Saturday, June 23, 2007

Alive in Truth: Oral Histories from Katrina survivors

This website is dedicated to New Orleans and Katrina survivors. There's a great deal of information on here, including oral histories from people who lived through Katrina. Some of them have disabilities.

I read a few of them. One disabled man said that he was able to get up on his roof during Katrina with his pet and waited the storm out. By the time the storm was over, everything he owned was ruined. A neighbor assisted him afterwards getting to an area where he could get help and he moved to Austin Texas without anything.

People in Austin helped him get a mobility scooter and the basics : a bed, chair, table, etc. and he remains there, hoping that his son will join him some day. He doesn't want to return to New Orleans.

A male street performer spoke about how TV coverage is sometimes limited to showing the fixed up areas where businesses have reopened in the French Quarter, but that four or five blocks away it is bedlam. He speaks of cleaning out Burger King after the storm wearing a gas mask due to the stench. He said one problem that is happening is employers can't find people to hire yet people lack transportation and access to records employers want to hire them. There seems to be an endless circle of problems that keep progress from happening because the regular rules of business either aren't waived or made flexible to help get people back on track, yet people lack the help they need to meet the usual requirements.

One thing I know- getting mired down in bureaucracy at a time when growth is essential isn't the answer. I'm reading in the paper that New Orleans has a 46% higher death rate now and newscasters are saying doctors had to leave because their equipment was ruined so there isn't enough medical care. Medical records were lost, leading to poor care. On and on and on.

A lack of basic necessities like housing, employment, medical care amidst the ghoulish reminders of a landscape that still bears the scars of the storm - these are situations that face many.


Did you know:

In New Orleans, La., a city of about 484,000 people, 23.2 percent of residents are people with disabilities. There were 102,122 people with disabilities five years of age and older who lived in New Orleans.


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