Standing in front of the levee, in front of this absurdly thin, weaker than the original, perfunctory rebuilding job of a levee. Founder of Our School is giving his levee tour our volunteers – an (infuriating) environmental justice framed history of New Orleans’ social, economic, and physical landscape. New Orleans’ (hi)story is overwhelming: industrialization of the economy, and similarly the schools, the burden of being a global shipping hub, the destruction of the wetlands, the pervasiveness of the oil industry, then at the very end of August 2005 Katrina. So think about all the families who because of all the aforementioned circumstances are on welfare, and how much money does a typical family on welfare have at the end of the month? and how you planning on evacuating with no gas money, really? And think about the fact that five years later the ninth ward “is (still) not back.” And the chances that another hurricane hit the Gulf Coast this summer is pretty high. Only this time it’ll be a flood of oil water. Oil water from the oil “spill” or more accurately oil eruption that’s still inundating our ocean with that thick gloppy earl, as we say here. Crisis? Crises.
Then he says, and it immediately made so much sense, it was stupid:
“New Orleans is the canary in the coal mine.”