Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Orleans in the throes of Katrina, and apocalypse, (from Andy)

The message below was posted to Webheads in Action YG, by a Webhead colleague in Chicago, Andy Pincon, on Sep 3, 2005. I’m reposting it here, to share with my students and with other people wherever possible around the globe. FYI, Andy's daughter and her family managed to escape Katrina; they are all safe now and trying to help others with her family and father.

Andy's message to [webheads_2002]YG list:

[I thought you would like to know of the troubles of others in the aftermath of this week's US hurricane.Andy Pincon

2005By ALLEN G. BREED / Associated PressEDITOR'S NOTE – Allen G. Breed, Southeast regional reporter for The AssociatedPress, arrived in New Orleans two days before Hurricane Katrina, and watched asNew Orleans descended into havoc. This is what he has seen.NEW ORLEANS – Above the din, a woman is screaming the Lord's Prayer as if heavencan no longer hear silent pleas."And lead us not into temptation," she bellows hoarsely to the unhearing throng,"but deliver us from evil ..."But temptation is everywhere in this crippled city. And so, it seems, is evil.Five days after Hurricane Katrina came and went, necessity has forced policeofficers to become looters. Gangs hijack the boats of volunteers who have cometo rescue them. Naked babies wail for food as men get drunk on stolen liquor.Also OnlineLatest news:• Troops bring supplies into desperate city• Bush tours Katrina damage amid criticism• Houston opens two more refugee centers• Camera helps identify unknown sea creatures• Kanye West rips Bush during NBC concert• LSU quarter back opens home to Fats Domino• COMPLETE COVERAGEToday:• America scrambles to cope with refugees• Jobless rate in Gulf Coast likely to surge• Reporter's Notebook: Is this happening in America?• Evacuee bus overturns in Louisiana; one killed• Donations pour in for Katrina relief• New Orleans in the throes of Katrina, and apocalypse• New Orleans hospitals getting some help• Nations to release 60M barrels of oil, gas• Big oil spill spotted on Mississippi River• Congress approves $10.5B in Katrina aid• New Orleans mayor fumes over slow response• FEMA chief: Lawlessness not anticipatedSee the effects:• LIVE coverage from WWL-TV in New Orleans• Slideshow: New Orleans rescue efforts continue• Slideshow: Escape from New Orleans• Slideshow: Assessing Gulf Coast damage• Slideshow: Rescue from the air• Slideshow: Refugees set up camp at Astrodome• Slideshow: Reader-submitted hurricane photos from• Satellite images from DigitalGlobe:New Orleans before AfterSlideshow: Mississippi coast devastated• Slideshow: AP photos from Wednesday-->Give, get help:• FEMA, 1-800-621-FEMA• Disaster Management Interoperability Services• Red Cross, 1-800-HELP-NOW; 1-866-438-4636 to get help• Salvation Army, 1-800-SAL-ARMY• Catholic Charities• Louisiana SPCA• FEMA charity tipsExternal links:• WWL-TV: Text blog of latest Katrina updates• KHOU-TV: Reporters from our sister-station in Houston live blog their coverage• Wikipedia: Hurricane Katrina• Craigslist New Orleans: Community bulletin boardA walk through New Orleans is a walk through hell – punctuated, it must be said,by moments of grace.Along the debris-choked Mississippi River, pharmacist Jason Dove watches aspeople scramble in the parking lot of the downtown convention center for casesof airlifted water and shakes his head. "We created this Frankenstein," he says."It's showing how fragile this society is."In the world-renowned French Quarter, armed residents hide behind ornate irongates like prisoners in a frilly jail. Historic markers on Napoleonic-era housesshare billing with signs that warn: "You loot, we shoot!"When water began rising in predominantly black neighborhoods, many jumped to theconclusion that the levee had been purposely breached to preserve the old cityand its hotels."F... the Quarter!" a black man shouts as he walks beneath a balcony where aresident lounges with a cold beer as generator roars away in the otherwisedeathly night silence. "They always protect the Quarter."Katrina's winds have left behind an information vacuum. And that vacuum has beenfilled by rumor. There is nothing to correct wild reports that armed gangs havetaken over the convention center. That two babies had their throats slit in thenight. That a 7-year-old girl was raped and killed at the Superdome.One officer calls these human cattle yards "lawless countries unto themselves."After several days in the street with little water and less food, people aroundthe convention center began imagining that the storm was somehow a vehicle forethnic cleansing. One black man insists that authorities want everyone corralledinto the convention center – not to facilitate an orderly evacuation, but sopolice can ignite the gas and blow them up."They want us all crazy so they can shoot us down like dogs!" a woman shouts.Police point their guns at the crowds and tell them to back off. The people takeit as aggression. But when you look into these officers' eyes, there is realfear.Officer Kirk LeBranche cowered on the roof of his flooded hotel in New OrleansEast for three days as the nighttime hours became a shooting gallery."Anarchy and chaos," he says. "People are desperate."Officers deserted their posts. Many of them lost everything but their lives tothe storm, and they refuse to gamble those on a seemingly lost city.Katrina has not just robbed people of their homes. It has taken their dignity.On a sidewalk crowded with children and the elderly, a woman pulls down herpants and squats behind a potted plant. A passing man averts his eyes."Thank you," she says. "I'm just doing what I've got to do."At the convention center, where thousands have camped in the streets sinceMonday awaiting buses out of the city, the despair feeds on itself like avoracious beast.When National Guard helicopters attempt to land supplies in the parking lot,waiter Bob Vineyard joins a self-appointed ground crew attempting to set up asafe perimeter. The crowd surges past them with an almost feral intensity, andthe chopper crew is forced to take off.The soldiers drop cases of water and self-heating meals from 10 feet in the air.Many of the bottles burst on impact, the precious water left to evaporate in thehot sun."We would have had a whole helicopter full of food if you had stayed back!"Vineyard shouts at the crowd, with disgust. "Hey, y'all. I did my best."Carl Davis wonders why someone can't just truck the food in and hand it out inan orderly fashion. Rather than taking comfort in the food drops, he finds theprocess insulting, demeaning."They're giving it to us like we're in the Third World," he spits. "This shouldnever have happened. It didn't happen in Iraq, and it didn't happen in thetsunami."Down the street, anxious tourists idle on a bandstand across from Harrah'scasino, which has become a National Guard and police staging area. Jill Johnsonof Saskatchewan says police don't want them there, but she and others worry theywould be easy prey at the convention center."We're appalled," says Johnson, who tried to buy a car to get out of town. "Thiscity is built on tourists, and we're their last priority."Nearby, Cassandra Robinson huddles in the loading area of a local store where asmall community has formed. Her niece, Heavenly, who turned 1 year old the daybefore the storm, dozes in Robinson's arms, weakened by a diet of water andmashed-up potato chips.Robinson says people are behaving like animals because they are being treated asanimals."We're not born thieves," she says, as neighbors heat food over a trash-canfire. "We were born Christians."Thursday night, a prayer session begins at one end of Convention CenterBoulevard and spreads to the other. Please, they implore, let there be no morerioting.The next morning, someone – Robinson does not know who – appears with fresh,cold milk. And instead of fighting over it, able-bodied adults step back andallow the children and the elderly to be nourished first.Across the city, people have banded together, creating pockets of civility amidthe chaos.The management of the French Quarter's Hotel Le Richelieu fled two days afterthe storm. Those left behind – cooks, maids and security officers – organized toration supplies, establish foraging teams and set up a schedule for guard duty.Days after the storm, the kitchen somehow manages to keep serving hot food.Guests have taken to calling the place the Hotel Rwanda."It's a jungle and it's dog-eat-dog," hotel security guard Glenn King says as herests his hand on the butt of a revolver at his side. "When you see the policedoing the same thing the looters are doing, it tells me you're going to have tofend for yourself."Some find ways to flee. New Orleans resident Robert Jordan and eight familymembers are on their way to Birmingham, Ala., but he delays his departure morethan two hours to help plug a fellow refugee's punctured tires. He uses goods he"borrowed" from a nearby auto parts store."Bye-bye, French Quarter!" he shouts as his three-vehicle caravan leaves theprotective walls of the Richelieu parking lot. "Be safe."But Jordan's sentiments seem wishful thinking.Before dawn Friday, the French Quarter is rocked by explosions. A few miles downriver, railroad tanker cars erupt in a tornado of flame, showering a floodedneighborhood with soot and casting a pall of black over the city – as if NewOrleans isn't already under one.A police officer says snipers fired on workers sent in to fight the fire. Theystood down and watched it burn.Randall Davis walks from his home in the French Quarter and sits on a bench,staring at the inferno through reddened eyes, his head swimming with apocalypticthoughts."It's becoming less numbing each day," he says, as the fire rages. "It'sunfortunate that I'm getting used to anarchy and chaos when this was once avital, vibrant community of people who looked out for one another. And it'sdegraded to this."Davis laughed when he heard a congressman suggest that the city should beabandoned to the swamp waters from which it was born. But he isn't smiling as hestares into the smoke-shrouded sunrise."If this is what it's like when we even have a semblance of society," he sayswith a sigh, "maybe we shouldn't build it back."

Best Regards

Andrew Pinçon
Excutive Director
Digital Workforce
Education Society An Illinois Entrepreneurship Network Affiliate

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Center NonViolant Communication, (NVC)

Came across NVC site: < >, and think it’s quite interesting.

The communication initiative

The Communication Initiative, < > is an interesting site in Canada with lots of info and resources for ESL/EFL educators and professionals all over the world. See its events calendar, here:
< >