First stop of the morning … New Orleans’ neighborhood

I just got a look at the schedule. Every minute of the day is accounted for. It’s 5 a.m. and in front of me is a bank of TV cameras, satellite trucks, and a devastated neighorhood.

Watching mainstream media work is interesting. There are six camera crews here. Edwards will be on the Today show with Matt Lauer.

Today we’ll be going to Iowa, then to New Hampshire. In Iowa he’ll be meeting with a group of bloggers and doing a town-hall meeting.

I’m wearing my ConvergeSouth shirt in honor of Sue Polinsky, who really is responsible for getting us in a position for me to get here.

Regarding the neighborhoods here, it’s dark, so I can’t see the full extent of the devastation, but the little bit I can see is simply horrific. Driving along I saw boarded up homes and buildings. Many of which still have spray-paint messages left by rescuers that say whether or not there were any bodies inside.

I’m in the front yard of a home that still is ripped apart. Most of the neighborhood is living in white trailers brought here by FEMA.

None of my words, nor any of the video or pictures you’ll eventually see, will really bring you how bad it really is.

Comments

  1. I can send more shirts! We even have an extra one in John’s size. Send a delivery address (through Maryam is a good idea!) and will overnight them as soon as I get home (this afternoon – am in DC). We’d love to see ConvergeSouth shirts (those are *North Carolina* shirts!) on the news.

  2. I can send more shirts! We even have an extra one in John’s size. Send a delivery address (through Maryam is a good idea!) and will overnight them as soon as I get home (this afternoon – am in DC). We’d love to see ConvergeSouth shirts (those are *North Carolina* shirts!) on the news.

  3. Just saw the CNN interview. I thought O’Brien was a little nasty to Edwards, starting right out with “So you made a blunder, fool,” (or anyway that was the thrust of the jab, in relation to the timing of the announcement and the motivation for putting in online). I think Edwards ought to have been just as blunt and said something more like, “You got the wrong information, Myles.”

  4. Just saw the CNN interview. I thought O’Brien was a little nasty to Edwards, starting right out with “So you made a blunder, fool,” (or anyway that was the thrust of the jab, in relation to the timing of the announcement and the motivation for putting in online). I think Edwards ought to have been just as blunt and said something more like, “You got the wrong information, Myles.”

  5. Robert,

    When you going to be in New Hampshire? I live 10 minutes from the Manchester airport and would be great to meet up with some of you guys. Or Just you.

  6. Robert,

    When you going to be in New Hampshire? I live 10 minutes from the Manchester airport and would be great to meet up with some of you guys. Or Just you.

  7. @1 It’s not the responsibility of the Fed Govt to fix New Orleans. That is a state and local issue. The Fed Govt’s responsibility there ends with how it impacts interstate commerce. Why should a tax payer in Ohio be sending their federal tax dollars to help New Orleans? How does that benefit that local Ohio taxpayer? That’s what charity work is for.

    The mayor of New Orleans and the Gov of Louisiana should take the majority of the blame and responsibility for the state of New Orleans today and what to do to fix it. They should not be looking at the US taxpayers to fix this problem.

  8. @1 It’s not the responsibility of the Fed Govt to fix New Orleans. That is a state and local issue. The Fed Govt’s responsibility there ends with how it impacts interstate commerce. Why should a tax payer in Ohio be sending their federal tax dollars to help New Orleans? How does that benefit that local Ohio taxpayer? That’s what charity work is for.

    The mayor of New Orleans and the Gov of Louisiana should take the majority of the blame and responsibility for the state of New Orleans today and what to do to fix it. They should not be looking at the US taxpayers to fix this problem.

  9. I was in N.O. on official business…philanthropy. I met with several groups including the Mayor. I talked to many locals and many visitors. I cannot tell you how many people I met who could physically work but choose not to because they just don’t want to. I also talked to contractors who trained locals and when it came time for them to show up for work, they stayed at home. I am so sick of people bashing everyone else for not doing enough, not helping, etc. I chose to help people who chose to help themselves. It’s easy to throw stones but how easy is it to really get in there and help create solutions? And by the way, SHAME ON EDWARDS for using N.O. for his politial gain. If I was on the fence about him…that act right there helped make up my mind.

  10. I was in N.O. on official business…philanthropy. I met with several groups including the Mayor. I talked to many locals and many visitors. I cannot tell you how many people I met who could physically work but choose not to because they just don’t want to. I also talked to contractors who trained locals and when it came time for them to show up for work, they stayed at home. I am so sick of people bashing everyone else for not doing enough, not helping, etc. I chose to help people who chose to help themselves. It’s easy to throw stones but how easy is it to really get in there and help create solutions? And by the way, SHAME ON EDWARDS for using N.O. for his politial gain. If I was on the fence about him…that act right there helped make up my mind.

  11. Joe: I walked around the neighborhood and talked with several residents. They were all VERY happy that SOMEONE was there bringing the media. No one is paying attention anymore to the real pain that’s going on.

    And, the folks I met were hard at work rebuilding their neighborhoods. I’m sure there’s lazy people there, not discounting your observations, but the folks I met were hard at work — I have some video and Rocketboom got some too.

  12. Joe: I walked around the neighborhood and talked with several residents. They were all VERY happy that SOMEONE was there bringing the media. No one is paying attention anymore to the real pain that’s going on.

    And, the folks I met were hard at work rebuilding their neighborhoods. I’m sure there’s lazy people there, not discounting your observations, but the folks I met were hard at work — I have some video and Rocketboom got some too.

  13. Robert

    Thank you for visiting New Orleans and drawing attention to the hard work of our citizens.

    Don’t let the commentators dissuade you from including the failure of the Federal government in response to Katrina as part of the dialog in the upcoming election.

    People are working against all odds to rebuild New Orleans, we are still waiting for our Road Home Program recovery money owing to no-bid contractor, we are still without levee protection, our pumps are still broken, and viable housing is being bulldozed, while rents are sky-high.

    It’s a scary situation.

    The Edwards message really resonates with me. Edwards is correct that New Orleans exemplifies a call to service. There are rich examples of civic engagement in our city, they are lost in this new media, however, since we are still without Internet in many places. We are too engaged in the real world of mold, and broken gas lines, and sheetrock to engage with people online.

    I’d like to see Edwards raise the level of dialog about New Orleans, and about public service, civic engagement.

    There are so many Americans that are civic minded, who want to participate, and New Orleans survives because of them.

  14. Robert

    Thank you for visiting New Orleans and drawing attention to the hard work of our citizens.

    Don’t let the commentators dissuade you from including the failure of the Federal government in response to Katrina as part of the dialog in the upcoming election.

    People are working against all odds to rebuild New Orleans, we are still waiting for our Road Home Program recovery money owing to no-bid contractor, we are still without levee protection, our pumps are still broken, and viable housing is being bulldozed, while rents are sky-high.

    It’s a scary situation.

    The Edwards message really resonates with me. Edwards is correct that New Orleans exemplifies a call to service. There are rich examples of civic engagement in our city, they are lost in this new media, however, since we are still without Internet in many places. We are too engaged in the real world of mold, and broken gas lines, and sheetrock to engage with people online.

    I’d like to see Edwards raise the level of dialog about New Orleans, and about public service, civic engagement.

    There are so many Americans that are civic minded, who want to participate, and New Orleans survives because of them.

  15. @14, That’s a shame. But Constitutionally, why is this the Federal Govt’s problem to solve? You should be riding your Mayor’s and Governor’s ass. And I agree Joe that is was shameful for Edwards to use N.O. as a launch point for his campaign. But, when you think about it, typical of an ambulance chaser. It’s how they think. Play on people’s misfortune so they can benefit.

  16. @14, That’s a shame. But Constitutionally, why is this the Federal Govt’s problem to solve? You should be riding your Mayor’s and Governor’s ass. And I agree Joe that is was shameful for Edwards to use N.O. as a launch point for his campaign. But, when you think about it, typical of an ambulance chaser. It’s how they think. Play on people’s misfortune so they can benefit.

  17. And lest anyone think I don’t care. Myself and my family have donated thousands of dollars as well as hundreds of hours this past summer working for Habitat for Humanity in N.O. Which just finished building their 500th home. All without spending your federal tax dollars. What a concept!!!!

  18. And lest anyone think I don’t care. Myself and my family have donated thousands of dollars as well as hundreds of hours this past summer working for Habitat for Humanity in N.O. Which just finished building their 500th home. All without spending your federal tax dollars. What a concept!!!!

  19. I guess LayZ does not have a very good understanding of the federal budget process and how tax dollars are redistributed back to localities all across America, especially by a process call earmarks.

    Bridge to No Where, does that ring a bell? Millions of federal tax dollars to build a bridge in Alaska between to tiny islands. Should people in New Orleans have to pay for that, or taxpayersin Ohio? Or, how about all the federal tax dollars that went to rebuild homes on the Mississippi flood plains after the devastating floods in the early 90′s, remember that? Should we all have had to support rebuilding homes in areas we know will flood again?

    Get off the why should federal tax dollars pay for New Orleans soap box, lest you propose entirely eliminating federal income taxes, and relying entirely on state/local income taxes and taxes on liquor and cigarettes to fund the military.

    We are a society and a community, a nation I believe. We support each other. If that is not reason enough to support federal tax dollars in the rebuilding of NO, then there is no real reason for us to exist together in a society.

  20. I guess LayZ does not have a very good understanding of the federal budget process and how tax dollars are redistributed back to localities all across America, especially by a process call earmarks.

    Bridge to No Where, does that ring a bell? Millions of federal tax dollars to build a bridge in Alaska between to tiny islands. Should people in New Orleans have to pay for that, or taxpayersin Ohio? Or, how about all the federal tax dollars that went to rebuild homes on the Mississippi flood plains after the devastating floods in the early 90′s, remember that? Should we all have had to support rebuilding homes in areas we know will flood again?

    Get off the why should federal tax dollars pay for New Orleans soap box, lest you propose entirely eliminating federal income taxes, and relying entirely on state/local income taxes and taxes on liquor and cigarettes to fund the military.

    We are a society and a community, a nation I believe. We support each other. If that is not reason enough to support federal tax dollars in the rebuilding of NO, then there is no real reason for us to exist together in a society.

  21. Oh I understand it just fine. Read the Constitution lately? Aside from maintaining interstate commerce,please cite for me where the Fed Govt has the authority to collect federal taxes to redistribute to local municipalities? I understand the federal tax dollars go to build roads that link states and also go regulate other interstate commerce.

    Yes, we are a society and a community. Thus, that is where charities are designed to fill the gaps. But, I have a problem when the govt decides how much of MY money that can take from me and give to someone else. If you want socialism, move to Canada, or Sweden, or some other socialist society. Last I checked, the US is not a socialist govt. (But we are getting close)

    The cold, hard reality is that, YES, state and local govt ARE responsible, Constitutionally, for their own welfare. So, Kenny, if you can cite for me where the Founders gave the authority for the Fed Govt to take money from me to rebuild your house in the event of a disaster, I will concede your point. A couple of hints to help you with your research: Read Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. It explicitly defines the powers granted to Congress. After that I’ll refer you to the 10th Amendment. And, no, “provide for the general welfare” does not apply here. I direct you to a reading of the Federalist Papers, particularly Federalist 41 by James Madison (recognized author of the Constitution) for an explanation of “general welfare”. And yes, I realize the SC basically thumbed its nose at Madison in US v. Butler (1936) and we have today our fed govt now collecting charity money from its citizens. But, we all know the SC is not infallable.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve VOLUNTARILY, and GLADLY given thousands of dollars to fund the rebuilding of N.O. That is how things like this should work, coupled with state and local taxes. At least,that’s how the Founders envisioned this country to work.

  22. Oh I understand it just fine. Read the Constitution lately? Aside from maintaining interstate commerce,please cite for me where the Fed Govt has the authority to collect federal taxes to redistribute to local municipalities? I understand the federal tax dollars go to build roads that link states and also go regulate other interstate commerce.

    Yes, we are a society and a community. Thus, that is where charities are designed to fill the gaps. But, I have a problem when the govt decides how much of MY money that can take from me and give to someone else. If you want socialism, move to Canada, or Sweden, or some other socialist society. Last I checked, the US is not a socialist govt. (But we are getting close)

    The cold, hard reality is that, YES, state and local govt ARE responsible, Constitutionally, for their own welfare. So, Kenny, if you can cite for me where the Founders gave the authority for the Fed Govt to take money from me to rebuild your house in the event of a disaster, I will concede your point. A couple of hints to help you with your research: Read Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. It explicitly defines the powers granted to Congress. After that I’ll refer you to the 10th Amendment. And, no, “provide for the general welfare” does not apply here. I direct you to a reading of the Federalist Papers, particularly Federalist 41 by James Madison (recognized author of the Constitution) for an explanation of “general welfare”. And yes, I realize the SC basically thumbed its nose at Madison in US v. Butler (1936) and we have today our fed govt now collecting charity money from its citizens. But, we all know the SC is not infallable.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve VOLUNTARILY, and GLADLY given thousands of dollars to fund the rebuilding of N.O. That is how things like this should work, coupled with state and local taxes. At least,that’s how the Founders envisioned this country to work.

  23. [...] If you have been in the US yesterday or today, you probably heard about John Edwards announcing that he is running for president in 2008.  What a lot of people do not know (unless you read other blogs) is that Edwards has invited some well-known bloggers to travel with him this week.  It seems that Edwards is trying something new, in that he is trying to get to the grassroots and where at of people get their news, blogs. [...]

  24. I think Edwards is great but I just don’t know what has changed since 2004 except that he is two years older. The more I think about the Dems in 2008, the more I think the nomination is Al Gore’s to lose: he was robbed in 2000, has been consistently right on Iraq (unlike Hillary), and will not have a problem with either cash or name recognition… I wrote a story on this at http://www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

  25. I think Edwards is great but I just don’t know what has changed since 2004 except that he is two years older. The more I think about the Dems in 2008, the more I think the nomination is Al Gore’s to lose: he was robbed in 2000, has been consistently right on Iraq (unlike Hillary), and will not have a problem with either cash or name recognition… I wrote a story on this at http://www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

  26. To point number 19, then I take it you are supportive of approving the elimination of earmarks as I am. By the way, the bridge to no where, was between two islands withing the state of Alaska, it did not reach to Washington State.

    The federal budget funds all sorts of intrastate activities, like commuter rail subsidies in New York for the NYCT subway system (yes they receive federal grants), local police departments receive grants from USDOJ to fund positions for officers, technology, etc. None of which has to do with interstate commerce. NIH funding for the human genome project was federally funded, I guess this was a bad thing in your view.

    As a matter of fact there are states which contribute much more in federal taxes than they receive in return through grants and other programs, and then there are states like Mississippi which receives the highest in federal grant dollars per capita than they contribute. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know, but it is the way the system has evolved over 230 years. I believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  27. To point number 19, then I take it you are supportive of approving the elimination of earmarks as I am. By the way, the bridge to no where, was between two islands withing the state of Alaska, it did not reach to Washington State.

    The federal budget funds all sorts of intrastate activities, like commuter rail subsidies in New York for the NYCT subway system (yes they receive federal grants), local police departments receive grants from USDOJ to fund positions for officers, technology, etc. None of which has to do with interstate commerce. NIH funding for the human genome project was federally funded, I guess this was a bad thing in your view.

    As a matter of fact there are states which contribute much more in federal taxes than they receive in return through grants and other programs, and then there are states like Mississippi which receives the highest in federal grant dollars per capita than they contribute. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know, but it is the way the system has evolved over 230 years. I believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  28. John Edwards co-sponsored the massive increase in H-1b visas that blew away tech as an upwardly mobile career for Americans – it’s never recovered from this massive betrayal

    He also favored benefits for illegal aliens, that drive down wages of our poorest americans

    he voted for the iraq war, that send our poorer young people to their deaths in iraq.

    And he voted for the patriot act, which threatens the Consititution

    He’s a first class jerk

  29. John Edwards co-sponsored the massive increase in H-1b visas that blew away tech as an upwardly mobile career for Americans – it’s never recovered from this massive betrayal

    He also favored benefits for illegal aliens, that drive down wages of our poorest americans

    he voted for the iraq war, that send our poorer young people to their deaths in iraq.

    And he voted for the patriot act, which threatens the Consititution

    He’s a first class jerk

  30. Robert, you are so naive but then again, you ARE a liberal. The difference between my visit and yours is that I didn’t have an entourage, video camera, microphone, digital camera, etc. Who wouldn’t tell someone from the perceived media whatever they wanted to hear?? My organization has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to New Orleans and will continue doing so but only to those who who are willing to help themselves. Why aren’t you looking to the left winged MAYOR and GOVERNOR to help that city? But that would make sense, wouldn’t it? You think the President is at fault because that would help your political agenda. Ridiculous. I knew it was just a matter of time before your blog went back to this crap. Microsoft didn’t like you shoving your politics down people’s throats and so you had to behave for a while…didn’t last long. You’ve lost a reader Robert.

  31. Robert, you are so naive but then again, you ARE a liberal. The difference between my visit and yours is that I didn’t have an entourage, video camera, microphone, digital camera, etc. Who wouldn’t tell someone from the perceived media whatever they wanted to hear?? My organization has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to New Orleans and will continue doing so but only to those who who are willing to help themselves. Why aren’t you looking to the left winged MAYOR and GOVERNOR to help that city? But that would make sense, wouldn’t it? You think the President is at fault because that would help your political agenda. Ridiculous. I knew it was just a matter of time before your blog went back to this crap. Microsoft didn’t like you shoving your politics down people’s throats and so you had to behave for a while…didn’t last long. You’ve lost a reader Robert.

  32. Joe: it’s interesting how you put words in my mouth.

    I’m glad you’re helping out in New Orleans. It’s more than I’ve done.

    As for you not reading me, sounds good to me. I’m getting bashed on one side for not reporting anything I heard, and on another for pushing my politics down your throat.

    I like smart readers who are here for a conversation. Sounds like you’re not here for a conversation, just want the world to be seen your way or no way at all.

    It sure doesn’t sound like you actually want to teach me something with your “bomb and run” strategy in my comments here.

    If there’s anything wrong with America it’s this “Rush Limbaugh” attitude of “anyone who has a different point of view than myself is an idiot.”

  33. Joe: it’s interesting how you put words in my mouth.

    I’m glad you’re helping out in New Orleans. It’s more than I’ve done.

    As for you not reading me, sounds good to me. I’m getting bashed on one side for not reporting anything I heard, and on another for pushing my politics down your throat.

    I like smart readers who are here for a conversation. Sounds like you’re not here for a conversation, just want the world to be seen your way or no way at all.

    It sure doesn’t sound like you actually want to teach me something with your “bomb and run” strategy in my comments here.

    If there’s anything wrong with America it’s this “Rush Limbaugh” attitude of “anyone who has a different point of view than myself is an idiot.”

  34. Lay Z consider the following facts:

    1. Hurricane Katrina did not destroy New Orleans. The levees that were designed, built and maintained by the federal government failed and the ensuing floods destroyed the city. The Army Corp of Engineers has publicly admitted responsibility for the design failures. Now explain to me why the federal government should not be responsible for fixing New Orleans.

    2. May be should just let New Orleans go. When the oil and gas infrastructure go with it, you can plan on paying $5 plus for a gallon of gasoline. You may not be able to heat your house with natural gas at all. What do you say Lay Z?

  35. Lay Z consider the following facts:

    1. Hurricane Katrina did not destroy New Orleans. The levees that were designed, built and maintained by the federal government failed and the ensuing floods destroyed the city. The Army Corp of Engineers has publicly admitted responsibility for the design failures. Now explain to me why the federal government should not be responsible for fixing New Orleans.

    2. May be should just let New Orleans go. When the oil and gas infrastructure go with it, you can plan on paying $5 plus for a gallon of gasoline. You may not be able to heat your house with natural gas at all. What do you say Lay Z?

  36. i have first hand knowledge of edwards visiting a upper 9th habitat site…i was disgusted to see what a pony show it was…of course his people will make it look like he is personally rebuilding n.o. all he did was slam the president and about 10 nails then was off and running to some other p.r. gig.

  37. i have first hand knowledge of edwards visiting a upper 9th habitat site…i was disgusted to see what a pony show it was…of course his people will make it look like he is personally rebuilding n.o. all he did was slam the president and about 10 nails then was off and running to some other p.r. gig.