Cab Ride II: Haitian Muses About Post-Katrina in New Orleans

New Orleans. Charles, my Haitian cab driver, escaped Katrina, and quickly came back to work in the city. Quite the irony but more on that later.

I told him I’d returned about the same time seeing few women but plenty of male contractors and military. I shared with him that I was afraid seeing so few women around and smelling death.

Haiti. He told his story in a more matter-a-fact way. Charles escaped Haiti many years before the recent earthquake and cholera outbreak on the island.

New Orleans. He returned to transformed a limping distressed Crescent City two months after the hurricane and the flood waters had receded. He told me he got good pay but faced a housing shortage. A friend of a friend got him an hotel room.

Haiti. When I asked him more about Haiti. A fraught weighted silence filled the car signifying that his life had surely been troubled in Haiti, perhaps more so than his experiences in New Orleans before, during and after Katrina. As many have said to me, “Katrina was a bad girl.” Based on Charles’ heavy silence,the troubles in Haiti seemed a wicked step-sister in comparison

The irony: Charles escaped tragedy in Haiti but found another sort in New Orleans. He seemed happy though, grateful to be working and alive in New Orleans.

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Haiti and New Orleans’ Mayor Ray Nagin

Mayor Ray Nagin recommends slate of changes in federal disaster recovery act

When I lived in New Orleans I fondly referred to New Orleans’ Mayor Ray Nagin as Ray Ray and Nay Nay. I knew of him before, during, and after Katrina.  In my mind he wasn’t always accessible to the people in NOLA and that included the months after Katrina. Just my opinion!

Ray Ray and the Chocolate City

See the Chocolate City Video

He’s back. And he’s calling the federal government out comparing the failures of post-Katrina, particularly FEMA to what is going on in Haiti.

Do you think the US federal government failed after Katrina? Are they doing a better job in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake? Or worse? Are they meeting the needs of Haitians concerning food, water, and medical supplies? Are surgical teams and military forces arriving quickly enough and are they being put to good use? Coming back around full circle to the US, how can the federal government improve their efforts with the next Katrina?

What do you think?