New Orleans: Rebuilding on People's Bones

BP Spill Destroys a Way of Life

September 28, 2010

BP Spill Destroys a Way of LifeJordan Flaherty – Oil companies leave bleak future for fishing communities in Louisiana: oil pollutes water while drilling erodes the land Sept. 28 – TRNN It was 21 years before the waters polluted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill were fertile enough to be fished again, but fishing communities on the coast of Louisiana can’t afford to wait that long, said Jordan Flaherty, journalist and author of Flood Lines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six. In an interview with The Real News, Flaherty said that the massive fishing industry in the area is made up of small fishers that sell their catch wholesale. Despite the size of the industry as a whole, there are no large corporations to advocate for reparations. While British Patroleum (BP) has paid out compensation in the amount of $5,000 to affected families, Flaherty said that the loss for these communities goes beyond financial, as their livelihood has been taken away. “So there's a lot of helplessness. There's higher rates of suicide, alcoholism, already much despair in these communities and hopelessness. People are wondering how long they can really hold on to this lifestyle,” he said. Additionally, he said history has shown that financial aid in these circumstances stops long before the damage is corrected. “But how long will BP's commitment really be? I think if we look at, again, the Valdez disaster and other spilling disasters, we've found that oil companies, while the eye of the media is on it, they…

New Orleans: Systemic Police Brutality Exposed

September 18, 2010

New Orleans: Systematic Police Brutality ExposedJordan Flaherty: Investigations into police brutality and coverup after hurricane Katrina, indicate ‘long history of corruption’ in department. Sept. 18 – TRNN Investigations into police brutality in the aftermath of Katrina revealed police felt they were directed to ‘take control of the city’ by whatever extreme means their conscience would allow, said journalist and author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six, Jordan Flaherty. In an interview with The Real News, Flaherty said this manifested in multiple incidents where police fired on unarmed civilians. The notorious incident on Danziger Bridge, where two people were killed and four others were wounded, was just one of the ten documented incidents of police shooting unarmed civilians in the days following Katrina, said Flaherty. Flaherty said in addition to the extreme violence used against civilians, evidence has come to light that reveals elaborate police cover-up. “When senior officers came upon the scene, they realized that [the shooting on Danziger Bridge] would not stand up well, and so they began a process of fabricating evidence, inventing witnesses, planting bullets, planting guns,” Flaherty told TRNN. He said much of the evidence that substantiates coverup, indicates departmental corruption that pre-dates Katrina. “For example, on Danziger Bridge you had one officer, as he's writing the report, he's in a room filled with officers, and he yells out, ‘I need a name.’ Another officer yells back, ‘Lakeisha’, and he writes down ‘Lakeisha Smith’. And this later became one of the fabricated witnesses that they used.…

New Orleans: Rebuilding on People’s Bones

September 16, 2010

New Orleans: Rebuilding on People’s BonesJordan Flaherty: Rebuilding of New Orleans stunted by flawed legislation and missing federal aid. Sept. 16 – TRNN While coverage of Katrina’s aftermath has stopped, the city is anything but rectified. In an interview with The Real News, Jordan Flaherty, journalist and author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six, said there are still roughly 100, 000 people displaced from New Orleans. Twenty-five per cent of housing in the city lies empty, and the ninth ward remains a “vast wasteland” except for the homes built by actor Brad Pitt. Flaherty said the Robert T. Stafford Act, which governs internally displaced people in the United States, has actually denied the displaced residents of New Orleans rights they should have had under international humanitarian law, including the guarantee of returning home. Flaherty told TRNN another challenge is that much of the money intended for rebuilding never made it to those in need. “That money that was supposed to come to the Gulf never arrived. Much of it went to Bush cronies, likeHalliburton, Kelloge Brown & Root, Blackwater, various industries that profited off of this disaster… and so this recovery that was promised to the city of New Orleans never made it to the people of New Orleans.” He added that the money that did reach New Orleans, was not distributed according to greatest need. “The major federal program for rebuilding the city was the Louisiana Road Home program, that was about 11 billion of federal money. But that…