A Day of Protest, Prayer, and Possibility in Support of Katrina Recovery
On August 29, the 2-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Sierra Club and a host of other community groups are taking to the streets for a "Day of Presence" in support of Gulf Coast recovery, and to draw attention to the lack of progress rebuilding.
A quarter of a million people are still displaced from the hurricane, unable to return because they have no homes, jobs, or the means to rebuild. The coalition of community groups, businesses, and entertainment organizations is calling for a regional Marshall Plan that restores New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Meanwhile Katrina cleanup has generated tons of debris, and as has long been the case, waste management companies are burying it in landfills in low-income neighborhoods. But community groups are fighting back. The Sierra Club, led by organizer Darryl Malek-Wiley, worked last year with residents of the largely Vietnamese Village de L’est section of the city (pictured in the photo below) to force the closure of a landfill for Katrina debris.
Malek-Wiley argues that instead of “just throwing stuff into a hole in the ground,” we should take advantage of opportunities to create jobs and a recycling economy through selling construction and demolition debris and compost made from organic wastes.
The Club and its partners have also been pushing to incorporate more green building techniques into the recovery effort. Earlier this year, in the hard-hit Ninth Ward, builders broke ground on five new energy-efficient solar homes that will produce 100 percent of their own electricity.
Top photo by Becky Gillette. Bottom photo by Darryl Malek-Wiley.