Tag Archives | Katrina

Is Hurricane Katrina Responsible for Brain-Eating Amoeba in Louisana’s Water Supply?

Picture: National Geographic (C)

Picture: National Geographic (C)

Almost a decade later, and we’re still seeing the impact of Hurricane Katrina. File this one under “Nightmare Fuel.” (By the way, the amoeba really does look like a scary clown face. Here’s where I found the image.)

Via National Geographic.

The deadly brain-eating amoeba that recently killed a four-year-old Louisiana boy may be linked to unsafe water conditions created by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, experts say.

The boy, Drake Smith Jr., died from a rare but deadly swelling of the brain caused by Naegleria fowleri, a species of single-celled organism known as an amoeba.

The child was playing on a backyard Slip ‘n Slide in St. Bernard Parish, near New Orleans, and was apparently infected by amoebae present in the water in early August. About two days later, he was dead.

For N. fowleri to gain access to the brain, it must go up a person’s nose and climb the olfactory nerve.

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Remember There’s No Such Thing As A Natural Disaster

Scottish radical geographer, professor, and author Neil Smith died at age 58 this past weekend. It’s worth revisiting his groundbreaking, established-wisdom-challenging work, including his well-known declaration post-Hurricane Katrina that there’s no such thing as a natural disaster:

It is generally accepted among environmental geographers that there is no such thing as a natural disaster. In every phase and aspect of a disaster – causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction – the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus. Hurricane Katrina provides the most startling confirmation of that axiom.

The Bush administration…is happy to attribute the dismal record of death and destruction on the Gulf Coast – perhaps 1200 lives by the latest counts – to an act of nature. It has proven itself not just oblivious but ideologically opposed to mounting scientific evidence of global warming and the fact that rising sea-levels make cities such as New Orleans, Venice, or Dacca immediately vulnerable to future calamity.

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George W. Bush: The Insult By Kanye West Was The Worst Moment of My Presidency

Kayne West & Mike MyersReally, Mr. President? Needless to say, there was a day in September that was pretty bad for the country. (And also a mega-disaster that precipitated West’s comment and to this day leaves many Americans displaced from their homes.) Wow, of all places, looks like Ken Tucker in Entertainment Weekly has broken this story:

President George W. Bush says that when he heard Kanye West say, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” “it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency.”

Bush has taped an interview with Matt Lauer that will air on a special prime-time Matt Lauer Reports on NBC Nov. 8. It’s to promote his forthcoming book, Decision Points. The subjects of the interview are wide-ranging, but the former president is very passionate on the subject of West’s criticism of the way Bush handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NBC has released some quotations from the interview.

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Katrina: FEMA Chief Says Government Didn’t Tell All

Now he tells us! From AP:

Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the federal official at the heart of a firestorm over Washington’s slow response is acknowledging the government’s shortcomings. Former Federal Emergency Management agency director Mike Brown tells NBC’s “Today” show “there was a disconnect” about what the Bush administration was saying about the situation, and how bad things actually were.

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No “Home Sweet Home” Five Years After Katrina

Matt Pascarella and I encountered Patricia Thomas while she was breaking into a home at the Lafitte Housing Project in New Orleans. It was her own home. Nevertheless, if caught, she’d end up in the slammer. So would we. Matt was my producer for the film, Big Easy to Big Empty, and he encouraged my worst habits. I’d worked for the New Orleans Housing Authority years back and knew they wanted the poor black folk out of these pretty townhouses near the French Quarter. Katrina was an excuse for ethnic cleansing, American style. Matt and I skipped cuffs on this shoot, but were charged later by Homeland Security (see below). While I recorded the story of hidden evils on film, Matt gathered a story which no camera can capture. Here it is. — Greg Palast

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Remembering the Fifth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Through Film

Big EasyMoviefone heralds a Snag Films mini-fest including disinformation‘s Greg Palast film Big Easy To Big Empty: The Untold Story Of The Drowning Of New Orleans:

With the release of Spike Lee’s ‘If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise,’ the follow-up to 2006′s essential ‘When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,’ the city of New Orleans is revisited five years after Hurricane Katrina to examine the progress and stagnancy of rejuvenating a still-ailing city.

Yet on the fifth anniversary of one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history, Lee’s film is one of a number of documentaries to spotlight various facets of the disaster. Our friends at SnagFilms present five movies on Katrina, each looking at a different aspect of the tragedy. As we remember a government that failed and a city destroyed, these films stand as a vital testament to the city’s character, culture and resilience.

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Before There Was Oil, There Was Water: Harry Shearer’s ‘The Big Uneasy’ (Video)

The Big UneasyHere’s Harry Shearer (of Spinal Tap and Simpsons fame) being interviewed by Michael Smerconish about his new documentary The Big Uneasy on Hardball with Chris Matthews below. Here’s a bit about the documentary:

Almost five years ago, a disaster struck New Orleans. The media said it was a natural disaster primarily affecting poor black people. On both counts, the media was wrong.

In The Big Uneasy, humorist and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer gets the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented from the people who were there. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the flooding of New Orleans, Shearer speaks to the investigators who poked through the muck as the water receded and a whistleblower from the Army Corps of Engineers, revealing that some of the same flawed methods responsible for the levee failure during Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the new New Orleans from future peril.

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FEMA’s Sale of Katrina Trailers Sparks Criticism

Spencer S. Hsu writes in the Washington Post:

In a giant auction, the federal government has agreed to sell for pennies on the dollar most of the 120,000 formaldehyde-tainted trailers it bought nearly five years ago for Hurricane Katrina victims. But the sale of the units, perhaps the most visible symbol of the government’s bungled response to the hurricane, has triggered a new round of charges that it is endangering future buyers for years to come.

FEMA Trailers

Consumer advocates and environmentalists are outraged that the government resold products it deemed unsafe to live in, saying warning stickers attached to the units will not keep people from misusing them.

Besides formaldehyde, units might be plagued by mold, mildew and propane gas leaks, FEMA acknowledged.

“Proceed with caution, extreme caution, if you are tempted to respond to what appears to be an attractive offer for a travel trailer or manufactured home,” Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wrote in a consumer alert.

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Hurricane Katrina Victims to Sue Oil Companies over Global Warming

Via the Telegraph:

Victims of Hurricane Katrina are seeking to sue carbon gas-emitting multinationals for helping fuel global warming and boosting the 2005 storm.

The class action suit brought by residents from southern Mississippi, which was ravaged by hurricane-force winds and driving rains, was first filed just weeks after the August 2005 storm hit.

“The plaintiffs allege that defendants’ operation of energy, fossil fuels, and chemical industries in the United States caused the emission of greenhouse gasses that contributed to global warming,” say the documents seen by the AFP news agency.

The increase in global surface air and water temperatures “in turn caused a rise in sea levels and added to the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina, which combined to destroy the plaintiffs’ private property, as well as public property useful to them.”

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