Tuesday, February 28, 2006

photos from the post-apocalypse

Some photos of my trip to New Orleans are below. Most of it is from the upper and lower 9th wards, though most of the work I did was actually in Slidell, a town about 30 to 40 minutes outside of New Orleans.

Some notes on the photos:

Common Ground is a grassroots volunteer organization that's been doing a variety of things from food distribution, to house gutting, to bioremediation. They have volunteer centers all over the city.

Meg's House is the bunk house at the Bayou Liberty Relief Camp and stands as a memorial to Megan Perry.

The markings on the doors were put there by inspection crews after the flooding. The top number is usually the date of inspection, the number or initials on the left signify the inspection team, the number on the right is the number of pets found, and the number at the bottom is the number of bodies found. "TFW" stands for "Toxic Flood Water" and "NE" stands for "No Evidence," which I believe is in reference to pets since it normally appears where the number of pets is located.

A couple of photos at the end are of the French Quarter.

(click on the photos for larger versions)

My experience in New Orleans was really amazing. I highly recommend taking some time to go and help out some. As a volunteer, housing and food are free. And I'd point out that I ate extremely well.

Hopefully, I'll get around to actually writing about this stuff a little more...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

activities participated in so far:
1. trash clean-up outside a daycare center in new orleans. this is the site of some planned bioremediation, which as i understand it is all about removing the toxins in the soil (of which there are many from a variety of sewage spills, oils spills, and general chemical mishaps resulting from the hurricane), and getting regular plant life to grow in it again. instead of using other man-made chemicals to do this, chemicals are generated through hippie flower power. various composting concoctions, mushrooms, etc. general the right chemicals and microorganisms to get rid of this stuff. there were some pretty bad chemicals that spilled during the hurricane and the flooding and a lot of the land has toxic chemicals that have seeped into its nooks and cranies. these are chemicals that apparently can cause neurological damage among other things, so it's a pretty important part of the effort to help people reestablish residences.

2. carl's house. carl is a retired u.s. marine whose house was ruined in the flooding. besides generally ridding the house of its mould infested objects, it's also been completely stripped down to its plywood floors and stud-walls. we've been using clorox to clean the mould that's left and scrubbing it down with brushes. respirators, biohazard suits, safety goggles, and gloves are a must. i arrived to help with the end of the bleaching and scrubbing. yesterday we began installing insulation. today we began installing drywall. in the meantime, carl had to go bail some relative out of jail in mississippi to the sum of some five grand. the fun never stops.

3. jen's house. i've not been yet, but it's more or less the same situation as carl's house. it needs to be gutted, cleaned of mould and then redone.

4. bayou liberty relief camp. the home base has been gradually accumulating upgrades, from a roof over the outhouse to new paint on walls and general cleaning.

that's about it for now. hopefully i'll get to post again soon about the group and life at the camp.
i barely made the plane to new orleans, as the early morning subway trains run far less frequently than i had expected. when i checked my bag in the jet blue lady told me to run to the gate. she did not, however, tell me which gate i should be running to. by the time i figured that out, the door to the walkway leading to the plane had been closed. lucky for me though the hatch to the plane was still actually open.

new orleans welcomed me with the message that my luggage did not make the flight. it ended up shipping on a flight later that afternoon and i managed to pick it up that evening. post parcel pick-up, the merry members of the hurricane autonomous workers collective, who i had been working with that day, and i headed to the bayou liberty relief camp in slidell, la. the bayou liberty relief camp functions as hawc's base of operations, storing equipment like goggles, rubber boots, biohazard suits, respirators, and all sorts of construction tools, as well as shelter, food, and items for recreation like a canoe, a bayou, and a guitar.

having been living in the urban jungle that is new york city, i had forgotten that mosquitos existed. that did not prevent them from trying to literally suck the lifeblood out of me. it is humid here and they are everywhere.

this does seem to really bother most of the members of hawc, from heading out to gut houses, scrub them clean of toxic waste and mold, and help reconstruct them. it's time for the morning meeting. i'll post again about our activities at a later date.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dick Cheney... what a dick.

Cheney shot his millionaire hunting buddy. We're supposed to believe this was an accident. First of all, what the hell is Dick Cheney doing hunting? Shouldn't he be busy plotting the demise of civilization? Really though, for an administration that claims to have a lot of hard work to do all the time, they waste a lot of their efforts having fucking tea parties and and hugging their taxidermied animals. Hey, dipshits, how about instead of running around pretending like your fucking Roy Rogers, why don't you actually do some "hard work" and run the goddamn country like you're supposed to. Seriously. To quote Ivan Brunetti, "It's like a hamster trying to pilot a spaceship."

Also, as an amusing sidenote, the hunting buddy he shot was 78 years old. At that age it's probably best that he took one for the team. What the hell is a 78 year old man doing running around in the wilderness with a shotgun? Really, this kind of activity should be regulated. I mean, for god's sake, they have rules of fucking participation for fucking bumper cars. Jesus fuck.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's apparently all the rage...

...and no, i'm not talking about the artic monkeys. rather, there's a virus going around, and the only cure is batgirl...

it's a batgirl meme! for nearly 1000 other, better renditions (many by actual professional artists) of everyone's favorite bat-stamped heroine, go here.

thank you, lunch hour.