Friday, January 25, 2008

New Orleans: No Firehouses Rebuilt

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- New Orleans has yet to rebuild a single fire station more than two years after Katrina destroyed or damaged 22 of the city's 33 firehouses. Appalled by the city's lack of action, an actor is leading the way in reconstruction of the fire stations.

"I gave up on ever hoping that politicians in this country -- local, state or federal -- would step in to help these guys," actor Denis Leary told CNN.

Leary, who stars as a firefighter on a TV show called "Rescue Me," is using his charitable foundation to bring together volunteers from a New York carpenter's union and the New Orleans Fire Department to rebuild the stations. So far, they've rebuilt five, with two more slated to be finished in a couple months.

Good on Leary for doing the right thing here, but this is still an absolute outrage. Over two years later, and the city still hadn't rebuilt their fire stations?


Oh, yeah: tearing down housing.

More from the CNN story:

Edward Blakely, the czar of New Orleans recovery effort, appreciates the work from Leary's foundation and volunteers. He said the city has been focusing on rebuilding its police headquarters to combat the growing crime problem.

The police headquarters just recently reopened, now allowing the city to focus on the fire stations, Blakely said.

"We say to the citizens: 'Look, we are going to have a better city. You don't want us to put it back just the way it was. You want us to improve it,' " Blakely said. "That's what we're going to do. That takes a little more time, but it's worth it."

Bullshit! The whole point of this is to destroy the city and turn it into a test-bed for a laissez-faire paradise. Just like Chile under Pinochet, or the current Iraq situation. Thing is, it always turns out disastrously... for the people. The very, very rich always love it because they make out like bandits, which is why they keep doing it over and over again.

They are intentionally destroying the city's infrastructure to "prove" that the government can't do anything right, after which they will privatize every-fucking-thing in sight and buy it all up at a song, turning New Orleans into a Disneyland version of itself. They'll gut the city of its core identity, let the poor starve or leave, or else work for slave wages serving them Hand Grenades at their favorite pubs while faux jazz musicians play for them, since they don't have a soul in their fucking bodies and can't tell the difference between music with feeling behind it and music that's programed by a fucking computer, just like they won't be able to tell the difference between a New Orleans with rich diversity and a real sense of community and a New Orleans ice cream stand whose only flavor is vanilla.

It's a fucking crime, and the people in the rest of our country need to realize two very simple words before they brush this off as somebody else's problem: you're next. If you haven't figured out that they intend to do what they're doing to New Orleans to the rest of the country, then you need to take another look. New Orleans is a test bed. They're going to figure out which little fuck-overs make them money and which ones don't, and then they're going to try it in every other city in America. If they get away with it in New Orleans, it will be much more difficult to stop them anywhere else, because they'll be everywhere else. They'll have a veneer of credibility that will fool a lot of people: "Come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras; you can get your drinks, toss beads, watch young tarts flash their boobs... just like before, but without all the crime and, you know, black people."

The time is now; the battleground is New Orleans. Anybody who can lend a hand, do so:

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