Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rebuild New Orleans Goddammit

Music follows my rant.
New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Katrina has become nothing more than an afterthought since the fickle attention of the rest of the country has shifted to more pressing matters like celebrity rehab. Public shock and outrage dissipated as soon as the cameras were turned off, packed up and moved away. I am just as guilty, otherwise I would be blogging about this everyday instead of music. Trust me, if you haven't actually been to the area since the disaster, you cannot have any appreciation for the scale and scope of the destruction. I had watched the coverage and specials. I had seen the public photos as well as individual aerial photos taken in the immediate aftermath and I was still shocked as we drove into New Orleans two years ago. The destruction was overwhelming, but even more shocking was the lack of life in the eastern suburbs of the city. There were miles of streets with absolutely no activity what-so-ever. No cars, nobody working, nobody shopping, nobody period. The fact that one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world has essentially a half dead city is unacceptable.
There is a tremendous article by John Barry in the Fall 2007 issue of Garden & Gun titled, "Shifting Tides," that I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone read. It is a comprehensive look at the problems solved and then created as the Mississippi River has been altered throughout the years. Here is an excerpt.

"The river is why New Orleans exists, and why it sits here, vulnerable if not innocent, like a high school girl drinking too much and trying to look older than she is at her first college fraternity party. But because engineers screwed with the river, the city was violated in the most intimate way in 2005, first by a storm, then by a dozen different governmental agencies, and by the Bush administration. As in most acts of violence, recovery is impossible unless we confront that history honestly and deal with it."
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - Oh Didn't He Ramble
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Professor Longhair - Tipitina

The video below is for Soulsavers' "Kingdoms of Rain." I have lauded their 2007 album, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land (It made the Top 5 of my 2007 year-end list). The images in the video are as riveting and spine-tingling as Mark Lanegan's deep rich voice. (Thanks to Atoms 4 Peace for posting the video)


New Orleans Musician's Relief Fund

Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund

Katrina Relief

New Orleans Area Habitat For Humanity