In 1887, the Knights of Labor organized a huge strike by Black sugarcane workers in Louisiana, which was suppressed with massive lethal force. (Content warning.) New Orleans-based guest Justin LaGrande returns to discuss the circumstances and recent efforts to bring it to greater light.
Description: Bill and Rachel are joined by Justin in New Orleans to talk about the 1892 cross-racial general strike that was so successful that the media and some historians waged a decades-long campaign to paint it a failure.
Description: Justin recounts his evacuation from New Orleans in August 2005, what happened afterward, and what has happened to New Orleans in the 10 years since then. Running time: 1 hour, 2 minutes. (Interstitial narration by Kelley. Produced by Bill. Recorded during August 2015 in Newton MA and New Orleans LA.)
(Image Credit: Vybr8 / Wikipedia) Caption: A merged derivative of two satellite photos of New Orleans. One was taken on March 9, 2004 and another on August 31, 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The middle frame of the three-image gif is a fabricated blend of the two source images.
In this frustration, he represents what might be called the black Katrina narrative, a counterpoint to the jubilant accounts of Landrieu and other New Orleans boosters. This version of the story begins by noting that an African-American homeowner was more than three times more likely than a white one to live in a flooded part of town. Where Landrieu sees black and white coming together, many African-Americans recollect a different New Orleans: rifle-carrying sheriffs and police officers barricading a bridge out of an overwhelmed city because they didn’t want the largely black crowds walking through their predominantly white suburbs; a white congressman overheard saying that God had finally accomplished what others couldn’t by clearing out public housing; a prominent resident from the Uptown part of the city telling a Wall Street Journal reporter that in rebuilding, things would be ‘‘done in a completely different way, demographically, geographically and politically’’ — or he and his friends weren’t moving back.
Ten years after Katrina, only 36 percent of the Lower Ninth Ward’s population has returned, according to the New Orleans Data Center.
Editor’s note: Keep an eye out in the coming days for Arsenal For Democracy’s audio documentary on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with extensive firsthand narration. We started major recording on August 18th, and we’re working on finishing up shortly.
Here’s a fantastic piece of long-form journalism by Brett Anderson with tons of incredible graphics and maps (and discussions of inaccuracies of maps) on the shape of Louisiana’s coastline and trying to keep track of it. This coast is continuing to shift quickly — as it has done for millennia — only now people live there, and the land is receding sharply, not re-arranging laterally or extending outward.
According to the U.S.G.S., the state lost just under 1,900 square miles of land between 1932 and 2000. This is the rough equivalent of the entire state of Delaware dropping into the Gulf of Mexico, and the disappearing act has no closing date. […] An area approximately the size of a football field continues to slip away every hour.
One problem is falling sediment levels to replenish the Delta’s land, a result of levees and other river construction projects that artificially constrain the Mississippi River’s course and its flood plain patterns. Another is rising sea levels, due to man-made global warming. Between the two (plus recurring factors like Gulf hurricanes), the state’s distinctive “boot” shape is more and more a historic relic that keeps appearing on maps but doesn’t exist on the ground.
Map: 4,600 years of the Mississippi River Delta moving around the Louisiana coastline due to erosion/direction changes.