Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Katrina Updates

September 12th, 2005 8:00 PM

Twenty Tons

By Eric Weinrib, Web Editor,

Last night, we dropped cases of food and water to the holdouts in the French Quarter. A woman whose husband is tending bar at Johnny White's is helping to distribute Veterans for Peace food to her community.

Johnny White's never closed its doors through the entire hurricane and aftermath (they don't even have locks). The bar has become a community center of sorts. We stopped by to meet these resilient people who are keeping the spirit of New Orleans alive and searching for levity in the shadow of a disaster. A foot-stomping, guitar-strumming, harp-blowing man in the corner was singing zydeco standards.

We spoke to the New Orleans police who had just come from discovering an old age home and the seven dead residents left behind by the staff. They were worn down and unusually candid. They couldn't understand why people would rather stay in their homes than get $2,000 bucks from FEMA and a one-way ticket to Cleveland. Many New Orleans residents shared the concern that the longer people are kept from their homes, the fewer will return. Gentrification made easy.

When we got back to Camp Casey, we were told at the gate that help was needed at the storage facility. Another shipment had come in, but this one was big so we turned the bus around and embarked to help our fellow campers unload.

The sight at the storage facility made me realize that the Camp Casey-Covington hurricane relief effort is rapidly gaining momentum. There was a tractor-trailer filled with food and supplies. Two lines of campers daisy-chained the supplies neatly onto pallets. 20 tons of food and supplies were unloaded by hand in less than two hours.

When we returned to the campsite, there were a hundred people and scores of tents. People were getting to know one another, sharing stories and strategizing tomorrow’s food blitz to the hungry.

8AM Meeting at Camp Casey III campground.

This morning, a convoy of cars, trucks, and buses snaked its way from the camp to the storage facility to load up and get the supplies out. One convoy went to the 9th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans while another went to rural Mississippi. The remaining went on independent missions throughout the surrounding areas.

The longer we are here, the clearer we see the varying needs of different neighborhoods. Delivery routes are revealing themselves and being added to our list so we can continue to feed the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Yesterday was a landmark day for us. We delivered 10 tons of food. One of the campers was so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that she began to cry. I can’t overstate how those who sent food, supplies, and donations have brightened the hopes of those who were left to die by their government. Some of them are eating tonight and thinking of you.

Cindy Sheehan will be visiting tomorrow.

Billy, Veteran for Peace, delivers food to Reverand Moses L. Powell. Poweel will distribute the food to his community. Photo credit: Paul, TN

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