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A New Neighbor — Why Now?
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A New Neighbor

I’ve added A.M. in the Morning! to my blogroll for a very specific purpose. Ana Maria has moved back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to help her family recover after Katrina. while Scout at First Draft keeps New Orleans on peoples’ minds, too many think that the rest of Gulf Coast has recovered and is doing great.

Ana Maria makes it clear:

When I arrived back in March, I was shocked at everything. From the total disappearance of so much of my home town here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the evaporation of nearly every home and business along the 40-50 miles of beach going east to Biloxi, which is as far as I’ve traveled that way. Then going west to see family in New Orleans was more of the same: destruction, devastation, disappearance, and evaporation.

Clearly, the PR campaign that the Bush Administration has going along with its counterpart in the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion via Haley Barbour doesn’t hold any water. Barbour is the former head of the national Republican Party and good friends with Bush. Naturally, they would support each other’s BS, I mean PR, campaign.

The Republican governor of Mississippi hasn’t helped the people with insurance companies, hasn’t made FEMA more rational, hasn’t helped people get on with their lives. It’s more smoke and mirrors, made worse by the fact that the happy talk about Mississippi makes it harder for the people who live there to get help because “everything’s fine, no problem” is what the government is saying.


1 Ana Maria { 08.10.07 at 5:38 pm }

Wow! This is awesome. I’m humbled and excited to be included. Thank you soooooo much. How did you find the blog?!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

A.M. in the Morning!. . . dispatches from Katrina’s ground zero with Ana Maria, a distinctly progressive political voice

2 Bryan { 08.10.07 at 5:55 pm }

Ana Maria, I’m just down the coast to the east on the Florida Gulf Coast. My Dad was in the VA hospital in Biloxi for Camille.

The little town I live in sent what we could to Mississippi after the storm, and a friend lost a couple of condos in Biloxi. The Air Force personnel from Keesler camped out over here at Eglin for an extended period, and combat engineers from the local bases were sent over to help.

I know things haven’t gotten better, because we still have people with ties to that area who travel over when possible.

Your place was featured on Facing South and First Draft, and it is a void on the coast that needs coverage.

It isn’t going to help, but we’re still battling with FEMA over Ivan in 2004.

3 Cookie Jill { 08.10.07 at 7:15 pm }

Thanks for highlighting the blog! You are right…not enough coverage of other “ports of Katrina’s call.”

Let’s hope we don’t have to deal with FEMA for the Zaca Fire. You KNOW how much they already hate California and wish it to burn to the ground or shake into the ocean already.

4 Bryan { 08.10.07 at 10:50 pm }

If FEMA shows up, grab your water wings and run.

I would expect them to set up an office in the path of the fire, so they won’t be around long.

Down here they set up an office in one of the last areas to get electricity, in spite of the fact they were told that was going to happen and there was space in a mini mall that was back on the grid in a day because of it’s location near other vital infrastructure.

5 hipparchia { 08.10.07 at 11:08 pm }

Down here they set up an office in one of the last areas to get electricity
they just wanted to suffer in solidarity with you.

6 Bryan { 08.10.07 at 11:51 pm }

They were running generators with gas that was needed for a lot of other things, and making people drive farther than necessary to get help, wasting more gas.

7 hipparchia { 08.11.07 at 1:11 am }


8 whig { 08.11.07 at 8:23 pm }

Can FEMA be fixed? Is there an agency that is supposed to be dedicated to rebuilding?

9 Bryan { 08.11.07 at 9:56 pm }

All FEMA needs is a reversion to it’s 2000 status and organization, essentially an apolitical disaster response agency made up of professionals in the field. All of the old manuals and procedures still exist in file cabinets.

Rebuilding is left to the responsible level of government. The New Orleans situation is complicated by the amount of the destroyed infrastructure that belonged to the Army Corps of Engineers, and the admitted responsibility of the Corps for the flooding. That is a Federal problem, that is going to require a Federal solution.

The other problems relate to insurance company stalling and possible fraud, the Federal flood insurance program administration, and general understaffing at a number of agencies that are supposed to facilitate rebuilding.

People can’t rebuild until they get the money they are owed for their losses. With the current mortgage and housing market, this would be a godsend if people would start rebuilding on the Gulf Coast, but the same problems make getting construction loans harder than ever. The people needed to rebuild are unemployed because of the mortgage crunch. If the government could work a deal with the local banks on the Gulf Coast, a lot of problems would be solved.