Friday, July 16, 2010

Louisiana: Raped Again and Left For Dead

The following is a review of my book, RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT. While it is about the aftermath of Katrina, its words of warning are appropriate still. With the nation's worst environmental disaster looming heavy over the Gulf Coast, one cannot help but wonder what will become of this oil ravaged region. Already, BP is being slow to pay local governments and fishermen, businesses are on the verge of collapse, the people disheartened. This disaster has environmental/economic implications that have yet to even surface. How will the government respond? Can the government respond? Is there money to continue to pay for all of those things that are needed in light of what seems to be priorities elsewhere? When disasters strike foreign lands, we are quick to send aid. Why is it that when disaster strikes at home, we sit on our asses? Why is it that no foreign government offers to send us help? Maybe it is time to re-think this one way street. Maybe its time we stopped leaving our for dead and actually live our own creed-no one left behind!

Hurricane Katrina, a disaster of Biblical proportions, is no longer in the news but the devastation of the land and the victimization of the residents of the Gulf Coast continue. Philip Harris's Raping Louisiana - A Diary of Deceit addresses the aftermath of the storm through the eyes of Steve Burgoyne, a middle aged truck driver from upstate New York. The bluntly honest depiction of his yearlong odyssey working in the Katrina cleanup efforts reveals the corruption, the despair, and the government waste in detailed diary entries.

Burgoyne's descriptions, presented with the minutia of a daily journal, illustrate the three types of people who came to the Gulf in the aftermath of the storm: crooks, victims trying to survive, and the people who came because they genuinely care. Burgoyne met plenty of all, the faceless contractors came down to make a quick fortune off the government and the unfortunate; the victims as they wandered the streets of the Dead Zone in the lower ninth ward; and the men moving debris and clearing the streets of rubble.

Steve and his crew worked and lived in conditions little better than those of a third world country. They initially slept in travel trailers parked in horse pastures with no potable water or sewage facilities. But even in those conditions, the men stayed on working to make the land clear so the previous inhabitants of the Gulf Coast could return to their land. Every truck load carried away from previously populated area impacted the men who worked there. "It was're picking up pieces of somebody's life." Throughout, it is evident that Burgoyne's family was his support network while he toiled in the land of the hopeless.

On the Gulf, with no affordable places to live, there is no working class to run the shops and businesses in the service industries. FEMA has made a feeble attempt to provide housing for those living in shelters surrounded by hopelessness. Those that stayed and now make their homes there are the disabled, the elderly, and the unskilled labor. They now sit in their FEMA provided formaldehyde-laced cages destitute and deeply depressed. The rebuilding of the city has completely ignored this disenfranchised population, government supplemented affordable housing is not a priority in the re-building boom.

New Orleans is currently the murder capital of the world. Depression, suicide, and anxiety are rampant. The devastation of the storm still takes victims in its path through drugs and alcohol abuse. The imported workers and those refugees who remained self-medicate as they live side by side in a ravaged land.

Ignored, forgotten, and abandoned the Gulf Coast is still a hotbed of contention and corruption. Raping Louisiana is a good read for raising America's social consciousness. We can provide millions of dollars to tsunami stricken countries, we can fund a war to fight terrorism, and we can forgive billions of dollars of foreign debt but we have written off our own citizens. Raping Louisiana should be a wakeup call to those who have forgotten Katrina and her victims. Is anybody listening?

Shannon Evans is recognized in the Puget Sound as an expert in how to make your business have a web presence rather than just a web page. Her conversational marketing techniques and practices outlined by Practical Local Search, LLC you will see your small business presence on the web increase: She is a consultant for social marketing campaigns that allow you to organize your marketing and sales efforts in an inexpensive delivery platform that is easy to set up and manage. The ability to send, deliver, and track any installed resource gives you the power to create a marketing program quickly and easily in a scalable format that can grow with your business.

Shannon is also a co-author of Get Found Now! Local Search Secrets Exposed: Learn How to Achieve High Rankings in Google, Yahoo and Bing and multiple business ebooks. Her books teach entrepreneurs how to leverage the internet to attract new clients.

Shannon has a wide and varied background in both the practical and the pragmatic aspects of the business world. Shannon loves nothing better than teaching local businesses how to think globally and to be searched locally.

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