Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Katrina Updates

September 8th, 2005 12:00 PM

Camp Casey III, day 8 & 9: Get Your Act On

--A message from Dennis Kyne, at Camp Casey III in Covington, LA.

I woke up to an 1/8th of a ton of clothing. Yes, they are the same clothes that came in two days ago. Some have made it to people, but most have been re-allocated. What a term, we are just dumping our problem on someone else.

Re-allocated, a term for dumping your problem on someone else. I feel guilty, but we are trying to focus on feeding people.

Flip side: we have picked up too many loads to count from the incompetent Red Cross facilities that can’t seem to figure out how to get food on a truck, let alone to a destination. They have a problem, and every time a truck pulls in to carry food out, they see it as dumping their problem. And they are dumping their problem of course. We came with the solution.

Today, people got fed. Andrea and Jeff from www.getyouracton.com put a van and a trailer together and took generators, gas and a load of goods to Algiers again. Malik and Sharon sent a generator to The Mosque in the community. A medical station was established, and we are hoping to get Veteran For Peace Dr. David Harris to Algiers on Sunday to have a look. Of course, James, our fearless Algiers point man was on the mission and it turns out Jeff had to change four tires. Borrowing one from Malik and another from a store owner who had one sitting around they made it there and back safely.

Comedian Kathy Griffin, from Los Angeles, sent a support team. Early today her husband, Matt, sister, Rebecca and Rebecca’s boyfriend Brian arrived. They had purchased a car in Lafayette with Georgia license plates and have been working in support for some time. Kathy has been giving financial and supply support to many groups in the area. Timothy went to work at the Red Cross facility and watched a government employee come in and pilfer through the cans like she was a victim. Funny those who had something before Katrina walk around like they have nothing. While those who had nothing before Katrina walk around getting nothing. All this happened while we were moving camp to Land O Pines. Land O Pines is a small trailer park with recreational facilities. We are the first campers. Land O Pines expected 2,000 people for Labor Day. The only thing that showed up was Katrina.

The bus is still at Pine View middle school. And by day’s end the clothing was gone. Our distribution center has moved to the Omni Storage facility.

Terry Leichner, VFP, VVAW, Denver and Ken Ashe, VFP, North Caroloina both showed up during the flurry of arrivals Plenty.org is digging in too. Paul and his crew are handling organizational issues. This is one of the greatest organizations I have worked with, EVER.

In one week, we have set up infrastructure. We are functional, not necessarily 100 per cent efficient. Everyone here is an out of towner, and we are getting comfortable with the Maps. By next week we will be moving. Please come and move with us.

Day nine started with Casey III, at Land O Pines. Food Not Bombs has arrived and has a kitchen set up at camp. Four www.craigslist.com friends arrived as well. Three men and a woman showed up last night. Names have slipped; they met on craigslist and drove to work with us. They reported that while Jessie Jackson was speaking at the dome in Baton Rouge, thanking the Red Cross; In the back yard the workers were loading up baby formula and food and taking it to Salvation Army for distribution. I didn’t believe it.......... then they showed me the video of a Dr. speaking very candidly. It is true. It was happening.

Mike, still enlisted, and an Iraq War Veteran, arrived with his guitar in hand. He had been at Casey I, the day the protestors came to make a ruckus. We played songs back at them, while they called us traitors. We both are SGT’s, Combat Veterans, and tell the truth. Like Bob Marley sings, "The one good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain." We sang the truth at them as combat veterans, hitting them with painless music that hurt their reality.

Mike is native to Louisiana, he weathered out the Hurricane in the West Bank. He went out and had a smoke while it was happening. Not that it was safe, there is a different thought process amongst us, that combat vets have in moments like that. I’ll save it for another update though. It is great to be with a veteran, and a survivor of Katrina, he is showing us the maps of the neighborhood now.

James and Jason went into the 9th Ward and looked around. Jason reports that it is hyped up in mainstream media, it actually is a ghost town.

Monica and Jimmy (Tampa, Fla) lead a convoy that I organized. We took nine vehicles, one with a trailer, to head up through the gulf and feed those in Mississippi who have not been attended to yet. While the world focuses on the levee break in Orleans, the people out east are going hungry.

It was a long day. We made it to Bay St. Louis, Kirn, Picayune, and the last stop was the heartbreaker. I-59 Trailer Park, Pearl River. We pulled into a demolished tin can with a family of five at the front road. Brendan was with his family. They had stayed through the storm while the rest of the park evacuated. They didn’t have three dollars a gallon for gas to get out of town. "Need any food?" Monica asked.

We were there an hour later. Leaving the food at Brendan’s house so he could be the park distributor.

I interviewed three families with Monica’s camera. First Family has not heard from FEMA or any other organization. Military dropped MRE’s and water by a couple days after the hurricane. Second Family; Roof blew off the home, and was laying in between two trailers. Having been ordered to move it immediately by the owner, they were told there is a possibility that a FEMA trailer will arrive and get that space. They had not heard from anyone either. Third Family had no attention whatsoever. Both disabled, one knee surgery could not be performed because the hospital was under water, and there was no pain medication for either of them. FEMA never arrived.

Turns out FEMA was already there. Mike, the facility director, told me that there were already twenty five trailers there. He pointed to them, and as we spoke two more drove in. Both stating very clearly, FEMA disaster relief. I asked all of the folks, again, "Has FEMA come here to help you?"

"NO." Emphatic and angry.

A look around the park illustrates this. The homes on land are trashed. The homes on trailers say FEMA. What are they for?

The answer Mike gives me, "Doctors, administrators, and the like will move in to do relief work."

That is modern day relief work.

Bring trailer homes to a demolished trailer park and give them to people who already have a job and a paycheck to use as a camp. While simultaneously driving out the people who have made it home.

Don’t you think they could bring a trailer for Brendan, or the lady whose roof blew off while her three grandchildren still need a roof over there head, or just flat out for every single person that has been re-located to Houston and Indiana.

Displacement obviously leads to dislocation, but it also leads to replacement. The question is, who is replacing who? I hope you come here and see this, I hope you can visit Brendan and his wife and three little daughters, one birthed a month and four days ago. I hope you can find one minute of your life to see this reality, and pain, and misery, and suffering. I hope you can recognize that this is because of racism, abandonment, dehumanization and hatred.

Take I-59 to Pearl River, drive to the I-59 trailer park and look at the abandonment.

Get Your Act On!

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