A Brazilian Pays Visit to New Orleans But Only Finds the Ghost of a City

    New Orleans as seen by author

    New Orleans as seen by author What would it be like to live in a city that has lost half of its population, much of its economic infrastructure, has heightened crime, and has had many of its neighborhoods destroyed by a hurricane and subsequent flooding? New Orleans is one of the cultural charms of the U.S. and it has been badly marred. I am curious to see how it is responding to the terrible problems it has encountered.

    I arrive in the city at nine in the morning, and it is too early to check into the hotel so I go first to the Garden District which wasn't damaged as much. It is a very rich old residential area and includes Tulane University and Loyola University.

    The main street running from downtown to the universities is called St. Charles Avenue. The street is flanked with historic mansions. The Christmas decoration is elaborate on the fronts of many houses. The major part of the houses are three stories or even more, painted white, with a beautiful yard in front.

    The architecture is Victorian or Southern Gothic or Romanesque. There are huge stone mansions that look like forts. I don't see anyone walking around as I drive past in my rented car. The trolly tracks run down the center of the street, but the trollies are not working. The traffic is crowded.

    I park the rented Chevrolet Impala and walk along the street. The air is clear and pure. The huge oak trees are impressive. Their branches stretch out far and their limbs and trucks are wide. As I reach Tulane University, the buildings are old, Gothic white stone, with curved and arched windows. They are made of limestone. There is a paved yard with concrete tables and chairs. It is Christmas holiday and there are not many students.

    My first impression of this area is that the narrow streets and mansions and trees and the quiet are relaxing and yet exciting and create a special atmosphere. When I see the huge houses I wonder what life was like here so many years ago. New Orleans is different from most cities in the U.S. because of its age. It was founded in 1718 by the French. What was the U.S. like with the kind of lifestyle that built these graceful mansions? The newer buildings are not nearly so large or beautiful.

    I cross the street from Tulane University and walk into a wide, ambling park called Centennial Park. At one end of it is the zoo. There is a stream with ducks flying across the water. The huge oaks are plentiful. I see a squirrel nestled on a long limb, sleeping.

    The light coming through the park makes shadows around the trees. There is a lane for runners and strollers. The air is warm yet cool, very comfortable. Dried leaves cover the short greenish grass. I am sitting at a cupola, looking out. A young girl is walking quickly past.

    Another squirrel is jumping on the grass. The squirrel in the tree moves very fast and is hidden on another limb. He is looking for food. The park is so quiet and calm. It reminds me of Parque Farroupilha in Porto Alegre. Every person who comes to this park brings his or her own individual life.

    I am bringing mine and a Brazilian perspective. I will always remember when I was a kid and went to a park with my mother to ride a bike and stayed for the entire day playing. This park reminds me of that. The squirrel now is visible and its legs are splayed. Now I see two of the squirrels. It is pleasant here, so natural and easy.

    This area, the Garden District, is on higher ground and while it received damage, it was not so badly hurt. The occupants obviously are wealthy and most of the damage has been repaired. The most obvious result of the hurricane is the trolly service which is not working, but which will be resumed in a few weeks.

    Running parallel to St. Charles Street is a street of small, unusual shops called Magazine Street. It is fashionable but not expensive, with stores in old French and Spanish style houses. I stop at the Fuel Coffee on Magazine St to have lunch. I see that the new and old buildings together make this street very attractive.

    After my coffee, I drive to the 8th ward of New Orleans. This area was devastated by Katrina. I follow the access road of Interstate 10 and arrive at an old, badly damaged neighborhood. I park my car and get out and walk along the street.

    I see a middle aged black woman, Delle, who has rebuilt her house. The house has beautiful slate steps and porch which she has polished. She says that she was in Dallas for the hurricane and when she came back, water was five feet high or more and her house was flooded. Wrecked cars and trash were everywhere. One car had bashed in her fence and hit her house.

    She had to wait two months for the water to recede, then she began to clean up and repair her property. Hers is the only house that looks new again. The rest of the block looks like a ghost neighborhood. Trash is everywhere. The electricity is still problematic. The windows are boarded up and broken; the roofs have gaping holes. The foundations are high but the water rose above them.

    I stop in front of a two story white house. There is no porch anymore. The door is locked with a new lock. The fence is missing pieces. It used to be a nice house with two lions in front. The stairs are moldy. The cornice is broken. There is writing on the side of the house to identify it. There is a for sale sign in front. The front door has been replaced. The window is boarded up. The awning is filthy. The family has left.

    One of the tragedies of the aftermath is that many insurance companies have refused to honor their policies. They say that the houses were not damaged by the hurricane – the breaking of the levies and the flooding that resulted ruined the homes and stores.

    As a result most people who lost their homes have received no insurance money. The federal government gave each inhabitant $2,000.00, and finally brought in trailers for some people to live, but not enough. New Orleans has lost much of its population. The poorest areas were hit worst. These people cannot come back.

    On the next lot the house has been torn down and a trailer is in its place.

    The grass in the next yard is waist high. The doors are open; it is a duplex. No one lives here. There is a yellow caution sign in front. Everything is broken: there is a little window in the roof that is broken out. The iron work on the porch is rusted. I cannot see inside so I get out of the car and walk up to the porch and look.

    The roof inside has fallen in. Inside is dirty and dark. All the furniture is gone. No one could live here again. The house must be torn down. Months after the hurricane it became clear that all of the filthy refrigerators were ruined and creating mold and disease. Almost every roof in the city was ruined or blown away.

    I am at a corner half a block away. On the right is a devastated house. In front is a pile of trash: wood, paper, buckets, iron, pipes, plastic, bricks. The windows are boarded up. The fence is ruined. The doors are opened to try to get air into the place. On the left across the street is a refurbished place with shutters and nice painted porch. The fence is perfect. The yard is kept. Someone has reclaimed their place and is cleaning it up. The house is decorated for Christmas.

    I stop in front of a deserted school. The windows are boarded up. The main door is covered with wood. The windows are broken. It is a total loss. The yard is kept. There is a high fence around it. No one will be able to go to this school for years if ever again. It is a real loss to the neighborhood.

    This entire neighborhood is in total disrepair after two years. Most people could not go back to their houses for months. Rats were everywhere in the houses. The house in front of me has a trailer parked in front while they work on repairs.

    What a disaster for a beautiful city and for the country as a whole.

    Next is an area of trailers provided by the government. They are close together and impersonal.

    Later I drive to the devastated area where Brad Pitt has pumped in money to rehabilitate houses. He is an avid architect as well as an actor. He has given five million dollars and much of his time to help.

    I check into my hotel, the traditional Monteleone. It has been refurbished and is beautiful. The room has expensive swag draperies. The wallpaper, carpet, and bathroom fixtures are all new. I go out into the French Quarter, the historic district which did not receive so much damage. It is the tourist center.

    I am going to the Central Grocery to try a muffeletta. It was recommended by a friend. These buildings are the oldest in the city: some were built by the French, some by the Spanish, others by the early settlers. There are small stores, night clubs, bars.

    Artists are in the streets showing their works, trying to make some money. Others are selling souvenirs. The place has atmosphere with the authentic architecture. There is a beautiful tall, white Gothic church and in front a well kept park. There are several homeless around asking for money.

    Ahead of me is the grocery store. It is a typical Italian grocery with salami hanging from the ceiling. The aisles are packed with imports from Italy. The Italians who work behind the counter take my order: one whole muffeletta.

    I open it first and see the ingredients: huge slices of bread with cheese, and the special sauce of olive oil, olives, onions. The meats are different kinds of salami and some bologna. I eat at a small counter at the back of the store with other customers. The sandwich is delicious. It has an olive flavor.

    After lunch I cross the street and walk to the Mississippi River. It is broad and flat, huge. There are several barges and boats on it. A bridge is in the distance. I take pictures and walk to where the Aquarium which was badly damaged, was. I return to the shopping area.

    Royal Street has store after store with elegant antiques-sculptures, chandeliers, sofas, chairs, paintings. All of them are elaborate and very southern. They also are expensive. One small sculpture shaped like a Greek god sells for US$ 3,000.00. It is on sale. It used to be US$ 6,000.00.

    Next I cross to Bourbon Street. It is interesting with bar after bar. It has a special charm, but it is not big. It is a narrow, crowded street. During the day most of the places are closed. I plan to return that evening. Tourists are walking along with me. I am told that before Katrina all the stores were open and the streets were crowded. Maybe half of them are open now.

    That evening I eat at one of the most historic restaurants in the French Quarter: Antoine's. The restaurant is huge with four or five major rooms for eating and also with special rooms for meetings. The first room has tables with white table cloths and with chandeliers. The middle room where I sit has photographs along the wall-behind me is one of Jean Paul II. Other photographs are of the famous who ate at Antoine's.

    The menu is elaborate. They have chateaubriand for two for one hundred dollars. The other offerings are southern-heavy sauces with everything. I order potato puffs which are rather long, like fried potatoes yet puffed out. Only seven tables are occupied in my room. It is almost empty, which is difficult for a restaurant and the diners.

    The steak itself is really good. The food is not contemporary but is like it has been served for a hundred years. The total bill is expensive. As I leave, I walk through the rooms and I think that the restaurant could not be making money with so few diners. The food is also overpriced.

    I choose to walk down Bourbon Street on my way back to the hotel. A few years ago one million people would come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). Most of them were under twenty and the French Quarter was a riotous place. Now, I pass a jazz bar with a singer, and quickly pass another one. There is a talented man on the street; he is playing a saxophone. In the shop windows there are signs about voodoo. There is one store devoted to voodoo.

    I go into a bar and see a very fat black man who is singing jazz. He sings well. The bar is filled with tourists, all middle aged. Back on the street, there are many people. Walking on Bourbon is a unique experience: the jazz atmosphere has glamour; the strip tease clubs are open; the shops are lighted and busy.

    There are a few homeless mixed in. The rumor is that it is easy to get robbed now, but it isn't evident. The street seems safe. Earlier I passed the Superdome which at one point during the hurricane was a center of violence and problems. But it is quiet now. New Orleans is definitely rising again.

    Ahead of me as I turn left I see several younger guys who are very drunk. They are having a good time and are loud. When I see them I feel how much they like being in New Orleans drinking and relaxing and listening to music. Small bands of jazz are playing well along the streets. I could go into any of the clubs and listen for a long while if I wanted. This is integral to New Orleans.

    When I go back to my city, Porto Alegre in Brazil, what will I remember about New Orleans? It is an unusual city in the world, unique, with a rich southern heritage of jazz and restaurants and sexual expression. It has elaborate antique stores and great hotels. But it has been hit, hard, and will have to work to rebuild what it had.

    Eduardo Belmonte, who lives in Los Angeles, is working on a book about his experiences in the United States. The work should be published by Tabloid Books. Comments are welcome at  eduardobcorreia@hotmail.com.

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    • Show Comments (12)

    • PA

      “Americans, more excuses!
      written by Shellly, 2008-01-15 04:20:44
      I’m sure that NOLA will be rebuilt in a short time, lets see hwne brazil is going to start rebuilding.
      NOLA will rebuild, at what cost. Idiot, the Dutch visited New Orleans before Katrina and had already warned the US of possible levee failure. What did your excellent government do? NOTHING. Prevention is better than intervention”

      -Nola is being rebuilt & it wil be built, there’s no question about it, like it or not-

      “Pal, I already have one there. You don’t want me to mention America’s inadequacies, why not? Just take this as an advice, if you point a finger at somebody else, you are sure to have the same amount or more pointing at your direction. Don’t mention about my countries failures. The point is America portrays itself to be something that is not. Brazil does the same, but hey you are supposed to be a 1st world country pal. You come last on education and healthcare when comparing to ALL INDUSTRIALIZED nations. Pretty hard to swallow, don’t you think? “

      -No, it’ snot hard to swallon, as far as i’m concern we hve the best care, i can or anyone for that matter can walk into a hospital & get all the care they need including an MRI w/in 30 minutes, even some of thosde ocuntries that outrank the u.s.a don’t give the quality of care regardless of what you say, I have been in some of htose countries & when you speak to the peoplke that acually use themedical systems the picture is not so rosy-

      “By coming to this website, you open the door to criticism, if you don’t like it, you are more than welcome to leave. Have you actually done anything to help the Katrina victims or did you drop a dollar at the grocery store? How about you, have you done anything for the poor in your life? Honey, I can stay here complain as much as I want. I am here legally, and sorry to bother you, but came here INVITED. I took the opportunity for many reasons, but the road doesn’t stop here. Therefore. I can say what I have seen, run-down crime ridden towns across the US”

      -Sorry to disappoint you, but yes i have contributed to help the katrina victims & also went down & spent 30 days helping as much as i could with the time i had-
      -And yes the u.s.a never claimed to be a perfect country,yes we have crime/pocket areas just like any other country in the world, but nothing that would compare to your country, we pale in comparison & i do not agree with you that we portray ourselves to be something that we are not, people that come here believe that, not the one’s that live here, hence they get disappointed. We don’t live in denial or have to have the last word as brazilians like to do. We live in reality, criticize when warranted, speak up when we have to without worrying that someone is going to think we are rude….get my point-

      “How true. This is the ONLY thing that I like about the US, where I live is safe. .Go to D.C. and its crime ridden neighborhoods, if you take the wrong turn and you will be lucky to come out with your pants on”.

      -Please, i’m sure i can go to Harlem in NY city or D.C. & i will come out with my pants on, not in brazil-

      “America is great, but the Netherlands is better”!

      -So why aren’t you in the Netherlands & better yet, why did your family leave to begin with?-

    • PA

      “Where are all the Americans?
      written by Shellly, 2008-01-14 13:55:53
      Katrina. A living proof of America’s two-tier system of discrimination and unequal rights and liberties. Lady Justice has been raped and it sees the world with its own eyes.

      _Your countries people should even be glad if they lived in our two tier system as you claimed. At least they would have money & a trailer to live in.
      So tell me & the other bloggers here what did the brazilian government did for the brazilian flood victims?

      The scenes from Katrina and the author’s description reminds me of a Third World nation.

      What a laugh, I guess what you’re really saying is that it reminds you of home(brazil).
      I’m sure that NOLA will be rebuilt in a short time, lets see hwne brazil is going to start rebuilding.
      On a final note, since you claim to know so much about this country & its inadequacies, i suggest you return to your Muddie/Yuca country after selling your 1.5 million house & run for office or yet set up a foundation & help those less furtunate than you.
      Im sure there will be plenty of $ left fo ryou to live in a middle class neighborhood surrounded by walls, bars, security alarms, etc.

    • Bob

      Honest article
      New Orleans may be dangerous, but it’s hardly Rio.

    • Shellly

      Forrest
      [quote]dont dwell on the down side as one could pick apart any country in the world brasil is luckey in not having the
      natural dasters we do here in the states , but you have your goverment [/quote]

      If I have to pick between the Brazilian government and natural disaster, I would pick the second choice. The current crap that we have, we might just as well be going through a freaking category 5 hurricane. The economy might be doing well, but as we all know, the majority lives in poverty.

    • Shellly

      PA
      [quote]Nola is being rebuilt & it wil be built, there’s no question about it, like it or not-[/quote]

      At the current rate one house at a time, taking into consideration how long it takes to build it to code, how long to you think it will take? 10-15 years???? What a joke! As I said, Prevention is better than intervention. Yes, buses were offered, however if your excellent gov. had done its job, none of this would happen.And I hope they NOLA rebuilds it quickly enough, is not a question of whether I like it or not, ask the citizens of New Orleans what if they like or not. I bet I know the answer quite well!

      [quote]No, it’ snot hard to swallon, as far as i’m concern we hve the best care, i can or anyone for that matter can walk into a hospital & get all the care they need including an MRI w/in 30 minutes, even some of thosde ocuntries that outrank the u.s.a don’t give the quality of care regardless of what you say, I have been in some of htose countries & when you speak to the peoplke that acually use themedical systems the picture is not so rosy-[/quote]

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are the few lucky people who can actually afford healthcare in this country. Let me remind you that the US has recently come 37th on the list. Again, your myopia is a typical condition found across in this country. Why do you have senior citizens crossing the Canadian border and purchasing ILLEGALLY medication? Why do you have 4.7 or 4.5 million, without coverage? Is it because it costs too much and those who earn a decent salary cannot get Medicare? You have to be REALLY poor to get anything in this country and once you in this situation, if you make a little money, a patient disqualify for government subsidy. Some people think they will never get sick or are too young, and choose not to get coverage. However, this is never a need in Brazil or Europe. Here for you, to remind you once again, a report on Business Week about Franceˢ۪s stellar coverage.

      I have also lived for a short amount of time in France. I have worked for two major French companies in the past and know the healthcare system and it is very good. My best friend is French and had breast cancer last year. She decided to go back to France and she is getting ALL of her medication for FREE! In Britain, my son was sick; medication is FREE for children up to 16 years of age. My friendˢ۪s son had a rare kidney cancer; he was treated at one of the best hospitals in Europe, the Royal Marsden in London. All treatment and medication FREE. My friends do not have a lot of spare money, some days their transportation to and from the hospital were paid in full by the local charities. You certainly do not get this here. The NHS will take care of you. Europeans are not pushy and accept that some waiting time is necessary. For those who can afford, there is an option to take private insurance and both system work in conjunction. It is up to the doctor to decide to give you a referral or not, much like here. While living in England, I delivered two babies and stayed in the hospital for about a week. Here, women are sent home next day for normal delivery and 2 days for C-section.

      From http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_28/b4042070.htm
      “France also demonstrates that you can deliver stellar results with this mix of public and private financing. In a recent World Health Organization health-care ranking, France came in first, while the U.S. scored 37th, slightly better than Cuba and one notch above Slovenia. France’s infant death rate is 3.9 per 1,000 live births, compared with 7 in the U.S., and average life expectancy is 79.4 years, two years more than in the U.S. The country has far more hospital beds and doctors per capita than America, and far lower rates of death from diabetes and heart disease. The difference in deaths from respiratory disease, an often preventable form of mortality, is particularly striking: 31.2 per 100,000 people in France, vs. 61.5 per 100,000 in the U.S.”

      [quote]So why aren’t you in the Netherlands & better yet, why did your family leave to begin with?-
      [/quote]

      Typical question from someone who cannot take criticism. If you can’t take it, don’t comment on Brazil. Simple. Why am I still here? Because I can and will leave if I want or if more money is offered to me. That is the beauty of it, I can live pretty much anywhere I want. This is TRUE FREEDOM. I can visit or live in Europe, South America or the US. Can visit Cuba, China…

    • forrest allen brown

      PS
      AND THE WAY THE US IS HEADING WITH ALL THIS ELECTION YEAR

      WE ARE NOT FAR BEHIND

      the goverment of the us is not trying to improve the us it is trying to bring us down to the level
      of the class system world .

      just look a movie or singing star does something rong very short jail time
      we do the same thing 2 years
      the senator does drugs he checkes into a drug clinic home free
      we do years in jail

      back to the class system

    • forrest allen brown

      only the strong survive , or thoes on goverment asstence
      NO EXCUSE FROM

      SENCE WHEN IS IT THE JOB OF THE GOVERMENT TOO MAKE PEOPLE TAKE
      RESPONSIBILETY FOR THEIR OWN .ATIONS OR THE LACK THERE OF

      THE NEWS GAVE PEOPLE PLENTY OF TIME TO GET OUT , BUT LIKE THE GOVNOR ALL
      ALL SAT ON THERE ASS AND WATCH THERE WORL COME TO AN END THEN ACTED , BY POINTING THE FINGER OF BLAME

      NOW THEY ARE CRYING WE POOR PEOPLE YOU DID NOT HELP US

      how many thousands of dallors were spent trying to save stupid people that had time and the money to leave

      mayor and govenor did not use school buses to move poor people , as if they got hurt the state could be sued , so loss of 323 school buses left to go under the water

      how many rescuers were hurt trying to help people that did not try to help themselves
      4 DIED , 27 WENT TO THE HOSPITAL

      how many moer years are we going too here about this , ( will this become another we were slaves over 100 years ago )
      a college did a study 5 years ago and it showed if all the blacks that are here if there ansaters were not slaves inthe US only
      11 % would be alive today
      whites if never left europ 17 %
      latin 26 %

      they just electid a native amercian indan to the goveners post this should be good to watch

      dont dwell on the down side as one could pick apart any country in the world brasil is luckey in not having the
      natural dasters we do here in the states , but you have your goverment .

    • Shellly

      Americans, more excuses!
      You guys can give up all the excuses in the world, FEMA is doing this and is doing that, BUT BUT ( as CH. C would say) you cannot take criticism. It is a disgrace to see the videos and how your own citizens got treated. You like to point at Brazil’s problems, but when is the time to point at the US lack of consideration for the flood victims, you take out the shotgun. Nice, try again. First world country with shit that reminds me of somewhere in Uganda (and Brazil for that matter).

      Where are all the Americans?

      The scenes from Katrina and the author’s description reminds me of a Third World nation.

      [quote]What a laugh, I guess what you’re really saying is that it reminds you of home(brazil).[/quote]
      Yes. Yankee doodle doodle, it does remind me of Brazil a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. Continue to give excuses, you cannot take criticism. Americans like to point fingers, but when it comes to see your own shortcomings, you fail dismally and behave like a spoiled brat. Typical behavior of an pubescent child.

      [quote]I’m sure that NOLA will be rebuilt in a short time, lets see hwne brazil is going to start rebuilding.[/quote]

      NOLA will rebuild, at what cost. Idiot, the Dutch visited New Orleans before Katrina and had already warned the US of possible levee failure. What did your excellent government do? NOTHING. Prevention is better than intervention.

      [quote]On a final note, since you claim to know so much about this country & its inadequacies, i suggest you return to your Muddie/Yuca country after selling your 1.5 million house & run for office or yet set up a foundation & help those less furtunate than you.[/quote]

      Pal, I already have one there. You don’t want me to mention America’s inadequacies, why not? Just take this as an advice, if you point a finger at somebody else, you are sure to have the same amount or more pointing at your direction. Don’t mention about my countries failures. The point is America portrays itself to be something that is not. Brazil does the same, but hey you are supposed to be a 1st world country pal. You come last on education and healthcare when comparing to ALL INDUSTRIALIZED nations. Pretty hard to swallow, don’t you think?

      By coming to this website, you open the door to criticism, if you don’t like it, you are more than welcome to leave. Have you actually done anything to help the Katrina victims or did you drop a dollar at the grocery store? How about you, have you done anything for the poor in your life? Honey, I can stay here complain as much as I want. I am here legally, and sorry to bother you, but came here INVITED. I took the opportunity for many reasons, but the road doesn’t stop here. Therefore. I can say what I have seen, run-down crime ridden towns across the US.

      [quote]Im sure there will be plenty of $ left fo ryou to live in a middle class neighborhood surrounded by walls, bars, security alarms, etc.[/quote]

      How true. This is the ONLY thing that I like about the US, where I live is safe. .Go to D.C. and its crime ridden neighborhoods, if you take the wrong turn and you will be lucky to come out with your pants on.

      America is great, but the Netherlands is better!

      😉

    • forrest allen brown

      look at houndras after mitch
      the US has done a fair job on the big easy the mane trail comes from all the gov paperwork trying to prove
      who ownes what house , and if they are going to rebuild .
      to date hounduras has still not even started cleaning up some of the places in ther countries .

      look at SP and its floods in the favales the rich will get threre stuff done and then it stops

      THINK FEMA STANDS FOR
      FIND EVRY MEXICAN AVALBLE

      AND NOW THEY DONT WANT TO WORK UNLESS THEY GET A US CITISENSHIP CARD

    • Yowser

      Why New Orleans?
      Should have happened to San Francisco to clean out all the depravity and evil…

    • Sophia

      Local Response
      Very observant article. Correction regarding the streetcar- it’s been running its complete route since December 07-ahead of schedule. The population comments are a touch misleading–MANY locals moved to neighboring parishes and are still in the greater metropolitan area, while working on their homes. (The “Third world nation” comment is quite an exaggeration, 2 years after the storm.) Yes, many houses haven’t been touched since the storm, but neighborhoods are being rebuilt 1 house at a time.
      Now there are actually more restaurants in NOLA than pre-K and every “reopening” continues to be a celebration. The people that stay here, are “in it to win it,” and every visitor to NOLA is more often than not thanked profusely by everyone they encounter-be it their cab driver, tour operator, shop owner, waiter or bellman. Please visit NOLA–we’d love to thank you all for your support in person!

    • Shellly

      Where are all the Americans?
      [quote]What would it be like to live in a city that has lost half of its population, much of its economic infrastructure, has heightened crime, and has had many of its neighborhoods destroyed by a hurricane and subsequent flooding?[/quote]

      Katrina. A living proof of America’s two-tier system of discrimination and unequal rights and liberties. Lady Justice has been raped and it sees the world with its own eyes.

      [quote]This entire neighborhood is in total disrepair after two years. Most people could not go back to their houses for months. Rats were everywhere in the houses. The house in front of me has a trailer parked in front while they work on repairs[/quote]

      The scenes from Katrina and the author’s description reminds me of a Third World nation.

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