Wednesday, March 01, 2006

City Swept Under a Rug

It's Mardi Gras in New Orleans and organizers are surprised that residents of New Orleans have mixed reactions about it. They insist its good because it brings money to the city and that it shows the world that New Orleans is resiliant giving a semblance of normality.

But is that good? This semblance of normality business? Is it good to exhibit strength and resiliance when it isn't so. The city needs our help and for the past several months they've been forgotten. Does our first remembrance need to be a fiesty parade that we watch and smile"oh they're allright then" I wonder if a decision NOT to hold Mardi Gras this year would have touched a nerve, that an age old tradition could not go on because of the desperation of its city. Maybe the millions who poured into the city over the years would remember Mardi Gras.. feel sad it didn't happen.. and realize things truly must be bad...

Because things truly are bad. Oprah did a special last week about Katrina. I feel for my brothers and sisters suffering in the winter of the Himalayas but admit I didn't realize the still present destitution of those right here, just a few hours west. Lisa Ling went to Mississippi and showed Tent cities of people living in refugee camps while thousands of empty trailers sit because paperwork isn't done. If I had switched the TV on at this point I would have thought I was watching a refugee camp in a third world country. March 15 they are evicted. Emergency homeless shelteres will reach capacity. The faces arent all poor. Teachers and principals live in tent cities, using food stamps and port a potties. They say that the attention (or lack therof) to the people in Pakistan is shocking but I can't believe that in the US more isn't being done for its citizens.

Is Mardi Gras an attempt to sweep things under the rug when in fact things need to be aired in in front of all of us if there's any chance of helping them.


Mia said...

I don’t think it’s an attempt to sweep the suffering under the rug. Instead it’s meant to show the resiliency of these people especially when you consider that the powers that be don’t even want to rebuild certain wards. It’s like a rebirth a phoenix rising from the ashes. New Orleans is a sister city to New York during 9/11 they were the first to come to our rescue. During last years Village Halloween parade they asked that we in NYC have an old fashioned funeral cadence for NOLA and we did. We had musicians from NOLA leading the parade and a phoenix to symbolize them the very same phoenix we had after 9/11. It’s true too many people have forgotten about NOLA they still need our help but I believe by bringing back Mardi Gras they’re just letting us know “hello we’re still here”.

Aisha said...

Yeah Mia, I see your point. And perhaps the Mardi Gras and its ensuing controversy with residents is what we needed to realize there still are issues. That's interestin gabout the phoneix, very profound, I never heard of that actually. Thanks for sharing that.

mystic-soul said...

Mardi Gras was synonymous of raped woman who get back to life but with big hole in her soul !

Anonymous said...

Don't get to deep with this. Mardi Gras is for the rich people (in this case, the rich white people). The French quarter wasn't flooded like the rest of the city because it sits on higher ground.
If you look at the Mardi Gras crowd, you don't see the same people that were sitting outside of the Superdome. The people that were sitting in front of the Superdome are still trying to get a roof over their heads.
Mardi Gras is just an excuse for people to drink and party. The majority of the people that are partying really didn't lose much, so of course they are resilient.

Baji said...

I too saw the Oprah special and was disturbed, but not shocked. I see our government neglecting people in dire need all the time. So much of what is done in the name of social justice is unfortunately driven by politics.

Zak said...

Well business as usual..eventually as with most tragedies people forget..

opinionatedinjerzee said...

thats really sad.. i am sorry but partying does fix everything!!

Aisha said...

Mystic, interesting..

Anon, lol yes, its easy to be resiliant when you're not the one down. :( What do you mean by "Dont read too much into this"?

Baji, you're right.. but its like how can we say "USA needs to help with XYZ in XYZ country" when there is no help for its citizens.. really really unfortunate

Zak yep if it didnt happen to me I dont care is the subconscious mentality..

Amzu did you mean "doesnt" or did you mean does? I dont know if partying fixes everything..

momyblogR said...

Again, it's out of sight, out of mind. Then to top it off, when bringing it back in sight, it's a huge party. Although, an age old tradition...still I think it may have been a bit inappropriate this year.

Instead of partying, perhaps they should be concentrating on the people that are still suffering from the great devistation.

Who knows? That's just me.

Tee said...

I didn't see the special on Oprah but I heard an interview on the news or radio, can't remember. There's a mother and 2 boys living in a town 15 minutes from my hometown. She was lucky in the respect that she had some type of nursing degree and so was able to find work but the Mother was saying how they still feel so lost. They aren't home and can't go home. I can't imagine how difficult this past year and the next few years to come will be for these people.

Raheel said...

Oprah rocks and Bush sucks.

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