the $90 million that the Federal Emergency Management Agency allocated to rebuilding the city, the Lower Ninth Ward has not received any money. Nobody has been told a definitive answer as to why.

They said the Lower Ninth Ward only has one working school for kindergarten through 12th grade. The school has 750 students and a 450-student-long waiting list. There are no hospitals in the area and God help you if you need emergency care and have to travel across the bridge and across town to get it. Many displaced residents, they added, would love to return to the area, but they can’t because there are no schools and no real health care options for the elderly.

The local community leaders expressed their outrage that tour companies bring busloads of people through the Lower Ninth Ward everyday to gawk at their despair, yet never share any of their profits or stop to support local businesses.

About Julie Hollar

Managing Editor of Extra! Magazine
Julie Hollar is the managing editor of FAIR's magazine, Extra!. Her work received an award from Project Censored in 2005, and she has been interviewed by such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, Agence France-Presse and the San Francisco Chronicle. A graduate of Rice University, she has written for the Texas Observer and coordinated communications and activism at the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. Hollar also co-directed the 2006 documentary Boy I Am and was previously active in the Paper Tiger Television collective.