News Release

Katrina: The Community Struggles to Recover


Pichon Battle’s family was displaced after Hurricane Katrina, and her mother is still in Texas. Pichon Battle founded Moving Forward as an advocacy group in Slidell (northeast of New Orleans) after the storms. She said today: “We have started a campaign against FEMA’s attempt to ‘recoup’ funds given to Katrina survivors — often without explanation or recourse — while billions in money given to corporate contractors goes unchallenged. Here the federal government failed the people by not protecting the people of New Orleans — and now they want to talk about fraud? People would be appalled if they knew the government would do that to people who have been victimized several times over.”
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Cintra is an organizer with the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance in Biloxi, Mississippi. She said today: “MIRA has recovered nearly $1 million in wage theft by rebuilding contractors, and worked in coalition with other coastal groups for a more equitable recovery. … The thing that hurts me the most is to hear that people outside of this area think that everything is back to normal. It’s what the mainstream media promotes, and what people in power who want to cover things up promote. But people need to know that things down here remain horrible. Working conditions are horrible. And living conditions are horrible at best. I want to appeal to the hearts of people to remember that … [we] are human beings. And [we] have just as much a right to live in decent, safe conditions as anyone else.”

Orr is the executive director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LEAN is a multi-racial organization that has taken a lead in tackling environmental threats in the wake of the storms and helping communities like the Vietnamese community of New Orleans East, which had an unlined landfill with toxic debris placed in their community. She said today: “We felt completely abandoned by the government. We as a country have never handled that kind of waste before. We’ve created a toxic legacy.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020.