Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The (derailed) Train They Call "The City of New Orleans"
I have hugely impractical fantasies of writing and projects I want to do while there. Despite not having a laptop computer or easy internet access, I'm hoping to blog from there and make notes for some writing projects. I want to take tons of pictures despite not having a computer to offload the snapshots in the memory card to. I'd like to interview a few people, including Andrei Codrescu, Malik Rahim and people at the Common Ground Collective. These interviews ideas are mostly pie-in-the-sky things since I am fairly amateur at interviewing but more importantly I don't have a particular project in mind for the interviews. I know I wouldn't grant an interview with someone with no stated goal beyond posting it to a small personal blog. I might bring my microcassette recorder on the off chance I can wrangle an interview but I also have sooo many other things to do while down there visiting family for the first time since Katrina. I doubt I'll even get around to making tentative calls or emails to these folks.
One place I've been getting info on NOLA is a LiveJournal community called poor_planning. Lots of synopses of news stories and things like that. The statistics on NOLA are incredibly poor almost a year after Katrina. (Quote me at your own risk on these stats: some are from memory, others from Wikipedia on Katrina and New Orleans.)
- The population of New Orleans is less than half of what it was before Katrina. (2000 census: 485,000. July, 2006: 192,000 to 230,000.)
- The number of businesses is one sixth of pre-Katrina levels. (this is from memory.)
- The number of murders (22) in July, 2006 were the same the pre-Katrina averages since 2002 despite the dramatically reduced population.
- Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are very widespread.