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					Lighting The Road To Freedom
                                   Data Zone
                                 Black History
                               Through His Eyes
                                           Page 8
      “The People’s Paper”     March 25, 2006   39th Year   Volume 35   www.ladatanews.com


                                          The Soul of New Orleans
One on One
with Cedric
Richmond




                                  Mayor
  Rebuild    Ray Nagin
 HOPE Now!
Host Mayor’s Vision for
             Defines His

  Forums     New Orleans
       Page 12                                          Page 4
Page       March 5, 006           New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                               www.ladatanews.com



                                                                        COVER STORY


                                     A Candid Conversation
                                     with Cedric Richmond
      His face has been seen all over the news as                                                                                           many of these policies are vague to say the
   the voice of the Louisiana Legislative Black                                                                                             least. What is at the legislative level that
   Caucus. His words belies his boyish face; for he                                                                                         you are doing to assist people in making the
   is wise beyond his thirty some odd years. He is                                                                                          language in these policies less confusing?
   brash, bold, and outspoken, and rarely does he                                                                                              CR: Recently, I introduced a bill that
   mince words. Some of his adversaries consider                                                                                            said that the insurance companies had to
   him controversial and confrontational, while his                                                                                         state every coverage that you had in simple
   supporters champion him as that rare politician                                                                                          English. For example, if you have five
   who is truly an advocate for their various causes.                                                                                       thousand dollars in coverage, we’re going
   Data News Weekly had the unique opportunity                                                                                              to pay you twenty-five hundred or you have
   to catch up with Louisiana Legislative Black                                                                                             five thousand dollars worth of additional
   Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond for a candid,                                                                                            living expenses. I thought that would help
   enlightening and informative discussion about the                                                                                        people before they sign off settling claims
   issues that concern many New Orleanians in the                                                                                           and that they would better understand what
   aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.                                                                                                          their entitled to. Unfortunately, this bill was
                                                                                                                                            killed in committee, but later I amended it
      EB: How did your property fare during the                                                                                             to Ed Murry’s bill, and what it does is that
   storm?                                                                                                                                   it requires insurance companies to make
      CR: In one house I had four feet of water and in                                                                                      policy holders sign off on each item so they
   the other I had seven feet.                                   Eventually we came back, and we finally passed the                         would know specifically what’s covered
                                                                 bill.                                                          and what’s not.
      EB: As you drive around the city what do you find
   yourself thinking about?                                         EB: You represent New Orleans East which was                   EB: There has been an ongoing controversy about
      CR: When I’m driving around I must honestly say            one of the parts of town which was heavily damaged.            whether or not to bulldoze homes in New Orleans. As
   I think it’s a shame that after six months there is still     How do you see the future of N.O. East, and the city in        we are now in the beginning stages of the process what
   more than 00,000 flood damaged cars on the streets of        general?                                                       are your feelings about this divisive issue?
   New Orleans.                                                     CR: New Orleans East has one of the largest tax                CR: If we can’t get to certain properties you really
                                                                 bases in the city, I feel you can’t have a city, at least      can’t start to rebuild. The lower Ninth Ward can’t start
     EB: You are the Chairman of the LLBC what is it             a financially stable one without N.O. East it just can’t       to rebuild until you remove some of the homes that
   exactly that you all do?                                      happen. Besides what’s going on with the east, I think         obviously need to be destroyed. Even in sections of
     CR: We attend to the needs of the African-American          it makes more sense for the city to figure out how to          New Orleans East there are places that the average eye
   population and we ensure that the concerns of our             bring back every neighborhood, as opposed to deciding          can look at and say this house cannot be salvaged. I
   constituents are addressed in the state legislature.          a blueprint for a smaller New Orleans.                         think until we get these houses out of the way it will
                                                                                                                                continue to slow down the rebuilding process. So I
      EB: Recently you led a walkout of the state legislature,      EB: You have been in talks with leaders at the local,       think it’s a good sign to see those demolitions going on,
   can you tell me a little bit about what happened?             state and national levels about the rebuilding of the city     but I believe the landowners should be involved in the
      CR: We had a Voting Rights Bill that allowed people        of New Orleans, what types of things are you saying to         process.
   to vote like we do in early voting in Orleans Parish. It’s    them?                                                             EB: There was a bill filed by Representative Tim
   very simple what happens is that you show your ID at             CR: I’m telling them that there is a struggle for power     Burns to consolidate the New Orleans Assessors office
   the registrars of voters, you sign the paper and you vote.    in the city and it’s based on several things: race is one of   from seven to one. You in turn filed a bill that would have
   But some in the legislature had problems with the bill,       them, but it’s also class. Also let me say that personally I   one single Assessor for the entire state. In your opinion
   and the arguments they presented opposing it to put           am very uncomfortable by some of the statements that           how would that benefit the people of New Orleans?
   in plainly were weak. They were just red herring, and         I hear concerning poor people and their ability to return         CR: Well first you would save 6.5 million dollars in
   obviously didn’t want to do it. So in order to emphasize      to New Orleans.                                                salaries alone if you had one statewide assessor. Also you
   the significance of voting rights legislation we decided                                                                     would have a better chance for a uniformed assessment
   we needed to do something to illustrate how important            EB: A lot of people are having problems settling            of property values under one person. And if you want
   the issue was so we decided to walk out of the capitol.       claims with insurance companies. The language in               to take the politics out of it, one assessor makes a lot
                                                                                                                                                                    Continued next page.

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                                             News
                                                                                     Opinion
                                                                                   page 10                                 Terry B. Jones
                                                                                                                           CEO/Publisher
                                                                                                                                                      Contributors
                                                                                                                                                     Benjamin Bates
                                                                                                                                                     edwin Buggage
                                                                                                                                                                                 Art Direction




  Story
                                                                                                                                                                                  & Production

                                               page 5
                                                                                                                                                     George e. Curry             Paul Mainor for
                                                                                                                                                    Hazel Trice edney

                                                                                 Talk Back
                                                                                                                                                                                  MainorMedia
                                                                                                                           edwin Buggage              eddie Francis
                                                                                                                           Editor-in-Chief            Cheryl Mainor

                                                                                   page 1
                                                                                                                                                      seibra Mason
                                        National News
                                                                                                                                                                                 Contributing
                                                                                                                                                     Zenitha Prince             Photographers

         page 
                                                                                                                           Cheryl Mainor             saeed shabazz               James Terry III

                                               page 6
                                                                                                                          Managing Editor            Glenn summers              Glenn summers
                                                                                                                                                     Dr. Ron walters
                                                                                 Katrina
                                                                                                                                                                                NNPA News wire
                                                                                                                                                    NNPA News wire


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Continued from previous page.

more sense than having sixty-six       the federal government, the state      up the difference. These are the       on police overtime when the city         would prevent people from having
statewide. As to the question          and everybody else will be less        kinds of things that are slowing       doesn’t have any money. I think          sit on top of their roof’s next
of how it would benefit New            inclined to assist and send money      down the recovery process in the       the businesses and the people            hurricane season. The purpose
Orleans, I believe if the logic        to New Orleans. Also I think we        city. Many residents are motivated     that make money off Mardi Gras           for obtaining the list was simply to
behind it is more efficient and        all need to understand that all        and ready to come back and re-         should at least pick up that .7         connect us with our constituents.
uniform assessments of property        our interest and futures are tied      invest in their communities, but       million dollars so that the city            EB: If you could tell the people
value then having one assessor is      together whether we like it or not.    when you have something like           would not have to take it out of         of New Orleans that are scattered
the way to go.                         In this city race has always played    the city where they can’t even get     their budget.                            about the country one thing what
   EB: How do you feel about the       a role in dividing communities,        cars off the street that’s totally        EB: What are your thoughts            would you tell them?
recommendations of the Bring           and it’s been a problem for a very     unacceptable.                          about the importance of the                 CR: That we are preparing a
Back New Orleans Commission?           long time. It’s something that we         EB: We just celebrated Mardi        upcoming elections?                      home for you to come back to.
   CR: Well I think they did           don’t like to talk about, but unless   Gras, and there were some who             CR: This is the most significant      We are preparing a city for you to
the best they could with what          we address it, racism in the city      thought we shouldn’t have given        election in the history of the city of   come home to, and we want you
they had. I just think they didn’t     will continue to be a problem.         the condition of the city. Some say    New Orleans. I think the election        back.
have enough information. Also I           EB: During the storm and in         it was hypocritical with so many       should have been postponed to a             EB: Is there anything else you
think they didn’t have the right       its aftermath, how would you           people who are still displaced,        later date. I feel in order to have a    would like to say to the readers
mix of people to come up with          grade the local, state and federal     what are your feelings?                meaningful election; people have         of Data before we end this
what I think are meaningful            government’s response?                    CR: Mardi Gras wound up             to access to vote. Additionally,         interview?
recommendations. Now some of              CR: I think they did a poor job,    being a success; the media             they need to have adequate                  CR: I would like to say that
the things in education and some       but I would prefer not to focus on     coverage was great because it          information to make an informed          Hurricane Katrina showed us
other areas are decent. However,       how they did during the immediate      didn’t just focus on the parades.      decision at the polls. And to that       the quintessential example of the
I have some concerns about their       crisis of the storm. I would prefer    They focused on the lack of            extent we don’t have the ability         difference between the haves and
recommendations         concerning     to focus on what they’ve done          money that was coming into New         to contact them to talk about our        the have nots. It showed us the
neighborhoods, I think they just       from the crisis up until now. A lot    Orleans. I think the coverage          platforms, so how does the voter         difference between the poor and
underestimated or discounted           hasn’t been done and it frustrates     helped us get the additional           make an informed choice.                 the privileged, it was a shame to
the social and emotional factor        me. I’m still frustrated that we       4. billion dollars for housing.          EB: I know you made an                see people stranded on rooftops,
that goes into the planning of         still have so many abandoned           However, my concern was that           attempt to get FEMA listing of           sleeping on interstates, and stuck
communities.                           cars and boats on the streets of       I didn’t think we said enough          residents of your district, which        at the New Orleans Convention
   EB: The race problem in the         New Orleans when you have              beforehand about the fact that we      were denied. What were your              Center. Which by the way the
city has been getting quite a bit of   the federal government picking         still have constituents being put      reasons for trying to get access         path to was never obstructed, you
coverage as of late, what are your     up one-hundred percent of the          out of hotels and shelters with        this information?                        could have easily got buses or
feelings about the state of race       cost. It’s something that’s been       no place to go. To me personally          CR: I wanted the list to              other vehicles to. When you see
relations in New Orleans pre and       prolonged and eventually the           it was an unnerving message            communicate with constituents.           this it just goes to show you how
post Katrina?                          federal government is going to         that we had the luxury and the         To see what they cared about.            far we have to go into balancing
   CR: It’s a large problem on         pick up only ninety or seventy-        time to participate in Mardi Gras;     For example, if they wanted one          or equalizing the class issue and
both sides. I think if we don’t find   five percent of the cost which will    more specifically that we had the      assessor or seven. Also to ask if        address poverty in this country.
a way to unite the races, I believe    force us to use city money to make     ability to spend .7 million dollars   they wanted to create a plan that



                                                                                                                                    “ I want you to
                                                                                                                                       come home!
                                                                                                                                As mayor, I will make
                                                                                                                                  it easier for your
                                                                                                                                   family to return
                                                                                                                                  to New Orleans.”
                                                                                                                                              - Virginia Boulet

        Virgin ia B ou let is no t an i n cub me n t p o l it i c ia n . W it h i m pe cc a b l e c re d e n t i a ls, u n m a tc h e d
          e nth u s iasm and so l id act i o n p l a n s , Vi rg in ia B o ul e t ca n le a d Ne w O rle a n s fo rwa rd .

   ACTION PLAN FOR HOUSING...
   We c a n j u m p - s ta rt re n o v a t i o n o f h i s to ri c p ro p e rt i e s a n d p re p a ra t i o n o f n e w s i te s f o r 5 0 , 0 0 0 h o m e s ,
   a p a rt m e n t s , a n d s m a l l b u s i n e s s e s ri g h t a w a y . L e t ’ s p ro v i d e w o rk i n g p e o p l e w i t h a t t ra c t i v e f i n a n c i n g p a c k a g e s
   a n d p u t p ro p e rt y i n t h e h a n d s o f f a m i l i e s , i n s te a d o f d e v e l o p e rs .

   A C T I O N P L A N F O R H E A LT H I N S U R A N C E . . .
   L e t ’ s b e a p i o n e e r c i t y a n d re a c h a n n e l p u b l i c h e a l t h c a re f u n d s i n to a p ro g ra m t h a t p ro v i d e s h e a l t h
   i n s u ra n c e f o r e v e ry Ne w O rl e a n s re s i d e n t . We c a n t u rn t h e K a t ri n a t ra g e d y i n to a n o p p o rt u n i t y f o r b e t te r
   p u b l i c h e a l t h t h a n w e h a v e e v e r h a d b e f o re .

    A C T I O N P L A N F O R E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T. . .
   L e t ’ s b u i l d a f a r m o re d i v e rs e a n d i n c l u s i v e e c o n o m y . We c a n p u t h i g h e r e x p e c ta t i o n s o n o u r s c h o o l s y s te m
   a n d c re a te a n e n v i ro n m e n t i n w h i c h e v e r y p e rs o n h a s t h e o p p o rt u n i t y to g e t a h i g h e r- p a y i n g j o b .
      Fo r m o r e i n f o o n t h e s e a n d V i r g i n i a ’ s o t h e r a c t i o n p l a n s , v i s i t : w w w. V i r g i n i a B o u l e t Fo r M a y o r. c o m
        426 State St. New Orleans, LA 70118 • 504.606.8633 • contact@VirginiaBouletForMayor.com • Paid for by the Virginia Boulet for Mayor Campaign
Page 4       March 5, 006           New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                        www.ladatanews.com



                                                                        NEWSMAKER

Mayor Nagin Takes His Campaign on the Road
         Opportunity to define his vision for New Orleans’ future
                                                                            the candidates in this election           When asked about his             black and white people alike. He
                                                                            and the upcoming November              concerns of how he is viewed in     says that his support comes from
                                                                            primaries for city officials           New Orleans he explains that        white and black voters who want
                                                                            and state representatives is           “feelings are mixed”. “Some         to build a better New Orleans.
                                                                            the challenge to reach all the         people understood where I was       Although he is optimistic about
                                                                            registered voters of New Orleans.      coming from” as he reflects back    leading his city out of this crisis,
                                                                            Without a comprehensive list of        on his earlier comments regarding   he is faced with a reality that he
                                                                            dis-placed residents and their         the mishandling of Katrina          is very mindful of. “Some people
                                                                            locations, many candidates will        relief efforts. “some thought       don’t want to see billions of dollars
                                                                            have the difficult task of “cold       I was out of control but it was a   controlled by me”, he says with a
                                                                            calling” throughout the country        psychological release through       serious tone.
                                                                            to reach their voters.                 me for the people.” Mayor Nagin         Mayor Nagin seems to be taking
                                                                               With all the challenges that lie    explains that he had to express     it all in stride. He is steadfast in his
                                                                            ahead for this torn city, Mayor        the feelings of the people. They    vision for a “new” New Orleans. “I
                                                                            Nagin has a uncompromising
                                                                            belief that New Orleans will be
                                                                            redeemed. His vision is being
                                                                            heard throughout Capitol Hill and
   As election day approaches         individual precincts combined in
                                                                            the White House. He explained
our beloved city, New Orleans is      various locations throughout the
                                                                            with endearment his “new
once again confronted with the        city. Bus travel may be available
                                                                            relationship” with President Bush.
unknown fate of what’s to come.       in some areas and the temporary
                                                                            “I don’t know how it happened”
There are many challenges ahead       voting polls may be constructed
                                                                            he says “but we talk and I can get
in the upcoming elections for New     in major cities throughout the
                                                                            the resources I need, I have been
Orleans but Mayor Ray Nagin           United States.
                                                                            frank with him and he respects
believes that these obstacles can        Another alternative for New
                                                                            that.” Mayor Nagin is confident
and will be overcome. According       Orleans residents is to write a
                                                                            that his vision for the city will be
to demographic reports, New           letter requesting a ballot if you
                                                                            a joint effort at the top levels of
Orleans is re-populating at a         have not received your “blue
                                                                            government. “ Everyone wants
steady rate. Between 198,000          card” by mail. Your voting ballot
                                                                            to know how they can help”, he
– 0,000 residents have moved        is an affidavit for your protection
                                                                            says, and according to the mayor,
back to the city. Thousands of        that is mailed back out. Your
                                                                            he usually has an answer right
natives returned home for the         ballot is then sent to New Orleans
                                                                            then. Mayor Nagin said that he is
Mardi Gras celebrations which         to be counted. The problem
                                                                            predicting an “ecomonic boom”
gave many city officials hope         with this system, is time and the
                                                                            in the city of New Orleans within
for their future efforts to rebuild   possibility of damaged or lost
                                                                            the next 5-10 years. His agenda is
their communities. However,           ballots. With all of these theories
                                                                            based on 1/ of affordable housing
with the threat of the absence of     and concerns, and with the eyes
                                                                            to residents, 50 million dollars set
absentee voters, many candidates      of the world watching, the voting
                                                                            aside for small businesses and new
are concerned that reaching their     situation in New Orleans will set
                                                                            corporate companies bringing
citizens will not be easy.            a monumental precedent that
                                                                            jobs and opportunity into the city.    were mad and someone needed         stand before you because to the
   Voting in the city of New          will ultimately effect the way
                                                                            The current state of education in      to see their frustrations. He       people who have come before
Orleans, according to Mayor           elections are handled from now
                                                                            New Orleans is being decided as        believes that he was the catalyst   me; people like Dutch Morial, the
Nagin, will be available to all       on. The question on the minds of
                                                                            well. Mayor Nagin says that there      to do that. Mayor Nagin explains    first black mayor of New Orleans.
registered voters who have            many voters is how do you have a
                                                                            will be 0-40 schools reopening        that Hurricane Katrina “exposed     I have to carry out this mission.”
returned as well as New Orleans       democratic voting process when
                                                                            next season. “New Orleans will         the under belly of poverty and         For information on voting for
residents who may drive in from       the system of democracy has
                                                                            still a place to come and have fun     woke up black folks to a certain    the April , 006 elections go
other areas. Voting will take place   been temporarily disconnected?
at “super precincts”; several            A more pressing issue for all      and experience our rich culture”       extent.” He explains that there     to www.ladatanews.com or www.
                                                                            he explained.                          is a “different mindset” in both    NOLA.com.




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                                                                     STATE & LOCAL NEWS


             Rights Community Divided over
              ‘Illegal’ New Orleans Election
George E. Curry
NNPA Columnist

    WASHINTON (NNPA) – With             said local citizens are eager
 elections in New Orleans a month       to exercise their right to vote
 away, the civil rights community       and do not want any further
 is deeply divided over whether         postponements of the April                                                                                  RECOVERY
 to mobilize displaced citizens to      election. “We continue to have our                                                                              ALERT
 vote or boycott the controversial      hopes deferred,” he explained.
 election because it flagrantly         Fields said if the election is to
 violates several key provisions        proceed, then all of the resources
 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.         used to evacuate residents of
 On one side are Jesse Jackson and      New Orleans – including the
 Political Scientist Ronald Walters.    military – should be mobilized
 On the other side is an umbrella
 group spearheaded by the
                                        to bring them back to vote.
                                        Jackson has organized an April 1
                                                                                               If You Were Impacted by
 National Coalition on Black Civic
 Participation called ReBuild Hope
                                        rally and protest in New Orleans
                                        to demand that the election be
                                                                                              Hurricane Katrina or Rita,
 NOW, the NAACP Legal Defense
 and Educational Fund, the Lawyers
                                        postponed. His rally is expected
                                        to focus on the right of residents
                                                                                        You May be Eligible for Help from FEMA.
 Committee for Civil Rights Under       to return, the right to a protected
 the Law, activist Ron Daniels and      vote, the right of workers to
 many of the residents themselves.      organize and the right of displaced                              The deadline to register for
 Walters said he had recently           residents to have priority to job
 changed his position, first            trainingandgovernmentcontracts.                               FEMA assistance is April 10, 2006.
 feeling that Black voters should       Ironically, both sides agree that
 be mobilized for the election          the election violates the Voting
 and now thinking they should           Rights Act. However, they
 stay away from the polls.              differ on what to do about it.                   There are a number of disaster programs for which you
 “This     process     makes       us   In fact, the ReBuild Hope
 complicit – all of us – in             NOW Campaign, of which the                         may be eligible. The programs include: temporary
 administering an illegal election,”    National Newspaper Publishers
 Walters argued “There is a             Association is a member, is not                     housing assistance, replacement grants for serious
 conflict and the conflict ought        only urging displaced citizens to
 to be resolved. I don’t think          vote, but is holding four weekends                disaster related needs and home repair not covered by
 We should go down this                 of voter empowerment activities
 parallel [strategy of protesting       that include mayoral debates.                   private insurance, or other assistance programs including
 the election while mobilizing          The debates, to be moderated by
 voters] as mature adults.”             this writer and Norman Robinson,                    low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small
 Walters, Jackson and Louisiana         an anchor for WDSU-TV in New
 State Sen. Cleo Fields made an         Orleans, are scheduled for March                Business Administration. You do not need to complete a
 unscheduled appearance last            5 in Houston, March 1 in New
 week at a ReBuild Hope strategy        Orleans, April 8 in Atlanta and                    loan application with the SBA to be considered for
 meeting in Washington, D.C.            April 15 in Baton Rouge. This
 Jackson said at that meeting           Friday’s mayoral forum will                          FEMA’s temporary housing assistance or funds
 that he could never urge               be at  PM at St. Johns United
 anyone not to vote, but it was         Methodist Church in downtown                      for certain other disaster related needs you may have.
 clear from his comments                Houston, 019 Crawford Street.
 that he supports Walters’              A     toll-free       hotline       (1-877-
 position of non-participation          914-HOPE) and Web site
 in the upcoming election.              ( w w w. r e b u i l d h o p e n o w. n e t )             Call FEMA to register or go online
 ‘’We have to live with the             have      been         established        to
 outcome of an illegal election,’’      assist Gulf Coast survivors.
                                                                                           1-800-621-FEMA (6:00 a.m. – Midnight daily EST)
 an impassioned Jackson said. ‘’If      “The Unity ‘06/ReBuild Hope                                       TTY 1-800-462-7585
 we support the illegal election        Now Campaign is the most
 then we, in fact, undermine the        comprehensive umbrella effort
                                                                                                         http://www.fema.gov
 Voting Rights Act. That’s the          currently being undertaken                                Multilingual operators are available
 real problem with this thing.’’        by       African-American               led
 Veteran political organizer Ron        organizations to address black
 Daniels urged Jackson to mount a       voter turnout and protection in
                                                                                          Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex,
 legal challenge to the election, but   the New Orleans 006 municipal                           religion, national origin, age, disability, or economic status.
 regardless of that outcome, the        elections, in addition to focusing               If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you should call
 Black vote should be mobilized.        on other important issues such                       FEMA at 800-621-3362 or contact your State Office of Equal Rights.
 Vincent Sylvain, a displaced New       as relief, recovery, and rebuilding
 Orleans community organizer,           in the Gulf Coast region
                                                           continued on page 6
Page 6      March 5, 006           New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                                                                         www.ladatanews.com


                                                                STATE & LOCAL NEWS


         The Fight for SUNO’s Future
                                                                                                                                                                                           Election
                                                                                                                                                                    continued from page 5
                                         open admissions and return                        In years past many New                                                 relative to the catastrophes         river again, by urging them to
   By: Benjamin Bates                    the programs that were cut.”                   Orleans residents have used                                               of Hurricanes Katrina and            participate in an election that
                                         “In addition we want SUNO                      SUNO as a passageway to the                                               Rita in 005,” Vincent T.            will violate the very spirit of
      The future of Southern             to be strengthened and not                     middle class but that door may                                                                                 democracy represented by
                                                                                                                                                                  Sylvain, regional director of
   University at New Orleans the         weakened.”                                     soon be closing, “This act by the                                                                              their numbers? There can
                                                                                                                                                                  ReBuild Hope, explained in
   only state university for African-       But for now SUNO’s future                   board of regents may impede                                                                                    be no justice election under
                                                                                                                                                                  a letter to the moderators
   Americans in the city lies in the     remains uncertain, as present                  and impair our young people to                                                                                 the present circumstances
                                                                                                                                                                  of the mayoral forums.
   balance. Recently, twenty of          students and the potential pool                have opportunities for obtaining                                                                               and those who would re-take
                                                                                                                                                                  “Besides providing a platform
   the thirty-seven undergraduate        of student remains scattered all               a higher education in the days to                                                                              the city of New Orleans have
                                                                                                                                                                  whereby residents may engage
   programs were cut from the            over the country. Also with the                come,” says DeForest Cornish                                                                                   designed an election to ensure
                                                                                                                                                                  the      mayoral      candidates,
   curriculum during a restruct-         restructuring of its programs the              an educator and SUNO graduate                                                                                  that outcome. By protesting
                                                                                                                                                                  Unity     ‘06/ReBuild        Hope
   uring of the institution. Some        history and legacy of this storied             who presently teaches in the New                                                                               this vote, at every step, we are
                                                                                                                                                                  NOW partners will, as part
   of which included eight of its        university may be in jeopardy.                 York City Public School System.                                                                                on the right side of history, the
                                                                                                                                                                  of each Voter Empowerment
   Secondary Education programs,                                                                                                                                                                       Voting Rights Act and justice
                                                                                                                                                                  Weekend, educate and instruct
   as well as Physics, Engineering,                                                                                                                                                                    for the victims of Katrina.”
                                                                                                                                                                  New Orleans residents on
   Political Science, History and                                                                                                                                                                      The low-key movement to
                                                                                                                                                                  the absentee and early voting
   several others.                                                                                                                                                                                     get New Orleans residents
                                                                                                                                                                  process,” Sylvain continued.
      This sudden action left many                                                                                                                                                                     to boycott the election
                                                                                                                                                                  “Additionally,        participants
   of its present students angry                                                                                                                                                                       places some leaders in an
                                                                                                                                                                  will have the opportunity to
   and frustrated questioning their                                                                                                                                                                    uncomfortable – and some
                                                                                                                                                                  gain insightful information
   academic futures; as SUNO                                                                                                                                                                           say, indefensible – position.
                                                                                                                                                                  on other pertinent topics
   has traditionally been one                                                                                                                                                                          Having worked for decades
                                                                                                                                                                  such      as     redevelopment
   of the university many local                                                                                                                                                                        to increase Black voter
                                                                                                                                                                  plans,            environmental
   African-Americans         residents                                                                                                                                                                 turnout and participation,
                                                                                                                                                                  concerns, insurance, their
   use as a means of educating                                                                                                                                                                         it’s strange for them to
                                                                                                                                                                  health       and      education.”
   themselves. Avis White is the                                                                                                                                                                       suddenly recommend that
                                                                                                                                                                  State Sen. Cleo Fields had
   Student Government Association                                                                                                                                                                      African-Americans not vote.
                                                                                                                                                                  sent a letter to the Justice
   President and is a vocal                                                                                                                                                                            The position taken by boycott
                                                                                                                                                                  Department        citing     what
   opponent of the restructuring                                                                                                                                                                       advocates has been made
                                                                                                                                                                  he described as numerous
   and has been speaking out at                                                                                                                                                                        more tenuous by a recent poll
                                                                                                                                                                  violations of the Voting Rights
   forums around the state in a                                                                                                                                                                        that shows that contrary to
                                                                                                                                                                  Act. He noted that “00 of
   fight to reinstate the programs                                                                                                                                                                     earlier predictions, Blacks are
                                                                                                                                                                  the city’s 44 –primarily in
   that have been cut from the                                                                                                                                                                         returning to New Orleans at
                                                                                                                                                                  black neighborhoods – voting
   university. “In this restructuring                                                                                                                                                                  higher rates than anticipated
                                                                                                                                                                  precincts are unavailable
   we lost very valuable and viable                                                                                                                                                                    and are expected to make
                                                                                                                                                                  for     voting    because       of
   programs that are important to                                                                                                                                                                      up the majority of voters
                                                                                                                                                                  damage sustained in and
   the functioning and purpose of                                                                                                                                                                      casting ballots next month.
                                                                                                                                                                  after     Hurricane       Katrina.
   this university.” She continues,                                                                                                                                                                    Professor Jeff Sadow of
                                                                                                                                                                  “As a result of the changes in
                                                                                                                                  Photo credit: James Terry III




   “We lost most of our secondary                                                                                                                                                                      Louisiana State University-
                                                                                                                                                                  precinct location and arguably
   education programs, and our                                                                                                                                                                         Shreveport, has come up
                                                                                                                                                                  deliberate lack of information
   science programs as well.”                                                                                                                                                                          with a study that paints a
                                                                                                                                                                  the State has provided
      The elimination of these                                                                                                                                                                         different picture of political
                                                                                                                                                                  associated therewith, the State
   majors are a result of a December                                                                                                                                                                   empowerment          in     post-
                                                                                                                                                                  has caused voter confusion
   8th 005 meeting of the Southern                                                                                                                                                                    Katrina       New       Orleans.
                                                                                                                                                                  which will clearly lead to
   University Board of Regents              Recently selected Southern University new System President Dr. Ralph Slaughter                                                                             “His new study suggests
                                            said one of his first jobs is to work on rebuilding the New Orleans campus, get the                                   voter dilution,” Fields wrote.
   where Mr. Gerard Killebrew                                                                                                                                                                          that          African-Americans
                                            students back, but deep curriculum cuts could threaten his plans                                                      Jackson and NAACP President
   the Associate Commissioner                                                                                                                                                                          have and will return faster
                                                                                                                                                                  Bruce Gordon had expressed
   for Academic Affairs requested        Which would be a shame says                       As for now SUNO student                                                                                     than previously estimated,
                                                                                                                                                                  optimism that the U.S.
   program cuts due to low number        many of the proponents of                      populations has dwindled by                                                                                    strengthening the campaigns
                                                                                                                                                                  Department of Justice would
   of students completing the            bringing back the programs that                nearly forty percent and is                                                                                    of Democrats in the short term,
                                                                                                                                                                  intervene and not pre-clear
   programs, or in the instance of       have been loss. Some forecast                  presently and the campus is                                                                                    and eventually returning the
                                                                                                                                                                  the election, as required
   secondary teacher education           that in the larger picture that                in a state of disrepair. But Dr.                                                                               Crescent City to Black majority
                                                                                                                                                                  by the Voting Rights Act.
   where he said were duplicated at      New Orleans may suffer long                    Amedee sees some signs of                                                                                      status by the end of the year.”
                                                                                                                                                                  However, Attorney General
   the University of New Orleans.        term ramifications because since               hope, “It’s been said that if we get                                                                           The      newspaper        quotes
                                                                                                                                                                  Alberto Gonzales announced
      Avis White and many others         opening its doors in 1959 the                  our enrollment up some of those                                                                                Sadow: “Even if Blacks are
                                                                                                                                                                  last Thursday that the Justice
   are ardent adversaries in this        school has been the bridge that                programs that were eliminated                                                                                  not returning to the city in the
                                                                                                                                                                  Department has approved the
   heated battle for the future of the   many African-Americans in New                  may return.” But since that is                                                                                 proportion, 7 percent, that
                                                                                                                                                                  election for mayor, City Council
   university as possible litigation     Orleans have crossed that has                  not the present reality Ms. White                                                                              comprised evacuees, it appears
                                                                                                                                                                  and other positions and it can
   may be around the corner. She         catapulted them into the middle-               and her cohorts are continuing                                                                                 a majority, about 57 percent,
                                                                                                                                                                  now go forward on April .
   says, “We must do whatever            class. Dr. George Amedee, a                    the fight to maintain SUNO as                                                                                  of the returnees are Black.”
                                                                                                                                                                  But the election should
   we need to do legally to protect      political science professor at                 the beacon light leading the                                                                                   Of course, any modestly
                                                                                                                                                                  go forward without the
   and preserve our university.”         SUNO says, “The elimination                    African-American        population                                                                             effective boycott movement
                                                                                                                                                                  participation      of     African-
   Her passion and perseverance          of these programs may have an                  of New Orleans into the future,                                                                                might dampen political clout
                                                                                                                                                                  Americans, Ron Walters says.
   is evident as she states, “We         adverse effect and discourage                  and she is keeping the fate and                                                                                and do what neither of the civil
                                                                                                                                                                  Writing in his NNPA syndicated
   don’t want the character of           some potential students because                leading the charge as she says,                                                                                rights camps want – to further
                                                                                                                                                                  column this week, he said:
   SUNO to change, and we want           it limits their choices of what to             “We will continue to fight for                                                                                 diminish Black political power
                                                                                                                                                                  “Most important, should we
   our school to remain a four year      study.”                                        our university and our right to a                                                                              in New Orleans.
                                                                                                                                                                  be complicit in helping to sell
   degree granting institution, with                                                    higher education.”                                                        the victims of Katrina down the
                         www.ladatanews.com                                                                            New Orleans Data News Weekly              March 5, 006         Page 7


                                                                    NATIONAL NEWS

                    Florida Parents Request Second
By. Saeed Shabazz
                      Autopsy in Boot Camp Death
                                      medical examiner ruled that            these issues,” Florida NAACP            America on the autopsy findings.          The U.S. Justice Department
                                      Martin died from natural causes        state conference chairman Adora         The family attorney called the         announced on Feb. 15 that it
   Washington (NNPA) - The            not related to the beating.            Obi Nweze stated, stressing that        medical examiner’s report a “case      is investigating possible civil
family of Martin Lee Anderson,           “This child is the modern-day       the madness has to stop.                of home cooking” or giving the         rights violations in the case. The
a 14-year-old who died in early       Emmett Till,” argues Florida              “These facilities have taken         sheriff’s office what they wanted,     NAACP in Florida told reporters
January after entering a Florida      State Senator Frederica Wilson.        advantage of our young Black            according to the Miami Herald.         they were requesting a statewide
boot camp for juveniles, asked        “You have to see the photos of this    men, using chokeholds to make              The Sickle Cell Disease             independent prosecutor, and
that his body be exhumed for          child’s face to understand what I      them say, ‘Yes, sir.’ Our children      Association of America has not         asking the U.S. Attorney’s office
a second autopsy, according to        am saying.”                            have no voice,” she insisted.           been silent on this issue.             to probe possible civil rights
various news reports.                    Sen. Wilson said that the Bay          Martin was sent to the camp             “Attributing the death of this      violations in the case. On Feb. 1,
   The family attorney told the       County boot camp was closed            after an arrest in June for allegedly   young man to sickle cell trait,        Governor Jeb Bush appointed the
Associated Press that Dr. Michael     Feb. 1 after the Florida State        stealing his grandmother’s jeep         given the punishments he was           special prosecutor.
Baden, a New York City-based          Black Legislative Caucus and           and later violating his probation by    put through, does a disservice to         Activists charge that Martin
forensic pathologist who reviewed     Florida State office of the NAACP      trespassing at a school, according      the public and those in the sickle     was the third Black youth to die
the medical evidence in the slaying   demanded its closing.                  to officials. On Feb. 16, the Bay       cell disease community,” said Dr.      in a boot camp supervised by the
of civil rights leader Medgar            “The Black Legislative Caucus       County chief medical examiner           Willarda V. Edwards, president of      Florida Department of Juvenile
Evers, would be asked to perform      has closed down 10 of the 17 boot      ruled that his death was due to a       the association. “It is our desire     Justice.
the second autopsy. The AP said       camps in the state of Florida, and     genetic blood disorder caused by        that everyone is well educated and        According to Nweze, the
that Dr. Baden has not responded      you have to know that the Bay          a sickle cell trait, which caused       that they know that this attempt       NAACP plans on holding a town
to calls for a comment.               County facility was the worse,”        him to bleed to death.                  to declare sickle cell trait as the    hall meeting in Panama City to
   A videotape shows young            Sen. Wilson said.                         The Florida Southern Christian       cause of Mr. Anderson’s death          discuss the issue of boot camps.
Anderson being beaten, kneed             “There is a serious need for        Leadership Conference (SCLC)            is not medically well-grounded.        She said, “There is a real sense of
and dragged by guards at the          systemic changes, and we won’t         said they wanted to hear from the       Justice has yet to be served in this   urgency on our part to get to the
Panama City facility only hours       stop pressing the state to deal with   Sickle Cell Disease Association of      case.”                                 bottom of this.”
after his arrival, but the chief


        Gen. Russell Honore and
          John Hope Franklin                                                                                          RE-ELECT
        Honored by Black Press                                                   Erroll Williams
By. Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Washington
Correspondent
                                                                                                      Assessor

                                                                                                                                                   #28
   WASHINGTON              (NNPA)
– U. S. Army Lt. General
Russell L. Honore, who gained
national attention for his voice
of compassion for Hurricane
Katrina victims still trapped in
the city days after the disaster,
has encouraged Black publishers
to continue being a “mirror” for
America.
   Receiving the 005 Newsmaker
of the Year Award during the
National Newspaper Publishers
Association Foundation’s Black
                                      help America see itself. Continue
                                      to help America see itself, but stay
                                                                                                                                                            Saturday,
Press Week activities last week,
Honore responded, “I thank you
                                      off the bus.”                                                                                                         April 22,
all for this opportunity to be here
for this great award. But, there’s
                                         Honore, now commanding
                                      general of the U.S. First Army                                                                                          2006
                                      at Fort Gillem, Ga., shared
much work left to be done.            the limelight with the Lifetime
   “A lot of people need help. Many   Achievement Award winner
of them are in your towns. They
are in your cities,” said Honore,
                                      historian John Hope Franklin.
                                         With a charismatic personality,
                                                                                       A FULL-TIME PROFESSIONALLY
who served as commander
of Joint Task Force-Katrina, a
                                      the three-star general drew laughs
                                      and applause with the “bus” quip.                   TRAINED TAX ASSESSOR
disaster and relief effort by the
Department of Defense. “And in
                                      He was referring to reporters who
                                      became so involved in the story
                                                                                               WWW.OPBA3MD@BELLSOUTH.NET
the business you’re in, you hold
that mirror up for America. You                    continued on page 13
Page 8            March 5, 006                  New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                              www.ladatanews.com


                                                                                               DATA ZONE


    Gordon Parks A Legacy of Vision for Black America
                                                                                  By Cheryl Mainor               the world over. He was a       planet dissatisfied with
                                                                                                                 true pioneer.                  themselves.”
                                                                                     The beginning of the            Gordon Parks’ ground          Parks to his many
                                                                                  21st Century for Black         breaking journey from a        credits,      was       the
                                                                                  America has brought with       poor high-school dropout       first black American
                                                                                  it a seemingly endless         to a black pioneer left        photojournalist for Life
                                                                                  stream of good-byes to         a legacy of unblinking         Magazine and the first
                                                                                  our beloved and famed          photographs,          genre-   leading Black filmmaker
                                                                                  Civil Rights Icons. And        forging movies, novels,        with     major       motion
                                                                                  as we still struggle to        poetry, music and even         pictures “The Learning
                                                                                  move past the loss of our      a ballet.       He was in      Tree” and his best known
                                                                                  mothers, Rosa Parks,           the truest sense of the        movie      “Shaft” which
                                                                                  C. Delores Tucker and          word, the quintessential       starred Richard Roundtree.     Gordon Parks, Renaissance Man, was
                                                                                  Coretta Scott King, and        Renaissance man.               He even appeared in the
                                                                                                                                                                               known by many as the first Black
                                                                                                                                                                               photojournalist for Life magazine, and
                                                                                  some of our fathers,               “I think most people       remake starring Samuel L.      by others as the creator of Shaft.
                                                                                  Lou Rawls, Ossie Davis,        can do a whole lot more,       Jackson, giving the remake
                                                                                  Brock Peters, we add to                                                                       in the United States and
                                                                                                                 if they just try” said Parks   his blessing. He was also       abroad and on the spirit of
                                                                                  the list of these greats       in an interview he gave        an accomplished composer
                                                                                  Gordon Parks. The man                                                                         the Civil Rights Movement.
                                                                                                                 in 2001 when he was            and author. Roundtree says         Said    Parks,   “Those
                                                                                  who made us so proud,          awarded by the Black           of Parks, “Gordon was the
                                                                                  and carried Black Power                                                                       special problems spawned
                                                                                                                 Press of America for his       ultimate cool. There is no      by poverty and crime
                                                                                  on his shoulders, and          lifetime       achievement.    one cooler than Gordon
                                                                                  used his lens to capture                                                                      touched me more, and I
                                                                                                                 “They just don’t have          Parks.”                         dug into them with more
                                                                                  the proud face of Black        the confidence that they          Parks       photography
                                                                                  America,       and      then                                                                  enthusiasm, they revealed
                                                                                                                 can write a novel, or they     covered everything from         the superiority of the lens
                                                                                  display it for all the world   can write poetry or they       fashion to sports during
                                                                                  to see. His commentary                                                                        of my camera to explore the
                                                                                                                 can just take pictures         his 0 years at Life from       dilemmas they posed.”
                                                                                  was bold, stark and left       or paint or whatever,          1948 to 1968, but it was his
American Gothic, this photo series chronicled the day to day life of a Black      no room for denial about                                                                         Gordon Parks died on
government cleaning woman, Ella Watson, and exposed the evils of racism,                                         so they just don’t do          gritty photo essays on the      March 7, 006 in New York
the evils of poverty, the discrimination and the bigotry, by showing the people   the conditions of the          it, then they leave this       grinding effects of poverty
who suffered most under it.                                                       poor and the underclass                                                                       at the age of 9.




          Come home to your new home through
            EMPOWERMENT not entitlement!
                           www.ladatanews.com                   New Orleans Data News Weekly   March 5, 006   Page 9


                                                    DATA ZONE


Review and Photos by: Glenn
Summers
                                                The Old Settler
   Anthony Bean Community
Theater strikes gold once
again with its latest production
John Henry Redwood’s award
winning/drama (The Old Settler
directed by Anthony Bean). The
play is set in the 1940’s in Harlem,
New York where Elizabeth
Borny(played by veteran actress
Pat McGuire Hill) lives with
her sister, Quilly McGrath
(played by veteran actress
Carol Sutton). The plot thickens
when they take in a young and
impressionable male roommate;
Husband Whitherspoon (played
by newcomer Kenneth Brown
Jr.) who moves in to help with the
rent. Husband has traveled from
South Carolina to Harlem and
up to this point has engaged in a
futile searched for his girlfriend
Lou Bessie Preston (played by
newcomer Amber Wilkinson).
His search comes to an abrupt
end when Lou Bessie arrives at
Elizabeth Borny’s door stirring
up a frenzy with her unwelcome
presence as the young sultry,
energetic vixen that will do
anything to keep her man.
   Husband is a naïve country
bumpkin trying to adapt to life
in the big city and who will do
anything to keep his beloved
Lou Bessie. But as he continues
to live among the sisters he
becomes embroiled in a heated
romance with Elizabeth who
has become smitten with him,
much to the chagrin of Quilly
who questions the morality of
her sister for becoming involved
with a man thirty years her junior.
This play is a battle of youth
versus maturity, forbidden love,
betrayal and forgiveness. This is
a unique, interesting and offbeat
play that is comic as well as tragic;
it is emotionally compelling and
entertaining. It is a must see
play, as the Anthony Bean is on a
winning streak that sees no end in
sight.
   For more information on
the play schedule go to www.
anthonybeantheater.com.




     www.ladatanews.com
Page 10      March 5, 006          New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                          www.ladatanews.com




By: Eddie Francis                                                                                                                          was at that meeting that Simms received
                                                                                                                                           the motivation to make a difference
   Although she has been a Data News                                                                                                       among hurricane evacuees in her new
Weekly Trailblazer before, ChiQuita                                                                                                        Atlanta community. She recalls that
Simms has found another trail to blaze                                                                                                     Mayor Nagin spoke about the city’s plans
thanks to Hurricane Katrina. As for so                                                                                                     to go forward with Mardi Gras. Simms
many other New Orleanians, Katrina is the                                                                                                  felt that something was not right. “(The
one of the worst and perhaps one of the                                                                                                    evacuees) felt that this wasn’t right to do
best things to happen to them. Her story                                                                                                   Mardi Gras when so many people still
is different, in that life started throwing                                                                                                needed so much,” she says.
serious challenges at her even before that                                                                                                    What shocked her and other town hall
fateful day of August 9, 005. Being the                                                                                                  meeting attendees was that they felt that
resilient woman that she is, she has found                                                                                                 they had gotten mixed messages about
a way to turn all of her challenges into                                                                                                   the City of New Orleans’ commitment
great opportunities for herself and those                                                                                                  to the annual pre-Lent celebration. “We
around her.                                                                                                                                listened to Mayor Nagin and felt bad
   Simms’ life-changing journey started in                                                                                                 for him because we were under the
July of last year. It was at that time that                                                                                                impression that he had been forced to go
she was going about her usual business                                                                                                     through with Mardi Gras by the krewes.




                                                 CHIQUITA SIMMS
of being the energetic freewheeling, deal                                                                                                  Come to find out, it was a City of New
making founder and HNIC of DIVAdend                                                                                                        Orleans production! They even wanted to
Entertainment, Ltd. at the 005 Essence                                                                                                    sell sponsorships! How are you going to
Music Festival. Life intervened when her                                                                                                   have Mardi Gras but have people with no
Uptown apartment caught fire and forced                                                                                                    place to stay?” she wonders.
her to live from hotel rooms to friends’                                                                                                      Simms decided that it was time for her
houses. Simms took it on the chin and                                                                                                      to do something. She spoke to various
kept moving.                                  that simple. In Simms’ case it got a little   who chose to stay behind.                      New Orleanians in Atlanta and found that
   Ironically it was Simms’ perpetual         more complicated.                                 There were other factors that made         almost none of them, particularly African-
motion that drew her attention away from         Most evacuees headed west but              life in Atlanta very frustrating for Simms.    Americans, cared about Mardi Gras 006.
the threat of Hurricane Katrina. Prior to     Simms and her party headed east. They         Once she got as firm a grip as she could       They, like so many others, simply wanted
Katrina’s arrival on the Gulf Coast, Simms    figured that they would find a place to       on herself, she realized that her funds        to come back home in order to put their
had been traveling from New York City         stay in Mississippi but many places were      were running low. That meant that she          lives together. “I talked to a lot of people.
to Las Vegas on business. It was when         packed with evacuees. They moved on to        had to get out of her hotel room, find         I even talked to Judge Kern Reese, who’s
she stopped in New Orleans on August          Alabama where they got a place to stay.       another room and eventually start looking      my mentor. And he told me, ‘ChiQuita,
7th, on her way to Vegas that she found      Unfortunately that only lasted for one        for a place to live in Atlanta. Beyond that,   you’ve got to follow your heart.’” That is
out that the then-category five storm         day since Alabama was preparing for the       was the mere frustration that she was in       precisely what she did.
was tearing through the Gulf of Mexico        storm, also. Removed from their hotel         a community that simply did not seem to           Drawing from the energy that led to
towards Louisiana and Mississippi. “I was     rooms, the team moved on to Atlanta; and      care what she and other New Orleanians         her company’s success, Simms called
in New York the week before, and wasn’t       that is where they stayed. That is also       were going through. She comments, “It          on evacuees to make their voices heard
a big deal in there. So I had no idea that    where Simms’ life took another dramatic       makes you mad. This is your town. These        about their disapproval of the City’s
the storm was headed towards us. Then         turn.                                         are your friends and family. I went through    aggressive pursuit of Mardi Gras versus
I got home on Saturday and found out we          Like so many others, Simms spent her       a lot of emotions. Atlanta didn’t respond      their passive approach to helping citizens
were probably going to take a direct hit,”    days after the storm blew over the Gulf       well to us. They had this attitude that they   put their lives back together, primarily
she recalls.                                  Coast frightened. She, like others, could     weren’t going to put up with all those wild    through temporary housing. The stage
   Simms’ reaction to Katrina was no          not contact her family who decided to         New Orleans people. It wasn’t the same         for their boycott of Mardi Gras would be
different than many folks’ collective         ride out the storm, as she was clueless       welcome that Houston gave people from          the annual Saints/Falcons grudge match
reaction. Like many other New Orleans         about their safety. She also feared for       New Orleans.”                                  in the Georgia Dome. She used her
natives, Simms seriously considered           the well being of her native New Orleans.         Fast-forward to one of Mayor Nagin’s       public relations experience to publicize
riding the storm out until her friends        “I was glued to the TV like CNN was a         town hall meetings in Atlanta a couple of      the boycott on local Atlanta channels. It
all decided to make a road trip out their     soap opera,” she says. “People in Atlanta     months later. Simms was in attendance          worked very well as she received attention
evacuation. Also, like many other New         were desensitized to the whole situation      as a press person, ironically as a reporter    from local channels as well as national and
Orleanians, the group figured that they       because they didn’t understand the extent     for Data News Weekly. She sat with other       international press. Along with the media
would hang out somewhere else until the       of the damage.” One can only imagine          media personnel from media giants such         support came moral and community
history-making hurricane passed over the      how unnerving the situation was for her       as CNN, the Associated Press, the Fox          support from those who finally understood
area, then return to the Crescent City to     as all she could think about was that her     News Network and other national outlets,       the challenges evacuees had been facing.
get back to business. Obviously it was not    mother was one of the family members          and even international media outlets. It
                           www.ladatanews.com                                                                                    New Orleans Data News Weekly                March 5, 006        Page 11


                                                                                         OPINION

           A Beautiful Journey:                                                                            Sham Election in New Orleans
         The Life of Gordon Parks
                                                   literature, and music. He had a phenomenal                                                                 caused by the damage, these two mailings
                                                   career of expression, transforming a                                                                       can be delayed up to two weeks, a delay that
                                                   society visually, and mobilizing a culture                                                                 alone may disenfranchise voters.
                                                   filled with bigotry and its complexities,                                                                     Vote dilution could also occur because
                                                   and through his art he challenged the                                                                      state law requires first-time voters to
                                                   powers that influence and controlled the                                                                   register in person. Therefore, if someone
                                                   disenfranchised.                                                                                           wants to vote for the first time and they
                                                                                                                                                              have been sent out of the state because
                                                      Ironically, in 1941 Gordon Parks was the                                                                of the hurricane, coming back to register
                                                   first photographer to receive a fellowship                Ron Walters                                      in person amounts to a modern poll tax,
                                                   from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation.
  Glen Summers                                     His first professional assignment was in the              NNPA Columnist                                   an exorbitant expense for attempting to
                                                                                                                                                              exercise the right to vote, much worse than
                                                   heart of Washington D.C.where he worked
  Data Columnist                                   as a photojournalist for the FSA (Farm
                                                                                                                                                              the old poll tax of $.50.
                                                                                                                                                                 It gets worse.
                                                   Security Administration). documenting                      I was recently given a document authored           If you get a ballot to be executed by
                                                   the effects of the depression afflicted by              by Louisiana State Senator Cleo Fields (D-         absentee vote, because of the avalanche
   A photographer’s job is to visually inform,     the very agency that employed him. On his               Baton Rouge), who was in Washington,               of candidates seeking to replace Mayor
enlighten and inspire. It is important that        first day of employment he staged a shot                D.C. visiting the Justice Department as part       Nagin and others, the ballot is expected to
one execute their God given talents in the         of a government employee, a charwoman,                  of a delegation led by Rev. Jesse Jackson,         be approximately 5 pages long. Of course,
attempt to make a difference in our already        (a women hired to clean buildings)                      Sr. The document was so startling that it          a ballot 5 pages long is a recipe for vote
troubled and tainted society. Gordon Parks         named Ella Watson. This powerful image                  has caused me to conclude that the election        dilution, because many people, rather than
helped make minorities professionally              displays an economically deprived African-              planed for April  in New Orleans is – and        struggling through it, will throw it in the
relevant in a world where for such a long          American woman flanked with a mop and                   will be – a sham.                                  trash or procrastinate until it is too late to
time they were excluded. As an artist I’ve         broom in front of the American flag, the                   To begin with, it points out that under         send it back.
found myself inspired by the life of this          photograph was a symbol conveying the                   Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, changes           Although my eyesight is not what it used
extraordinary man, he is the artistic muse         hypocrisy of a so-called free nation and                to voting procedures in states covered             to be, I still know a rat when I see one
for so many aspiring artist including myself.      how minorities are perceived in a world                 by the Act, must be submitted to the                  and this rat has been arranged to
Parks is a renaissance man who fought              dominated by a Eurocentric establishment.               Justice Department for approval or ‘’pre-          exclude tens of thousands of Black voters
against the odds and his life will continue        With the support of his then mentor Roy                 clearance.’’ But the City of New Orleans           in order to turn the city of New Orleans
to be an inspiration for creative people for       Stryker, who bravely published his photos               has authorized changes in the election             back over to the city with a White majority.
generations to come.                               in the Washington Post, they became                     procedures, such as moving the date of the         So, the question is whether the civil rights
   In an era intensely devoured by racial          visual evidence and an indictment of an                 election, re-arranging the voting precincts,       community, well-intended though it may be,
discrimination, poverty and with ever              apathetic government and showing that of                and etc., none of which had been approved          should cooperate with this racist political
occurring acts of violence inflicted upon          the American Dream was out of reach for                 by the Justice Department This means that          strategy.
African-American communities across                many.                                                   had the election takes place without Justice          I know it’s hard. We’ve all been taught to
the country, Gordon Parks defied and                  He was most well known for his work as a             Department action, the election will have          vote, almost under any and all circumstances.
transformed the idea of how African-               photographer for Life Magazine. During his              been illegal. Late last week, the Justice          But that is something that has been difficult
Americans were perceived in a Euro-                tenure at Life he gave the world compelling             Department approved the election.                  for me to do, because there comes a time
centric society. His imagination took him          images of the Harlem Riots evoking the                     Second, because of the massive                  and a circumstance when there are larger
beyond the thoughts of being a laborer,            feelings and problems that plagued the                  devastation, some polling stations in the          issues. Here, there is the issue of the
porter, janitor, pimp, street hustler, or          community through the eye of his lens and               city had to be changed, some combined              integrity of the Voting Rights Act itself,
other professions typical for African-             aiding in providing understanding of the                with others. But upon review, Senator              which is at stake, at a time when we are
American males during that period. But             needs not only for African-American but                 Fields has found that some of these stations       fighting for its reauthorization. Should we
by navigating his creative destiny in a            Americans as a whole. Throughout the                    did not exist as functional sites. This means      approve of the kind of reauthorization that
profession not typical of African-Americans,       Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s Parks               that voters cannot vote from these phantom         violates the Act; should we not fight for pre-
armed with a camera he became a prophet,           weapon of choice was his camera, which                  sites, but that votes could be placed there        clearance by the Justice Department; or
chronicling his surroundings and serving           he used to chronicle and highlight the civil            by possibly surreptitious means.                   should be hold fast to the standard of justice
as a messenger for the people. To call him         unrest that was taking place in America.                   Third, the list of eligible voters scattered    expected by those who fought for it in the
a pioneer is an understatement considering         These powerful images visually captured                 throughout the national was given to the           first place? I say hold fast.
all that Gordon Parks accomplished and             the brutality and the injustice and sins                Louisiana Secretary of State, but withheld            Most important, should we be complicit
overcame. He was a leader, a conductor             against humanity.                                       from candidates seeking public office              in helping to sell the victims of Katrina
and a trailblazer who provided the blueprint          He was a man who led a full life which               entitled to the information so that they can       down the river again, by urging them to
of how mankind should live, and execute            was full of wonder and splendor. His life was           communicate with potential voters.                 participate in an election that will violate
and pursue life, liberty and happiness. He         an example of how one can transcend the                    The result is that many citizens do             the very spirit of democracy represented
succeeded by following his true destiny;           artificial yet real barrier of race. And while          not even know there will be an election.           by their numbers? There can be no justice
his passion for art, he lived a life filled with   today we still grapple with racial unrest and           Furthermore, the first time many of those          election under the present circumstances
expression in his many creative endeavors.         misunderstanding we have his example,                   who have prepared to vote will know                and those who would re-take the city of
He is the James Bond of creativity. Gordon         which gives us the faith that yes we can                whom to vote for is when they see the              New Orleans have designed an election to
Parks’ work is a journey within a journey.         overcome any obstacles. Gordon Parks was                ballot. Thus, they must cast their vote            ensure that outcome. By protesting this
                                                   a man whose life exemplified excellence in              under circumstances of imperfect – or no           vote, at every step, we are on the right side
  Parks used the camera as a tool and              the face of adversity, and his life example             – information. What kind of democratic             of history, the Voting Rights Act and justice
a weapon to combat and convey social               has given me the will to aspire; he was a               political process is that?                         for the victims of Katrina.
messages in an attempt to affect humanity.         champion not only for African-Americans                    Section  of the Voting Rights Act says,           Ron Walters is the Distinguished
He used the power of the press to inform           but for all mankind as he conquered and                 in effect, that the Black vote cannot be           Leadership Scholar, Director of the African
and chronicle; reinforcing a movement              subdued the evils that plagued the world                diluted. However, the process of absentee          American Leadership Institute, Professor of
motivating the people and granting African-        with his camera.                                        voting alone may dilute the vote of Blacks         Government and Politics at the University of
Americans hope and strength in their                                                                       and everyone else. First, you must write           Maryland College Park. His latest books are:
                                                   Glenn Summers is a New Orleans based
march towards freedom. His life journey            photographer, writer, and visual artist. For comments   the city election board for an absentee            White Nationalism, Black Interests (Wayne
was a quest in experimentation of diverse          he can be contacted at gsvisxprs@yahoo.com .            ballot, fill it out and mail it back. Because of   State University Press) and Freedom is Not
mediums: art, photography, cinema,                                                                         the changes in addresses and mail stations         Enough, (Rowman and Littlefield).
Page 1      March 5, 006           New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                          www.ladatanews.com



                                                                                      NEWS

               “Louisiana Unity ’06 Rebuild Hope Now Coalition”
                            Protecting the Right to Vote for Displaced Katrina Survivors
    New Orleans, LA – The Louisiana Unity         NOW partners will, as part of each Voter        Weekly, V.O.T.E., Ashe’ Cultural Center,      umbrella effort currently being undertaken
 Coalition has announced a series of New          Empowerment Weekend, educate and                People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond,   by African-American led organizations to
 Orleans Mayoral Candidate Forums hosted          instruct New Orleans residents on the           and the New Orleans Local Organizing          address black voter turnout and protection
 by the National Coalition on Black Civic         Absentee and Early Voting process.              Committee.                                    in the New Orleans 006 municipal
 Participation (NCBCP) in partnership             Additionally, participants will have the           National organizations supporting          elections, in addition to focusing on other
 with the National Urban League (NUL).            opportunity to gain insightful information      this initiative includes; SCLC, 100           important issues such as relief, recovery,
 These non- partisan forums are part of           on other pertinent topics such as               Black Men of America, Atlanta Urban           and rebuilding in the Gulf Coast region
 NCBCP’s Unity ‘06/ReBuild Hope Now               redevelopment plans, environmental              League, Houston Coalition For Black           relative to the catastrophes of Hurricanes
 Campaign’s Katrina Survivors Voter               concerns, insurance, their health and           Civic Participation, Houston Area Urban       of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 005.
 Empowerment Weekends, designed to                education.                                      League, National Education Association,          The National Coalition on Black Civic
 afford displaced New Orleans residents              The forums will be moderated by              American Federation of Teachers, The          Participation, Inc. (NCBCP), through its 80
 with opportunities to remain engaged in          Norman Robinson, New Orleans’ WDSU              People’s Agenda, NAACP Legal Defense          member organizations, 1 state and local
 the electoral process.                           TV6 News Anchor and George Curry,               Fund, Alabama Coalition on Black Civic        affiliates, and strategic partners, serves as
    Four separate forums are scheduled            editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service.       Participation, Institute of the Black         an effective convener and facilitator at the
 in cities wherein an abundance of New            Candidates running for the other elective       World 1st Century, Houston Coalition         local, state and national levels of efforts
 Orleans residents currently reside. Please       offices will also be provided with an           on Black Civic Participation, Black           to address the disenfranchisement of
 note the following dates and locations:          opportunity to meet Expo participants.          Leadership Forum, National Council            African Americans and other marginalized
    •     Houston, TX on Saturday, March             New Orleans-based civic and community        of Negro Women, National Newspaper            communities.
 5, 006                                         organizations invited to participate includes   Publishers’ Association, National Pan-           The National Coalition established
    •     New Orleans, LA on Friday,              among others, Louisiana Unity Coalition,        Hellenic Council, Operation Hope,             the ReBuild Hope NOW Campaign to
 March 1, 006                                   Urban League of Greater New Orleans,            NAFEO, The S.O.S Coalition, NAACP,            assist its affiliates, members, partners
    •     Atlanta, GA on Saturday, April 8,       African American Leadership Project,            .International Association of Black Fire      and sponsors, in sustaining a long-term
 006                                             United Teachers of New Orleans, Deep            Fighters, The Advancement Project,            disaster relief, recovery and rebuilding
    •     Baton Rouge, LA on Saturday,            South Center for Environmental Justice,         International Association of Machinist        effort in the communities destroyed
 April 15, 006                                   Neighborhood Development Foundation,            & Aerospace Workers, Communication            and/or adversely affected by Hurricanes
    The first of the four part series will take   New Orleans Redevelopment Authority,            Workers of American, AFL-CIO, Hip Hop         Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast Region.
 place at the Saint Johns United Methodist        New Orleans Affordable Homeowners,              Caucus, APRI, Common Cause, Center            ReBuild Hope NOW’s primary goal is to
 Church, 019 Crawford Street, in Houston,        New Orleans East Economic Development           for Civic Participation, CBTU, Leadership     provide a prolonged effort, for as long
 Texas. The full day of event will take place     Foundation, Coalition of Minority               Conference on Civil Rights, Black Youth       as necessary, to assist and support the
 from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, with the Mayoral        Contractors of Louisiana, Louis Armstrong       Vote, National Black Caucus of State          millions of survivors of this catastrophe,
 Forums beginning at :00 pm.                     Jazz Camp, Louisiana Legislative Black          Legislators, Blacks in Government and         most especially African Americans, poor
    Besides providing a platform whereby          Caucus, The People’s Hurricane Relief           Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.        people and the underserved, begin the
 residents may engage the mayoral                 Fund & Oversight Committee, New                    The Unity ‘06/ReBuild Hope NOW             long painful task of rebuilding their lives.
 candidates, Unity ‘06/ReBuild Hope               Orleans’ NAACP, Louisiana Data News             Campaign is the most comprehensive               To learn more as to how you




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                           www.ladatanews.com                                                                                                 New Orleans Data News Weekly                                        March 5, 006                     Page 1



                                                                          NATIONAL NEWS
                                                                                W06-20_DNW_6.375x11.67                    2/17/06          2:02 PM           Page 1
continued from page 7
that they gave the public and            New Orleans Data News Weekly.
troops the flawed impression that        Jones’ home and newspaper were
New Orleans was out of control.          destroyed in the flood.




                                                                                Get back to
   “Some would say that I’m a               Jones said, “ I appreciate,
fool to, at night, come in here and      admire and hail you for all the
hang out with the Fourth Estate.         great things that you’ve done for
But I see it as an opportunity           our city. Thank you.”




                                                                                  the good life.
to engage,” Honore told the                 Franklin, one of the country’s
chuckling audience of publishers         foremost historians, is best known
and guests at a D. C. hotel.             for his classic book, “From Slavery
“Normally, the press will look at a      to Freedom: A History of African-
bus to tell you what’s going on…         Americans,” now in its seventh
In this case, some of the media
put themselves on the bus and
                                         edition. Black Press historian and
                                         NNPAF board member Clinton
                                                                                                                                                    Repair, renovate and rebuild
you did some hasty reporting. You        Wilson lauded the 91-year-old for
                                         his lifetime contributions to Black
                                                                                                                                                    with Smart Borrowing.
did some reporting that gave the
impression that the city was out of      history.
control. Well, the city was full of         “If our society gave as much
poor people that needed help. And        media play and coverage to
they were victims that needed            persons with great intellectual
assistance,” he said to applause.        depth and wisdom as has given to
“Who suffers more during acts of         great athletes, then we would know
nature such as a hurricane, such         as much about Professor Franklin
as a storm, such as a blizzard?          as we know about Michael Jordan
The people who suffer more in            and Willie Mays,” Wilson said.
most cases are those who were            “Dr. Franklin’s accomplishments
suffering before the tragedy.”           rank in that magnitude among
   As commander of Joint Task            academicians.”
Force-Katrina, the Lakeland, La.            The        dapper      Franklin,
native led the Department of             remarkably spry at 91 years old,
Defense’ response to Hurricanes          opened by announcing, “I think
Katrina and Rita in Alabama,             that I deserve this reward for
Mississippi and Louisiana. He            reasons you may not know.”
appeared on a string of national            The Newsmaker of the Year is
news programs, but made                  the top award given during Black
headlines in Black newspapers            Press Week. Previous recipients
                                                                                          Introducing Smart Borrowing, Whitney’s exclusive group of benefits and services that make borrowing
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                                         Obama. This year marks the 179th                 Your Whitney Banker knows how difficult life after a hurricane can be. We understand where you’re
   Honore was introduced by
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Page 14       March 5, 006           New Orleans Data News Weekly                                                                                     www.ladatanews.com



                                                                              NATIONAL NEWS


          The Business of Staying in Business
              after Katrina Gets Harder                                     KATRINA SERIES - PART 5
                                                                         This is the fifth of an 8-part series of stories about the Gulf
                                                                         Coast and the road to recovery after Hurricane Katrina.
                                                                                             By. Zenitha Prince
                                                                                         NNPA Special Correspondent




   BILOXI, Miss. (NNPA) –                                                                                                                                             on insurance compensation to
Hezekiah ‘’Hezzie’’ Watts stood                                                                                                                                       repair the damage to his building.
in the glare of the midday sun                                                                                                                                        In the meantime, Washington
looking at the shattered remains                                                                                                                                      said, he is trying to come up with
of his life’s dream, H.W. Marine                                                                                                                                      a plan to ensure the company’s
Repair, a boat repair and service                                                                                                                                     survival.
company that he started 15                                                                                                                                                ‘’I’m not earning cash so
years before. It was not a large                                                                                                                                      I’m going to have to see if I can
company, it comprised just him                                                                                                                                        put some sort of loan package
and an assistant, but it was his.                                                                                                                                     together to get some cash to
   ‘’This was a dream of mine and                                                                                                                                     resume       operations    because
it was going well,’’ Watts said.                                                                                                                                      certain bills are going to continue
But that was before Hurricane                                                                                                                                         whether you are active or
Katrina tore through the Gulf                                                                                                                                         not—the telephone is still on,
coast, leaving destruction and                                                                                                                                        the electricity is on, the water is
mayhem in its wake. Now, H.W.                                                                                                                                         on, I have car insurance on the
Marine Repair was nothing but a                                                                                                                                       company vehicles, professional
hollow shell.                                                                                                                                                         liability insurance—I still have
   ‘’It’s a total loss. Because of     The shattered remains of Hezekiah Watts’ life’s dream.
                                                                                                                                                                      my overhead that I have to find
the damage to the building itself,                                                                                                                                    money to pay for even though
the city engineers came in and                                                                                                                                        we’re not functioning,’’ he said.
                                       different way of life and a lot of               some major contracts, [now] all          Besides being deliberately
said…we have to tear it down and                                                                                                                                          Rebuilding his marine repair
                                       them are going to choose not to                  of the work we had has been put       cut out, Black firms have
rebuild it completely,’’ Watts said.                                                                                                                                  business from the ground up is
                                       return to the city.’’                            on hold. We think that we’ve lost     sustained significant damage to
   Watts’ story is the story of                                                                                                                                       proving equally difficult, Watts
                                          And for those companies                       about $1.5 million in fees because    their infrastructure and severe
many Black business owners in                                                                                                                                         said, especially since boats are
                                       that choose to stay, the road to                 of contracts being cancelled or       depletion of human resources,
the Gulf States, whose businesses                                                                                                                                     considered luxury items.
                                       recovery will be fraught with                    put on hold.’’                        which cripples their ability
were adversely affected by one of                                                                                                                                         ‘’To shut down totally is
                                       difficulties.                                       Part of the problem is that all    to compete with other firms,
the worst storms of the century.                                                                                                                                      extreme, it’s hard,’’ Watts said.
                                          Hewitt-Washington was one of                  of FEMA’s $1.8 billion clean up       Washington said.
   To the west, in the Crescent                                                                                                                                       ‘’Because of the hurricane most
                                       the premier Black firms in New                   and rebuilding contracts were            ‘’[The hurricane] destroyed
City, the situation is even worse.                                                                                                                                    people are not using the boats
                                       Orleans. It built most of the schools            pounced upon and divvied up           most Black businesses. I’ve been
Of the 9,747 Black firms in New                                                                                                                                       right now so we have to operate
                                       in New Orleans and participated                  among politically-connected fat       in contact with everybody from
Orleans recorded by the last U.S.                                                                                                                                     on what we have stashed away.’’
                                       in the building of major projects                cats such as Haliburton and its       funeral homes to contractors, a
Economic Census, many are not                                                                                                                                             Despite the looming challenges,
                                       such as the convention center, the               subsidiaries, Bechtel, Fluor and      lot of equipment is under water,
expected to return.                                                                                                                                                   Watts said he is hopeful that his
                                       sports arena and the aquarium.                   the Shaw Group, even before the       they don’t have the ability to get
   ‘’We’re going to lose a lot of                                                                                                                                     dream will be rebuilt.
                                          ‘’We’ve participated in the                   flood waters receded. Washington      new equipment to participate
Black businesses, there’s no                                                                                                                                              ‘’When I started, I trusted in
                                       building of several of the major                 said he even submitted an             in the rebuilding effort right
doubt about that,’’ said                                                                                                                                              God and it seems simple that
                                       buildings that have been built                   application to Shaw to work as        now,’’ Washington said. ‘’It’s
   James       Washington,      vice                                                                                                                                  whenever I run into a problem
                                       in New Orleans in the last few                   a local architect, but has not        hard to compete when you have
president of Hewitt-Washington                                                                                                                                        or things slow down and I talk
                                       years,’’ Washington said. ‘’We                   received a response.                  to evacuate. A lot of the folks
Architects and Planners and                                                                                                                                           to him straight up: ‘Dear God,
                                       have a reputation of delivering                     ‘’All of the work that’s being     who own those businesses had
president of the National                                                                                                                                             my parking lot is getting empty,
                                       projects on time and within the                  done right now in New Orleans         to evacuate and it’s hard to get
Organization        of    Minority                                                                                                                                    I need some boats in here,’ [that]
                                       budget. We’ve had the reputation                 in terms of the clean up and          people to come back to work to
Architects. ‘’We were suffering                                                                                                                                       sometimes before the end of the
                                       for 8 years of being just a solid               construction is going to a lot of     restart the firm.’’
economically down here prior to                                                                                                                                       week, I would get five, six boats
                                       design firm.’’                                   companies from out of town,’’            Washington’s own employees
the hurricane. Even under normal                                                                                                                                      in here.’’
                                          Yet, for all its stellar reputation,          Washington said. ‘’You see people     have been scattered across the
circumstances, Black businesses                                                                                                                                           In the meantime, Watts said he
                                       the firm is still suffering.                     from all over the country that are    South and farther, he said, and he
were not doing that greatly here                                                                                                                                      filed for unemployment. He also
                                          ‘’We actually have not worked                 coming here to participate in clean   does not have the facilities to house
in the city of New Orleans. A lot                                                                                                                                     filed for insurance compensation
                                       since the Friday before the                      up and rebuilding. I have not seen    them even if they did return. And
of those people, who evacuated to                                                                                                                                     and for FEMA assistance.
                                       hurricane,’’ Washington said.                    any significant involvement of        the insurance adjustor has gone
other cities, they’re seeing better                                                                                                                                       ‘’And now I wait.’’
                                       ‘’We were on the brink of signing                African-American firms.’’             AWOL, so he cannot even depend
opportunities, they’re seeing a
                         www.ladatanews.com                                                                        New Orleans Data News Weekly              March 5, 006         Page 15


                                                                  SPECIAL SECTION


                     Bishop Vashti McKenzie Passed up her
                     Vacation to Mobilize the Black Church
                                                                      KATRINA SERIES - PART 4
                                                                This is the sixth of an 8-part series of stories about the Gulf
                                                                Coast and the road to recovery after Hurricane Katrina.
                                                                                   By. Zenitha Prince
                                                                             NNPA Special Correspondent




   BALTIMORE         (NNPA)       –      Meanwhile, her eyes were                                                   National Baptist Convention;        and I’m seeing it on television,
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie         transfixed on televised images                                                and the Nation of Islam; and        then maybe I just might get the
was preaching at the funeral of       of battered houses and frantic                                                officials from FEMA, the Red        point.’’
Rev. James Shannon in Memphis,        Americans seeking shelter on                                                  Cross and the U.S. Department          In mid-October, a crew
Tenn., when she began to              rooftops, in attics, on bridges                                               of Justice.                         comprised of a field director, field
hear rumblings of a potentially       and in the Superdome from the                                                     At St. Andrews AME Church       producer, photographer and two
devastating storm in the Gulf. She    roiling miasma of floodwater,                                                 in Memphis, they heard              journalists spent two weeks in
had come to expect news of that       sewage and petroleum that was                                                 testimony from about 00            Louisiana and Mississippi, the two
kind since moving to the southern     slowly burying the city of New                                                people who had been evacuated       worst-affected states, conducting
1th African Methodist Episcopal      Orleans.                                                                      or otherwise affected by the        hundreds of interviews and
District, and like many seasoned         In the media frenzy that                                                   storm. They were poor people,       capturing yards of film to chronicle
Southerners, met the reports with     followed, however, McKenzie                                                   elderly, sick and mostly Black,     Katrina’s survivor stories.
the sort of equanimity that comes     felt like something was                                                       and their stories were heart           There was the tale of an old
with knowing that it was never as     missing.                                                                      wrenching.                          woman who, left alone in her
bad as you think.                        “It just seemed that our                                                       ‘’I kept listening to the       home to fend off the storm, quoted
   At the time, her uppermost         stories just weren’t being told,                                              testimony from these people         Scripture and praised God for the
concern was whether she would         and the stories that were being                                               and I thought, ‘Their stories       clothes on her back, all that was
make it back to the East Coast for    told, there was a particular slant                                            need to be told. What they          left of her life.
a much-needed vacation with her       to it,’’ she said. ‘’People were                                              went through needs to be               There was also the little girl who
husband.                              going through hell -- that’s the Bishop Vashti McKenzie                       documented,’’’ McKenzie said.       had seen too much and was left to
   ‘’We knew the hurricane was        best way to explain it.                                                           So McKenzie started putting a   imagine the fate of her friends;
coming, but we didn’t think it was       “They were trapped on roofs wasn’t being told.                          plan into action. She called around    the pastor who one day cooked
going to be that bad,’’ McKenzie      for days; they were trapped on the       ‘’You had people in forgotten     to different churches -- across        enough food to feed hundreds;
recalls. ‘’I remember wondering if    top floors of apartment buildings;    areas outside New Orleans -          denominations -- and to different      and the engaged couple who
we would be able to fly to the East   parents had to give up their - Lake Charles and other small                community organizations seeking        packed all they could salvage into
Coast since flights are usually       children because the [rescue] communities. You saw the Red                 donations. Empowerment Temple          a station wagon and headed to
delayed or cancelled in this type     boats couldn’t take everybody, so Cross ride to the rescue in the          in Baltimore, the AFSCME union,        Texas to start a new life.
of weather.’’                         the kids went first; families were major areas, but out in the outlying    the AME Church, the National              Untold stories, McKenzie said,
   McKenzie was exhausted             being separated; people had to areas, this wasn’t happening.’’             Council of Churches and others         that exemplify the triumph of the
from a sustained period of            leave their homes without their          ‘’[But] when it looked like the   were major contributors to the         people of God and of the human
organizing several conferences        medication, identification, without   government had forgotten our         project, along with other individual   spirit.
and performing all the other          food [and] clothes. And [yet] they people, the Black church had not,’’     churches, McKenzie said.                  ‘’When you see people who
tasks associated with being an        survived. I’m not seeing that story McKenzie said. ‘’We were there.            She also contacted several         have lost everything and they
AME bishop. She was eagerly           anywhere.’’                           We were there at the beginning,      Black media organizations -- the       manage to hold on and say, ‘We’re
anticipating the cool trickle of         McKenzie said she also failed we were there in the aftermath            Afro American Newspapers, the          coming back, we’re getting up
wet sand between her toes, the        to see another story: the way and we’re still there now.’’                 National Newspaper Publishers          out of this, this hasn’t beaten me,’
soothing buffet of a Chesapeake       the Black church stepped into            As       McKenzie    continued    Association, Mitch Media, TV           and you’re getting mad because
Bay breeze and some time alone        the breach and saw to evacuees’       to confer with pastors in the        One and others -- to share in          you’re caught in a traffic jam,
with her husband to celebrate         needs while federal and state devastated areas about the needs             her vision and help publicize the      those things become trivial now
their wedding anniversary, which      officials floundered or otherwise of the churches and people there,        untold stories.                        when you see people who have
was a day or two away.                ignored the disaster.                 she began to collect stories.            ‘’I thought if we were going       beaten these odds.’’
   But in the coming days, all           ‘’The role of the Black church        Then, at the behest of            to tell our story, we were going
those plans were shot as the          was not seen at all on television.    Jesse Jackson, president of          to tell it through our stuff, our
horrifying drama of Hurricane         Our churches were feeding the Rainbow/Push Coalition,                      media,’’ she said. ‘’My vision was
Katrina unfolded. McKenzie            hundreds of people every day, McKenzie convened a Sept. 19                 to be able to pull together several
spent those days with her ear         paid for hotel bills, clothing and conclave of representatives from        layers of media -- print media with
glued to the phone -- coordinating    other kinds of essentials that are major Black denominations like          TV media with radio media -- same
relief efforts in her district and    not provided by our governmental the AME, African Methodist                story going almost the same time,
elsewhere, and seeking news of        agencies. Where was that story?’’ Episcopal Zion and Pentecostal           so that we can reach the people.
lost family.                          McKenzie questioned. ‘’That just churches;              the Progressive    If I’m reading it in my newspaper
 ATTENTION KATRINA SURVIVORS




OUR POWER!
             RE
OUR RIGHT TO RETURN!
OUR VOTE!
                                  Moderators
Join The Louisiana Unity ‘06
                                  Norman Robinson, News Anchor, WDSU-TV6, New Orleans
Rebuild Hope Now Coalition        George Curry, Editor-In-Chief, National Newspaper Publishers Association

For The Katrina Survivors         Protect Our Right to Return and determine how and when our
Empowerment Weekends              neighborhoods will be redeveloped. Meet the candidates for may-
                                  or, city council, and other races in the municipal elections scheduled
Mayoral Candidate Forums          for Saturday, April 22, 2006 in New Orleans. Come to the Empower-
and Empowerment Expos             ment Expo to learn more about plans to rebuild our neighborhoods
New Orleans Municipal Elections   and our city, our public schools, our hospitals, our churches and who
                                  will provide jobs and economic opportunity for you and your family
Location                          to return to our beloved crescent city of New Orleans and learn how
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2006          you can Protect Your Right to Vote from the NAACP Legal Defense
Houston, Texas                    Fund in their Voter Empowerment Trainings.
                                  New Orleans-based co-hosts include: Lower Ninth Ward Homeowners Association,
Friday, March 31, 2006            New Orleans Local Organizing Committee, Urban League of Greater New Orleans,
New Orleans, LA                   African American Leadership Project, United Teachers of New Orleans, African
                                  American Leadership Project, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice,
Saturday, April 8, 2006           Neighborhood Development Foundation, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority,
Atlanta, GA                       New Orleans Affordable Homeowners, New Orleans East Economic Development
                                  Foundation, Coalition of Minority Contractors of Louisiana, Louis Armstrong Jazz
                                  Camp, Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, The People’s Hurricane Relief Fund &
Saturday, April 15, 2006          Oversight Committee, New Orleans’ NAACP, Louisiana Data News Weekly, Voice
Baton Rouge, LA                   Of The Ex-offender, Ashe’ Cultural Center, Millions More Movement and People’s
                                  Institute for Survival and Beyond.
All forums are                    Sponsored by
11:00am – 7:00pm
                                                                      Greater New Orleans Foundation
                                                                      Twenty-First Century Foundation
                                                                      The Ford Foundation




www.rebuildhopenow.net




                                  FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PROTECTING
                                  YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE CONTACT:
                                  Louisiana Secretary of State @ www.sos.louisiana.gov
                                  or call 1-800-883-2805 to get your exact polling location
                                  NAACP LDF Protect the Katrina Vote @ www.naacpldf.org
                                  Election Protection Hotline – 1-866-OUR VOTE


our power ad.indd 1                                                                                        3/21/06 2:55:35 PM

				
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