All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Call Home

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Call Home

 

By Anita Sinha

At last week’s annual Congressional Black Caucus conference, Louisiana Representative William Jefferson hosted a panel entitled “Recovery by Whom, for Whom?” Invited speaker Mayor Ray Nagin answered Jefferson’s question as he auctioneered off New Orleans to the audience, stating that the city is undergoing “the biggest economic development in history.”

The prices of homes and even hotels are a steal, and deep pockets are invited to swoop down and take advantage of the still-struggling New Orleans. Mayor Nagin represented the city as a “buffet,” and shamelessly summoned private business “to eat all they can eat.” He called on them to take advantage of the “schmorgesborg” that is New Orleans–there is enough for everybody.

Everybody except the scores of residents who remain displaced. The disadvantaged, who are predominately Black, low-wage workers, the disabled, the elderly, all of whom are poor. I have developed close relationships with some of these residents, which has made being an eyewitness to the impact of their abandonment by our government particularly painful.

Ms. Williams and Ms. Jennings recently invited themselves to my wedding (which does not yet exist), saying that they will rise to give testimony to my good work when prompted to “speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Ms. Lewis proudly shares with me updates of her granddaughter who started college this fa