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I saw so much devastation in their neighborhood and just riding around the city in the rental car

was mind boggling. I took my own tour and saw areas where whole streets are still blocked off

and debris is scattered all over. But there are areas that are bouncing back nicely.

 

 

Post Katrina One Hundred Thousand Yet to Return

Rebuilding New Orleans 2010

By Junious Ricardo Stanton

                                                       

I just returned from New Orleans Louisiana the city that will soon mark the fifth anniversary of the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina and the failings of city, state, and federal policy makers to adequately prepare for a major storm like Katrina. We all are familiar with the pictures the corporate media showed over and over of the mostly black people stranded in the city which revealed the stark poverty and class divisions within this country and the callousness of the federal government under George W. Bush. We heard so much about the lower Ninth Ward and the devastation it suffered but the fact of the matter is the whole city was devastated by Katrina.

My wife and I went to New Orleans to attend her sorority’s national convention and to visit her relatives in New Orleans and other parts of the state.  I got a chance to see some of the devastation the storm wrought on the area. The Gray Line Tour Company offers what they call the New Orleans Rebirth and the Katrina City Tours in addition to their regular tours and Steamboat cruises. In addition to driving to Jeanerette and New Iberia to see where my late mother-in-law grew up I also took the Katrina/City Tour. These trips were very informative. I saw the signs for the Katrina Tour when we first arrived downtown looking for our hotel, I thought to myself, “These people will find a way to make money on anything.” But I was drawn to it and I was glad I took the tour.

The two and a half hour sight seeing tour started in the French Quarter and spread out from there throughout the whole city. The bus driver/tour guide was very knowledgeable about the city, its layout, the chronology of the hurricane, its impact on city and why eighty per cent of New Orleans was flooded. The corporate media focused so much on the people trapped in the Superdome and the convention center and showed the  lower Ninth Ward flooding,

I thought they were the only areas that were inundated. Not so. Eighty per cent of New Orleans was flooded. New Orleans is a city surrounded by water and most of the town actually is below sea level which exacerbated the situation when the municipal pumps failed, the canals overflowed and the levy system’s underpinnings were compromised.

Every neighborhood except for the French Quarter which due to its location near the Mississippi River and the silt build up the river brings sits on higher ground was impacted on some level. Some neighborhoods only got a few inches or so of water, others got a few feet and others were completely flooded. Five years after the initial impact of Katrina, there are still hundreds if not thousands of boarded up and abandoned houses with the first responder, National Guard and police markings still on them.  According to the tour guide there are over one hundred thousand people who have not returned to New Orleans.

My wife’s cousin lives near the Seventeenth Street Canal which overflowed swamping the whole neighborhood with water. Her home is one of the few houses in that neighborhood that have been restored almost five years later!  Getting the house cleaned out, gutted and restored was a major challenge. Fortunately for her she had adequate insurance coverage. Many didn’t, hence so many dilapidated and ruined buildings. Her son lives with her because his home is still not livable, he showed us where the waterline was in the home, I’d say it was at least a good six feet on the inside of the living room.

Fortunately they heeded the mayor’s advice and evacuated the city before the storm hit. Even so they got caught in a massive traffic jam trying to get out of the city. It took them almost twelve hours to get to where they were headed, a trip that normally takes about three and a half to four hours. They first went to Lake Charles Louisiana to stay with relatives. They stayed there for a short time then they went to Texas then to Baton Rouge Louisiana where they stayed for two years. They just returned to New Orleans about two years ago. They are doing okay, he’s working, his wife takes care of his mother who just turned ninety in June.

I saw so much devastation in their neighborhood and just riding around the city in the rental car was mind boggling. I took my own tour and saw areas where whole streets are still blocked off and debris is scattered all over. But there are areas that are bouncing back nicely. I saw a lot of people who seemed they were in a daze, some trying to make it by panhandling downtown and others making the best of a horrific situation.

The Katrina/City Tour went into the Ninth Ward but the bus is not allowed to travel up and down the side streets so we just stayed on the main drag. We saw Lake Ponchartrain looking so placid and scenic now. We saw million dollar homes in an affluent section that were destroyed, still boarded up or the empty lots where they used to stand. New Orleans has a large city park, the bust driver informed the group Philadelphia has the largest municipal park in the nation a fact I already knew. It was an extremely interesting tour. I am glad I took it. It gave me a much broader perspective on the devastation of Katrina and on the power and resiliency of the  human spirit.

New Orleans was very appreciative of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for coming their way. The sorority donated thousands of dollars to local organizations every day during the convention, they did public service projects while they were in New Orleans and they definitely stimulated the local economy.

The various neighborhoods still have a lot of destruction and are in need of massive rebuilding. New Orleans has a long way to go to be restored and made whole physically as well as psychologically. I guess that’s why the town went nuts when the Saints won the Super Bowl. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the Katrina experience for this country; too many to list here now. 

We need to keep the people of New Orleans in our prayers and be as supportive of them as possible.

posted 9 August 2010 

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Slumdog Tourism—By Kennedy Odede—Nairobi, Kenya August 9, 2010—Slum tourism has a long history—during the late 1800s, lines of wealthy New Yorkers snaked along the Bowery and through the Lower East Side to see “how the other half lives.”

But with urban populations in the developing world expanding rapidly, the opportunity and demand to observe poverty firsthand have never been greater. The hot spots are Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai—thanks to Slumdog Millionaire, the film that started a thousand tours—and my home, Kibera, a Nairobi slum that is perhaps the largest in Africa.

Slum tourism has its advocates, who say it promotes social awareness. And it’s good money, which helps the local economy.But it’s not worth it. Slum tourism turns poverty into entertainment, something that can be momentarily experienced and then escaped from.

People think they’ve really “seen” something—and then go back to their lives and leave me, my family and my community right where we were before. I was 16 when I first saw a slum tour.

I was outside my 100-square-foot house washing dishes, looking at the utensils with longing because I hadn’t eaten in two days. Suddenly a white woman was taking my picture. I felt like a tiger in a cage. Before I could say anything, she had moved on. When I was 18, I founded an organization that provides education, health and economic services for Kibera residents. A documentary filmmaker from Greece was interviewing me about my work.

As we made our way through the streets, we passed an old man defecating in public. The woman took out her video camera and said to her assistant, “Oh, look at that.” For a moment I saw my home through her eyes: feces, rats, starvation, houses so close together that no one can breathe. I realized I didn’t want her to see it, didn’t want to give her the opportunity to judge my community for its poverty—a condition that few tourists, no matter how well intentioned, could ever understand. NYTimes

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Katrina New Orleans Flood Index

What's Going On by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band  /  Louis Armstrong—Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans

Kid Ory 2—Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

Fats Domino—Do You Know What It Means, To Miss New Orleans

Billie Holiday—Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

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Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans? (1947)

                Performed by Billie Holiday & Louis Armstrong

 

Do you know what is means to miss New Orleans?
And miss it each night and day
I know I'm not wrong the feeling's getting stronger
The longer I stay away
Miss the moist covered vines, the tall sugar pines
Where mocking birds used to sing
And I'd like to see the lazy Mississippi... a hurrying into spring

The Mardi Gras memories of creole tunes that filled the air
I dream of oleanders in June
And soon I'm wishing that I was there

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
When that's where you left your heart
And there's something more
I miss the one I care for
More than I miss New Orleans

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Dianne Reeves—Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

Aaron Neville—Do You Know What It Means To Miss New

Sweet Home New Orleans—Dr. John

James Rivers—New Orleans Zulu Lundi Gras JAZZ

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One Love

       By Bob Marley

One love, One heart
Let's get together and feel all right
Hear the children crying (One Love)
Hear the children crying (One Heart)
Sayin' give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
Sayin' let's get together and feel all right

Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love)
There is one question I'd really love to ask (One Heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
Believe me

One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One Love)
So shall it be in the end (One Heart)
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
One more thing

Let's get together to fight this Holy Armageddon (One Love)
So when the Man comes there will be no no doom (One Song)
Have pity on those whose chances grove thinner
There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation

Sayin' One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
I'm pleading to mankind (One Love)
Oh Lord (One Heart)

Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
Let's get together and feel all right

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When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You don't have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it.—Carter G. Woodson

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Ghana Music Video  / The Curse of Gold—Ghana  / Rice Farming in Afife, Ghana

Busy Internet Ghana  /  Africa Open for Business—Ghana

Business Incubation: a tool for enabling innovation and entrepreneurship—BusyInternet launched its Busy incubator program early 2005, with support from the infoDev Program. The first of its kind in West Africa, this small business incubation program is designed to increase the chances of survival of young companies by providing them with a good opportunity to grow in a supportive and nurturing environment. To date, 25 companies have been successfully hosted at BusyInternet. Currently, there are 10 companies located at the BusyInternet facilities, which provides connectivity solutions, software development, management consulting, entrepreneurship development, business process outsourcing, computer based test preparation, and administration and web-based applications development.

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 16 March 2012

 

 

 

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