We're Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City
Roberta Brandes Gratz
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We’re Still Here Ya Bastards presents an extraordinary panoramic look at New Orleans’s revival in the years following the hurricane. Award-winning journalist Roberta Brandes Gratz shares the stories of people who returned to their homes and have taken the rebuilding of their city into their own hands. She shows how the city—from the Lower Ninth Ward to the storied French Quarter to Bayou Bienvenue—is recovering despite flawed governmental policies that promote disaster capitalism rather than the public good. While tracing positive trends, Gratz also investigates the most fiercely debated issues and challenges facing the city: a violent and corrupt prison system, the tragic closing of Charity Hospital, the future of public education, and the rise of gentrification.
By telling stories that are often ignored by the mainstream media, We’re Still Here Ya Bastards shows the strength and resilience of a community that continues to work to rebuild New Orleans, and reveals what Katrina couldn’t destroy: the vibrant culture, epic history, and unwavering pride of one of the greatest cities in America.
state’s rainy-day fund, the Medicaid Trust for the Elderly, and the Health Trust Fund, thereby balancing the budget instead of restoring the coast. See “Bobby Jindal Agrees to $1 Billion Earmark of BP Oil Spill Money,” Associated Press, NOLA.com and Times-Picayune, June 14, 2014, http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/06/bobby_jindal_agrees_to_1_billi.html. 33. See “Louisiana Environmental Restoration,” Southern Regional Water Program, n.d.,
OPSB [Orleans Parish School Board]. The rest are charters under the RSD [Recovery School District] or BESE [the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education] auspices.” 6. The 80 percent of the schoolchildren who rode public transit to a school closer to home helped subsidize the city’s transit system. Now, private bus companies are hired at great expense and the cost of transit is borne by families. Some charters reimburse for transportation, but even waiting for reimbursement can be a
today, with nine employees on a budget of only $700,000, this public-interest newsroom exposes financial wrongdoing, backroom dealings, fraud, political intrigue, and more. Its focus on underreported stories about land use, criminal justice, education, and City Hall activity has had a major impact on the city. • • • The story of Karen Gadbois and “Squandered Heritage” brings to light a fundamental New Orleans conundrum, serious enough to diminish the strengths of the city over time, nibble by
government agencies and leaders covered their asses.”24 In the fall of 2011, while BP was claiming that the beaches, the water, and the seafood were safe, Naomi Klein accompanied a scientific expedition revealing that the “good news story” BP was telling was demonstrably untrue. What she learned was profoundly discouraging: Among the most striking findings are graveyards of recently deceased coral, oiled crab larvae, evidence of bizarre sickness in the phytoplankton and bacterial communities,
heads and guns to their heads, torturing some and killing four. Historian Leonard N. Moore’s Black Rage in New Orleans masterfully recounts the history of the NOPD and the accompanying politics.14 Of the Algiers case, Moore writes: “The urban guerilla tactics of the thug cops put the city on the verge of a race riot.”15 Somehow the city did not explode, even though urban riots were occurring in Overton, Brownsville, and other poor neighborhoods during that period. Seven officers were indicted,