justice who used to live in new orleans.
feel free to forward the letter to any appropriate contacts.
(sorry about all the little arrows, i copied this from an email.)
>This note is both an announcement and a call for assistance.
>Elaine Katzenberger at City Lights Books, in SF, has tentatively agreed to a
>book idea I floated to her yesterday, and which I would write in the next
>three months. Titled (for now): Disasters, Natural and Otherwise: Race,
>Class and the Destruction of New Orleans, it would provide a comprehensive
>analysis of the factors aggravating the impact of Katrina, as well as
>looking at the race and class biased media coverage, the politics of poverty
>and racism (and the way in which these things remain invisible to so many
>unless there's a tragedy such as this), as well as contrasting retail
>"looting" with the wholesale looting accomplished by the corporate class
>over the past several decades, etc. You get the picture. Basically, a race
>and class analysis of "Natural" disasters.
>Once completed, I am going to donate the royalties (which could be fairly
>decent, depending on how quickly I get it done), to the People's Institute
>for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans: for those of you who don't know,
>one of the premier antiracism training organizations in the U.S., and which
>has lost its offices (and homes of its trainers and staff).
>Anyway, what I am looking for are any ideas you may have, analysis you may
>wish to provide (for which I would provide you credit, of course, and quote
>you where appropriate), historical references pertinent to N.O. itself or
>the Gulf Coast, source materials I might wish to consult, etc.
>I already have seen pretty much all of the good progressive and radical
>commentary on the storm so far, so I don't need links to stuff that has
>already been published. But if you stumble upon something really unique, or
>have something of your own unique to add, send it on.
>I am especially interested in anything that those of you who (like me) have
>lived in New Orleans, or lived there until the storm, might have to offer.
>Since I have been out of the city for about a decade, I am not necessarily
>as aware as I should be of the current political/economic and social
>dynamics in the city (except insofar as they are pretty much unchanged since
>Specific info I need (some of which I have, but just in case):
>Data on poverty, income, unemployment in the N.O. area.
>Analysis on the race and class dynamics behind Nagin's Mayoral victory
>Analysis of the ongoing salience of Institutional Racism in NO (info from
>People's Institute folks would be especially helpful here)
>Info on the role of Hope VI in tearing down public housing
>Info on the police (brutality incidents post-1996)
>Historical info on race and class in N.O.
>Info on wetlands restoration or the lack thereof in LA
>Info on former Gov. Foster's attack on environmental justice and the Tulane
>Environmental Law Clinic
>Info on the state of NO public schools
>Info on gentrification in and around the warehouse district of NO and the
>Bywater, Marigny, etc.
>Analysis on how these region-specific references and analyses dovetail with
>situations throughout the U.S., in other cities, etc.
>Info on the casino economy in and around Biloxi, etc
>And anything else you think might be especially important.
>The book will be a collection of essays, in which this material is
>interwoven. It is not going to be an academic treatment, but one that will
>be easily readable and accessible to folks who aren't already deep into race
>and class analysis, yet at the same time, still informative and meaningful
>to those who are.
>In the midst of this tragedy, we owe it to the people of New Orleans and
>Gulf Coast, as well as the nation, to try and open the eyes of those who
>have ignored racism and classism for so long, as well as to make sure our
>own eyes are always open. As a writer, this will be my part and my goal in
>that regard. Any assistance you can offer would be appreciated.