Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
And, as many news and grassroots reports have made more than clear, New Orleans remains a city in major distress, in both big and small ways.
One "small" recent example: my friend, NOLA musician Esquizito, told me that many houses were recently re-assessed - upward, of course - including his own. People had only two weeks to file any kind of objection or protest. On the last day that objections could be filed, the government office responsible was packed with confused folks. Why, in heaven's name, are houses being re-assessed? Many home owners are finding it hard enough to make ends meet, let alone pay even higher taxes for city and other services that many are still not receiving. As a matter of fact, on Esquizito"s block, there's a guy who's actually living in the cab of his truck.
So, this year, to mark the disaster that was and is Katrina, a call has gone out, nationwide, for as many people as possible to participate in , "8/29, A Day of Presence and Remembrance." According to a press release about the event, "it will take place on August 29 from 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. outside Hall D of the Ernest N. Morial Conventional Center and is intended to force the government to act swiftly to create a Marshall Plan to restore New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. At 7:30 P.M. national leaders and celebrities will begin gathering to join the thousands of marchers and proceed to Jackson Square, where the President's promise was made, for a candlelight vigil."
"We urgently need as many people as possible to stand united on August 29," said Tracie Washington, president and CEO of the Louisiana Justice Institute . "If you can drive or fly, get on the bus or sponsor a bus, we need you to join us in letting our leaders know that we want immediate action in the Gulf Coast region."
If you can't participate in person, the event organizers are asking that you email your Congressmembers and Senators or call them toll free (888) 226-0627 and ask that more be done for New Orleans. Call and/or email them as often as you can. Demand justice for NOLA.
It's the least we can do.