Since then, $19 million has been invested in a new community center and there are plans for a drug store. But many insist that progress in the Black community is taking far too long while other parts of the city are now gleaming.
Bush wasn’t the only politician to let citizens down. This fall, New Orleans residents will be reminded of another painful moment in the city’s history: On Oct. 5, a federal appeals court will hear arguments in the case of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin who is challenging his conviction on fraud charges.
Nagin was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from contractors who were seeking city work. Nagin was convicted on 20 counts, but his appeal claims jurors were improperly instructed on how to apply the law on nine of the counts. Nagin also has challenged a $500,000 judgment entered against him by the court, saying he’s destitute. Nagin was voted into office as an African-American politician who residents hoped would uplift the Black community by creating jobs and training. Instead, Nagin failed miserably.
On Friday, the city is planning numerous festivities that will feature a parade, a two-mile walk to commemorate the anniversary, a dedication to the hundreds of people who died during the hurricane, a mass for first responders, musical tributes, a Latino festival and selected readings by local writers and poets.
Celebrities like Jay-Z, Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, and John Travolta have been involved in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Actor Brad Pitt founded the “Make It Right Foundation” in 2007 to rebuild environmentally-sound homes in the Ninth Ward. New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, best known as Detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire, has also spearheaded the rebuilding of the community he grew up in.
Richard Karlgaard, the publisher of Forbes Magazine, characterized the resurgence in New Orleans as “the greatest turnaround of our lifetime.”
Sadly, many Black residents still struggling to rebuild in the Ninth Ward ten years after Katrina can’t embrace Karlgaard’s zealous declaration.
I can’t either.
What do you think?