Saturday, March 31, 2007

3/31/2007 Community Gumbo

Pledge Your Support for Community Gumbo in the 2007 WTUL Marathon
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

3/24/2007 Community Gumbo

audio Democracy Now (3/20/07)
  • Three Officers Charged in Sean Bell Killing Plead Not Guilty, Family Calls For Justice
  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
Mark Davis, Director of the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

audio Part 1
audio Part 2

Earlier this month, Times-Picayune reporters Bob Marshall and Mark Shleifstein wrote an alarming series of articles warning that Louisiana has ten years to start reversing coastal wetland loss.

"Unless the state rapidly reverses the land loss, coastal scientists say, by the middle of the next decade the cost of repair likely will be too daunting for Congress to accept - and take far too long to implement under the current approval process. New research suggests that Louisiana may have no more than about ten years to start reversing land loss before the Gulf Coast reaches urban communities in south of New Orleans.”

Meanwhile, a fresh coastal restoration plan being developed by the state has come under criticism by some of the best scientists available on coastal restoration issues. The Louisiana legislature created the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority after Hurricane Katrina to develop a comprehensive strategy to reverse the loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands – a critical barrier to protect communities from hurricane storm surge.

Some of Louisiana’s top water resources scientists criticized a massive levee project across south Louisiana – the “Great Wall of Louisiana” – and other projects which don’t consider more contemporary solutions to both protect populations and support sustainable wetlands. One such proposal not included in the plan is something called “leaky levees” which can be closed to prevent storm surge, but which can be opened to allow nutrient-rich sediments flowing down the Mississippi River to replenish wetland soils.

Representatives of the state plan say that it’s still a work in progress, and that scientists are invited to participate in the process of improving the plan.

Scientists, meanwhile, complain that they haven’t been invited into a process, if a process for participation has even been developed.

Among the alarming predictions listed in The Times-Picayune series:

· Gulf waves that once ended on barrier island beaches far from the city could be crashing on levees behind suburban lawns.

· The state will be forced to begin abandoning outlying communities such as Lafitte, Golden Meadow, Cocodrie, Montegut, Leeville, Grand Isle and Port Fourchon.

· The infrastructure serving a vital portion of the nation’s domestic energy production will be exposed to the encroaching Gulf.

· Many levees built to withstand a few hours of storm surge will be standing in water 24 hours a day and facing the monster surges that come with tropical storms.

· Hurricanes approaching from the south will treat the city like beachfront property, crushing it with forces like those experienced by the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Katrina.

· The entire nation would reel from the losses.

Mark Davis is one of the state’s best advocates for wetlands protection, and one of the best minds on coastal restoration. He was recently recruited by Tulane University to lead a new Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.

Bob Marshall & Mark Shleifstein, "Last Chance: The Fight to Save a Disappearing Coast," The Times-Picayune series, 3/4/07 - 3/6/07.

Bob Marshall, "Panels blast coastal master plan," The Times-Picayune, 3/19/07.

Bob Marshall, "Corps caused disaster, report says," The Times-Picayune, 3/21/07.

Alfred Sunseri (President, P&J Oyster Co.), "Create agency to oversee coast," Letter to the Editor, The Times-Picayune, 3/21/07.

Jerome Ringo (Chairman, Board of Directors, National Wildlife Federation), "Corps Reform Must Come First," Letter to the Editor, The Times-Picayune, 3/24/07.

Mark Schleifstein, "Entergy chief urges U.S. to address global warming," The Times-Picayune, 3/21/07.


More information at 3 Ring Circus Productions.

Music Played:
David Rovics, "They're Building a Wall"

Esther Sparks, "Irreplaceable"

Electrical Spectacle, "Supernumerary ...," on the WTUL Back to the Basement V. 5 Marathon CD compilation.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

3/17/2007 Community Gumbo

audio Democracy Now (3/16/07)
  • Mother of Ailing Iraq War Vet Confronts Rep Obey Over U.S. Troop Withdrawal
  • Veteran Dies After VA Refuses Treatment For Days
  • As Health Deteriorates, Jailed Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian Enters 54th Day of Hunger Strike to Protest Indefinite Imprisonment

Civic Activism, Blogging, and Media Democracy in the Rebuilding of New Orleans (re-broadcast)
audio Squandered Heritage, Part 1
audio Squandered Heritage, Part 2

In perhaps an unprecedented manner, the internet has become for New Orleanians an essential tool for re-establishing personal connections, for sharing stories, for communicating the will of residents, for organizing residents to rebuild their neighborhoods, and for fighting for desperately-needed answers and resources from every level of government.

New Orleans bloggers Karen Gadbois and Laureen Lentz have become champions of many causes, but their primary focus is preserving New Orleans historic heritage in a blog called “Squandered Heritage.”


Squandered Heritage

The Citizens' Road Home Action Team

Other Local Bloggers

Pledge Your Support for Community Gumbo in the 2007 WTUL Marathon
Proudly advertise your support for community voices by wearing the Community Gumbo T-Shirt, available to supporters who pledge $50 for Community Gumbo, 865-5885.

-- Today, 9-11 a.m., at the Port of New Orleans Building, auditorium. Discussion with architects charged with planning the redevelopment of 4.5 miles of riverfront wharves into residential, cultural, recreational and commercial opportunities. Call (504) 561-8686.

-- Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m., at 3606 Magazine St. Topic: race relations in New Orleans. Call 866-1163.

-- Today, 2-4 p.m., at Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Call (504) 581-5301.

-- Today, 2-4 p.m., at Carrollton United Methodist Church, 921 S. Carrollton Ave. Agenda includes training for Neighborhood Watch. Call Karen at (504) 866-0985.

Music Played:
Johnny Cash, "Danny Boy," American IV, American Recordings, 2002.

Friday, March 09, 2007

3/10/2007 Community Gumbo

audio Democracy Now (3/05/07)
Robert Fisk on Osama bin Laden at 50, Iraqi Death Squads and Why the Middle East is More Dangerous Now Than in Past 30 Years

audio Unified New Orleans Plan Public Hearing (3/07/07)
audio Harvey Stern
audio H.V. Nagendra
audio Janet Howard
audio Jean Nathan
audio Nathan Shroyer
audio Paul Ikemire
Citizens were given another opportunity to express their views on the citywide rebuilding plan this past Wednesday. Many expressed their support for what they viewed as an inclusive, democratic process, and encouraged members of the City Planning Commission to incorporate a process of ongoing citizen participation in the implementation phase of the rebuilding process. Other citizens, however, were critical of the plan’s failure to produce a detailed roadmap with legal and financial mechanisms to guide appropriately prioritized projects.

Janet Howard, from the Bureau of Governmental Research, is calling for the entire citywide document to be revamped. The BGR this week published a review of the plan titled “Not Ready for Prime Time,” which praised its good intentions, but called for a complete bottom up revision, criticizing the nearly 600-page Unified New Orleans Plan for failing “to deliver a cohesive, workable road map for recovery. Instead, it proposes a sweeping list of 91 projects without placing them in a realistic financial context. As for recovery strategy, it offers a continuation of the indecisive and confusing approach that has characterized New Orleans' recovery for a year and a half."

The public hearing this week was the second of two on the Unified New Orleans Plan. Many citizens expressed confusion about the review process itself. There is no reliable schedule for citizens to know when the UNOP plan might be approved or revised, and the rules for the process seem to change all the time.

The City Planning Commission and UNOP planners respond that the citywide plan is still a work in progress subject to review and revision.

Today on Community Gumbo, selected remarks by citizens at this week’s public hearing on the citywide plan.

Moderating the hearing was City Planning Commission Chair, Timothy Jackson. Answering questions was UNOP consultant Troy Henry.


Music Played
Allen Touissant, "Me and Tipitina," Our New Orleans, Nonesuch 2005.

Irma Thomas, "Back Water Blues," Our New Orleans, Nonesuch 2005.

Panorama Jazz Band, Live Recording from the Jazz Funeral for Helen Hill, 2/24/07.

Friday, March 02, 2007

3/03/2007 Community Gumbo

audio Democracy Now (3/01/07)
  • The Case of Gary Tyler: Despite Witness Recantations and No Physical Evidence, Louisiana Prisoner Remains Jailed After 32 Years
  • New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert on Al Sharpton's Ancestral Link to Strom Thurmond, Sean Bell, and the Clinton-Obama Race
audio Jazz Funeral for Helen Hill

A conversation with Jacob Hill, Helen's brother.

Photo credit: Kevin Held, WWL TV

Interview with Mo Lappin, Helen Hill friend, and creator of the Mardi Gras float, The Opposite Machine.

Community Announcements

"Dig This!"
A daylong seminar hosted by the New Orleans Food & Farm Network showing participants how to grow fruits and vegetables at home. Basic organic growing techniques will be offered as well as hands-on activities and take home information for home gardening. Speakers include local gardening expert, Dan Gill as well as Permaculture designer, Grant Estrade (ess-trahd).

The event takes place at the Trinity Christian Community Center on March 3rd, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations are $50 each, scholarships available. Call Anne Baker soon at (504) 864-2009 or visit Spaces are limited!

Big Easy Roller Girls’ Try-Outs
The Big Easy Rollergirls, New Orleans’ only women’s flat track derby, are holding try-outs Tuesday, March 6th from 7:00 to 8:30PM at Westbank Skate Country, 1100 Terry Parkway, Gretna. You can rent skates, but you will need to have safety equipment: wrist, ankle, knee, helmet & mouthpiece. You must pre-register by emailing

For more information, visit

Music Played
Excerpts from the Jazz Funeral for Helen Hill