Vincent Sylvain asked me what I was doing for the "Anniversary," and I must tell you that I am one of those who will not relive it, not for a minute or a second. I actually avoid images of the mess and wholesale suffering of what seems like mostly my people. However, I did watch and saw myself and my Boo celebrating the Suberbowl victory in Spike Lee's "If God Is Willing and The Creek Don't Rise."
So I was brought back to Katrina, but not for commemoration but for new information, most of which confirmed my suspicions about how and why we were failed. I just knew that the lack of military helicopter supporting those five days was because of Rumsfeld's war in Iraq, and that the Road Home's use of property values was on purpose to ensure that blacks couldn't rebuild.
Well, just like I told Vincent, all looking back at Katrina does is make me angry, the kind of anger where you want to punch someone, but know you can't, an extremely frustrating anger. At times like that I have to do something impactful, and like on many occasions before I turned to the pen that is touted as being mightier than the sword.
I have penned another open letter, this time to Secretary Donovan of H.U.D.
Many of us have been screaming about the way property values were used to weight Louisiana's Road Home benefits based on race and yes class. Because it was done so matter of fact like, many assumed that some federal law required that property values be considered. The crime was exacerbated when a contractor was given an 800 million dollar contract to enforce what became an overcomplicated process due to the use of property values and the attachment of liens and mortgages and other unmandated foolishness.
The court said it was wrong, but we need and deserve a remedy. This massive injustice cannot be allowed to stand. This was ethnic cleansing by people who only had to do minimum mathematics to know for certain that black neighborhoods would not have sufficient resources to recover. Since no one in Louisiana government really gives a damn about safeguarding Federal money, the process could have but one purpose, that of keeping large numbers of black people from returning to political dominance in the New Orleans. I believe that is the definition of Ethnic Cleansing.
The road home offered my mother thirty thousand dollars to give up our rights to a 2,600 sq. ft. double in the Ninth Ward which was in perfect structural condition. My mother is not desperate because she lives with me now, but this is pure land grabbing. We will hold it forever rather than allow them to screw us in this way.
Please have a conversation with former Mayor Ray Nagin and have him relate how they had the meeting in Dallas to get him to sign a moratorium on building permits in the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East. It was to be a combination punch. God bless him for taking a position that protected our beloved "Chocolate City," a move which instantly turned local media and power brokers who had supported his candidacy against him.
The Road Home formula was not a dumb mistake. It was part of a multi-tiered plan (conspiracy). Our only hope is you. We can only observe and deduce. You can investigate, prove AND ENFORCE.
Lloyd Dennis, aka "The Love Doctor"
Lloyd Dennis is an author and producer of CresentCityLive.com which dedicates its writings to love, marriage and family living, mentoring, and live entertainment in New Orleans. They call him "The Love Doctor" for what he writes and teaches about managing personal, business and workplace relationships.
Photo by Vinent Sylvain, New Orleans Agenda.
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