"There are things that are going on in America that are an Assault on Black Sanity. Black bloggers need to stop Acting White regarding New Orleans. We need our AfroSpear Think Tank to address Katrina and make it part of our Black Agenda. The brothers and sisters of New Orleans need and deserve Black bloggers unfied help. Yes it's going to take the Field Negro, Jack and Jill Politics, The Free Slave, people from The Electronic Village, BygBaby, brothers and sisters from Cananda, Bronze Trinity, and so many other Black bloggers from around the AfroSphere to bring more attention to the plight of our people, who have been displaced, dislocated and disoriented by a system of local, state and federal governments who seem not to care."There are a number of aspects of the Katrina tragedy worthy of discussion. For example, have you thought about the unique stories on the pioneering individuals and families who have chosen to exercise their self-granted "right to return" to their devastated homes and rebuild their lives following Hurricanes Katrina. Tavis Smiley went to New Orleans recently to visit with some of these courageous people who are central to the culture of the Big Easy. Tavis regularly has conversations about Hurricane Katrina on his show.
Another recent development in the story is the rising death rate. Hurricane Katrina's tragic aftermath lingered for at least a year after the storm abated, boosting New Orleans' death rate last year by 47% compared with two years before the levees broke.
Doctors say the dramatic surge in deaths comes as no surprise in a city of 250,000 mostly poor and middle-class people who lost seven of 22 hospitals and half of the city's hospital beds. More than 4,486 doctors were displaced from three New Orleans parishes, creating a shortage that still hampers many hospitals. The indigent suffered the brunt of the health toll from the 2005 storm. The Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, two hospitals that made up the city's safety net for the uninsured, were severely damaged. Charity Hospital, oldest and best known of the two, remains closed.
"We can get hung up on the numbers, but the bottom line is that people are dying at a faster rate here post-Katrina," says Jullette Saussy, director of New Orleans EMS.
"The lack of primary care, of mental health care and of long waits in emergency rooms all have (worsened) people's normally controllable chronic diseases," she says. "Diabetes, respiratory disease and hypertension all are killers, especially when they're not dealt with."
From January to June 2006, they found on average 1,317 death notices a month, for a mortality rate of about 91 per 100,000 people. In 2002 and 2004, the average was 924 notices a month, for a death rate of 62 per 100,000, 47% fewer than after the storm.
I encourage villagers to share their thoughts on the Katrina tragedy. What do you see going on to re-open New Orleans? The recovery is slow and many New Orleans people and places have yet to come back after Katrina. What aspects of the recovery would you like to see discussed here under our baobob tree?