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More news from various sources

September 5, 2005

I just checked my webstats to see that the most popular page on my website has become my weblog. Many of these hits are coming from links on the Garden Web’s home decorating forum where one of my paint customers started a thread entitled “Is Ellen Kennon OK After Katrina?”. I really appreciate everyone’s concern. However, when I clicked on to the thread’s link, I was dismayed to see that I have offended a few people, because in my anger over this situation, I criticized some of our current administration’s policies. (Actually, my own mother has an autographed photo of George W. and Laura in her home, so I do know better.) While I’ll try my best to keep politics and religion out of this weblog, I have been enjoying the freedom to do something I enjoy. Writing. When I re-read what I have written, going back in time from the present, I can’t help but notice that these more personal entries are far more interesting. Also, it has become a way for my houseguests’ friends to find them and see how they are doing. So. . .

Once, again, life here is moving at a swift pace. I’m at the office faxing in paint orders, however, none of the ICI stores I’ve telephoned across the country answer. It’s Labor Day! I’ll be leaving for home soon to finish a roasted duck gumbo I’ve started for my guests. Isabel and Jerry’s son Marc is on his way from Houston in the hopes of getting into downtown New Orleans to get his law firm’s hard drive. Their son Michael says he has a friend there working in his office (with power) in downtown New Orleans. It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not.

Gwen Williams’ mother, Gloria Abadie, arrived yesterday evening after spending the past few nights in a home in Baton Rouge where she says there were a total of 16 people staying there. She had been sleeping on the sofa, so we gave her my daughter Alex’s brand new bed I bought for her while she was away at Camp Greystone (in NC) last month. I must say, it’s extremely comfortable. . . like sleeping on a cloud. Gloria slept so long, we kept checking to make sure she was still alive. She’s been through such an ordeal. Her home was on the ground floor of Gwen & Mike’s and the water had risen to just below the second floor. They kept praying someone would come and get them and finally were rescued by boat at 1:00 am. Rather than get on a bus and be taken somewhere where they would end up sleeping on the floor; Mike found a N.O. cab driver and paid him to take them to Baton Rouge where they have been staying ever since. Gwen and Mike asked us to take care of Gloria while they set up house in Sorrento in a condo they found to rent.

Now, I know what I’m about to share will stir some controversy, but I’d like to pass on the following email I received with a message from Lee Carroll, who channels an angelic messenger called Kryon (http://www.kryon.com). This is not a religion. I am actually an Episcopalian. But I do know with absolute certainty that we never die, as I have communicated with several friends and relatives after they’ve passed on from this lifetime. I know Lee Carroll personally and have helped put together some events locally, including in New Orleans. Lee has channelled three times at the United Nations and I have read all of his books. Since 1989, he has given specific predictions that I have watched unfold over the past several years, beginning with the events of 9-11. Since I left New York, I have been very interested in the evolution of mankind, and these books have actually given me great comfort and hope for actual peace on earth some day. These are by far not the only books of this type I have read, and I find that they all pretty much say the same thing. One of the reasons I left New York was to reconnect with Nature, because I know how healing it is. It has helped me during these trying times–just sitting outdoors, meditating and appreciating the gifts from Nature, I feel hope and renewal. My entire paint line was created around my belief that we are meant to live in harmony with nature, so it breaks my heart to see what is happening in my own back yard.

Here’s Kryon’s latest message:

“A CHANGING EARTH

Dear Ones,

I speak to those of you in America, in the culture of my partner (Lee). In
your own back yard you now have those in need, in peril, in sorrow, and those
who are deciding which of two basic energies to trust. Watch the split as we
told you about many years ago… indicating a polarization within Human nature
now, that will show up immediately when tested in this way.

Despite what you see on your news, there are many who are hanging on and
trusting in the high spirit of their countrymen… you. Their prayers are
indeed heard and there are millions right now who you are not hearing about on
your news, who are turning their attention on them. Your compassion is pouring
to them, along with your light. Your positive actions will last far longer
than the news reports of the negative, and this compassion that is generated
for them is actually going into, and staying within, Gaia. Watch, for this
eventually will tell a story about how you respond to your own, and when the
tally is in, it will represent the greatest outpouring of support Americans
have ever shown. This is the good news of what is hiding here, but which is
not immediately known.

Years ago we told you of these things. We told you of a changing earth, and
about the weather intensifying. Now it is here. Human consciousness is
shifting and Gaia is responding. With this shift carries a new paradigm of
weather for your planet. It’s a new cycle, and it’s going to be with you for
at least another 5 years, perhaps more.

Humans have always felt that they were able to meet the challenge of what
natures provides for them. But now, nature is providing a different scenario
than you have ever seen. Will you heed our information wisely and begin to
adjust your lives, or will you cling to the old and try to fight, or gamble
with this new paradigm of weather?

Hints: Produce electricity from the waves! Produce fresh water from the ocean!
Build differently and plan for this kind of weather so that it is not a
constant surprise. Technology is there for this, but is being held back for
monetary and political reasons. Perhaps it’s time to claim the wisdom of the
moment?

Turn your lights on those who need you now, for that is the most important
issue. Then later, when enough time has passed, become strong in your resolve
to understand that everything you are seeing now is a precursor to a new kind
of partnership with the forces of the planet. The shift is here that we told
you was coming. Now it’s time for you to share your light with those who had
no idea about any of it. Perhaps this is what me meant by being the Lighthouse
in the storm? Indeed.

You are ALL dearly loved.

KRYON”

The greatest thing about having a blog, is that I don’t have to worry about bothering people forwarding emails. If you are interested, then all you have to do is tune in. If you feel uncomfortable with what I have to say, then don’t read it. So that said, I would like to also share two more emails with you. These are much more sobering accounts from people still “in the trenches” of Katrina’s aftermath so to speak:

Notes From Inside New Orleans by Jordan Flaherty Friday, September 2,
2005

“I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the
apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone
wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims
of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.
In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway,
thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in
mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with
heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through,
it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the
barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given
about where the bus was going.

Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was
taking them – Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was
told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even
people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to
get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but
to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New
Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp.
I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation
Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were
friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive,
how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the
several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been
able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of
these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates
complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman
told me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only
information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here
at night.” There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to
set up any sort of transparent and consistent system, for instance a line to
get on buses, a way to register contact information or find family members,
special needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for
possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.
To understand the dimensions of this tragedy, its important to look at
New Orleans itself.

For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a
incredible,glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere
else in the world. A 70% African-American city where resistance to white
supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of
vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians,
Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights,
New Orleans is a place of art and music and dance and sexuality and
liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block
can take two hours because you stop and talk to someone on every porch, and
where a community pulls together when someone is in need. It is a city
of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city,
state and federal governments that have abdicated their responsibility for the
public welfare. It is a city where someone you walk past on the street
not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.
It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. The city of
New Orleans has a population of just over 500,000 and was expecting 300
murders this year, most of them centered on just a few, overwhelmingly black,
neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying that they don’t need to
search out the perpetrators, because usually a few days after a
shooting, the attacker is shot in revenge. There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In recent months,
officers have been accused of everything from drug running to corruption to
theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently
charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile
police killings of unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired
ongoing weekly protests for several months. The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child’s education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest teacher salaries. The
equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana
schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on
any given day. Far too many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola
Prison, a former slave plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor,
and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the prison. It is a city where
industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying,
transient, insecure jobs in the service economy.

Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana politics. This
disaster is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence.
Hurricane Katrina was the inevitable spark igniting the gasoline of
cruelty and corruption. From the neighborhoods left most at risk, to the
treatment of the refugees to the the media portrayal of the victims, this
disaster is shaped by race. Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the tragedies of this week our political leaders have defined a new level of incompetence. As
hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us to ‘Pray the hurricane down’
to a level two. Trapped in a building two days after the hurricane, we tuned
our battery-operated radio into local radio and tv stations, hoping for
vital news, and were told that our governor had called for a day of prayer. As
rumors and panic began to rule, they was no source of solid dependable
information. Tuesday night, politicians and reporters said the water
level would rise another 12 feet – instead it stabilized. Rumors spread like
wildfire, and the politicians and media only made it worse.
While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way
to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and
national media have spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone
that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy
that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.
No sane person should classify someone who takes food from indefinitely
closed stores in a desperate, starving city as a ‘looter’, but that’s
just what the media did over and over again. Sheriffs and politicians talked
of having troops protect stores instead of perform rescue operations.
Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed
into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store
that will clearly be insured against loss is a greater crime than the
governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of
damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic, just as the eighties
focus on ‘welfare queens’ and ‘super-predators’ obscured the
simultaneous and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan scams and mass layoffs,
the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to
cover up much larger crimes.
City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since
atleast the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding
to New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this week’s events, was more
about politics and racism than any kind of natural disaster, illustrated
exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials have consistently
refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city.
While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending danger to New Orleans
and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce and protect the city, the
Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New
Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased
hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the dangers rose with
the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the
callous disregard of our elected leaders.
The aftermath from the 1927 flood helped shape the elections of both a
US President and a Governor, and ushered in the southern populist politics
of Huey Long. In the coming months, billions of dollars will likely flood into New
Orleans. This money can either be spent to usher in a ‘New Deal’ for the
city, with public investment, creation of stable union jobs, new
schools, cultural programs and housing restoration, or the city can be ‘rebuilt
and revitalized’ to a shell of its former self, with newer hotels, more
casinos, and with chain stores and theme parks replacing the former
neighborhoods, cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.
Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a hurricane of poverty,
racism, disinvestment, deindustrialization and corruption. Simply the damage
from this pre-Katrina hurricane will take billions to repair.
Now that the money is flowing in, and the world’s eyes are focused on
Katrina, its vital that progressive-minded people take this opportunity
to fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is a special place,
and we need to fight for its rebirth.”
———————————————–
Jordan Flaherty is a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine
(www.leftturn.org). He is not planning on moving out of New Orleans.

This last email was sent to by a doctor in New Orleans who is still there.

“Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers. I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2 p.m. I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don’t know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today.

Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, Miss., and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today. Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water. Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast.

The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications. Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that is admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting. These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently. The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. Many other guests have unusual diseases. … There are (Infectious Disease) physicians in at this hotel attending an HIV confection. We have commandeered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic There is a team of about seven doctors and PAs and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and full of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into garbage bags and removed them. All under police escort. The looters had to be held back at gunpoint. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the the French Qarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many will be from the hotel, but many will not. We are anticipating dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and and acute injuries. Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems. Food and water shortages are imminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the National Guard. We hear jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no Salvation Army.

In a sort of cliched way, this is an edifying experience. One is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life. It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible. I don’t know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul-edifying experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuild will take. And the horror of so many dead people .

PLEASE SEND THIS DISPATCH TO ALL YOU THINK MAY BE INTERSTED IN A DISPATCH from the front. I will send more according to your interest. Hopefully their collective prayers will be answered. By the way, suture packs, sterile gloves and stethoscopes will be needed as the Ritz turns into a MASH”

Greg Henderson, MD

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