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The Power to Speak Up: An Open Letter to Entergy New Orleans Rate Payers


The following is a letter to Entergy rate payers from New Orleans resident Virginia Brisley. She submitted the letter to NOLA Defender unsolicited. Her opinions do not reflect the official views of the NoDef editorial board.


Dear Entergy Stakeholders:


After Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans had no federally mandated consumer protection against the monopoly power company from transferring repair costs directly to the ratepayers.  With the massive amount of infrastructure damage coupled with the loss of a significant portion of their customer base, Entergy New Orleans (ENO) accrued losses equaling roughly $1 billion due to the storm.  

Post-Katrina Nightmare Gets Happy Ending

One family's long road back to New Orleans after the Federal Flood finally came to an end this week. After the levees broke in 2005, the family was bounced between their bank, federal programs like Road Home and charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, the Holmes family was still left splitting time between cities, sleeping in different houses and lacking money to fix their Upper 9th Ward home. After seven years, the family finally cut the red tape Friday with help from Da Mayor's office and Project Home Again, who provided the family with a new house.

Read more at The Lens

Google Street View Doesn't Show Current New Orleans Landscape, Locals Say

New Orleanians saw FEMA trailers and ever-present dumpsters and many of the houses that looked like they were about to fall over disappear over the last six years of recovery. But there's a version of New Orleans where the remnants of the Federal Flood are still ever-present. Google Street View, the Google Maps feature that offers block-by-block browsing via photographs of the street, hasn't been updated for New Orleans since 2007, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. In order to show Silicon Valley how far we've come, newly up-and-running local blog NOLA Street View is setting out to document what's changed.

The Neoliberal Deluge: A Room 220 Book Review

by Andy Cook for Room 220

New Orleanians understand what is meant by the assertion that Hurricane Katrina was a man-made disaster. Sure, a hurricane is a force of nature, but the extent of its damage wouldn’t have been as great if the canal walls were stronger, the evacuation wasn’t bungled, and the MRGO didn’t exist. At first glance, all of these factors seem unfortunate, but largely unrelated.

FEMA's Katrina Overpayments Put on Waivers

It's time once again to tell a story about our favorite government agency. First, FEMA (eventually) handed out aid to people who were flooded after K. Then, they realized they might have passed out about $385 million too much. After that oops, it appeared people would have to pay back money that they already spent. Well, today, the feds' disaster managers said people wouldn't have to pay the money back after all. People who make less than $90,000 will be able to waive the debt they owe the feds because, well, we don't owe the feds anything! The AP has full details.

Danziger Bridge Trial II: 6th Accused NOPD in Court Today

The trial slated to begin today for the sixth NOPD officer who allegedly participated in the coverup of the Danziger Bridge shootings. Retired Sgt. Gerard Dugue came to the investigation of the Sept. 2, 2005, fatal shootings several weeks after the incident to prepare the NOPD's official report, and was not on the Gentilly-to-New Orleans East suspension bridge. He is accused of lying to federal agents about his belief in the validity of the Department report. Five other officers were convicted in the coverup. Dugue coverage here and here.

Feds 1-For-2 in Latest Post-K Cop Killing Case

Three prior trials involving NOPD officers kiling civillians after Katrina resulted in near unanimous convictions. But in this week's trial for the Sept., 2005, death of Danny Brumfeld outside the Convention Center, the jury did not return such a sweeping decision. Officer Ronald Miller, who killed Brumfeld with a single shotgun blast, was convicted today on one count of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury, but was acquitted on two other counts of lying about the shooting. Ray Jones, who was patrolling with Mitchell when he shot Brumfeld, was acquitted. Coverage: Da Paper  AP

Two NOPD Officers on Trial Today for Katrina Convention Center Killing

No, that's not a misprint, and you're not having deja vu. Today, the feds are putting yet more NOPD officers on trial for their alleged role in a civillian death in post-Katrina New Orleans. The pair of officers - Ronald Mitchell and Ray Jones - are accused of lying about shooting Jacob Brumfeld while patrolling on Convention Center Blvd. on Sept. 2, 2005. They are charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, not the tough-to-prove civil rights violations that the cops in the Danziger and Glover cases were convicted on. Coverage: Da PaperWWL and a nice, neat summary of the case at ProPublica.

Drawer Mountain to Go Up in Algiers Bonfire Flames

by Ryan Sparks

Southeast Louisiana’s French heritage endures in many ways, but as the holidays approach, one tradition shines bright among the others, probably because it involves a giant fire. Along Mississippi River levees throughout the parishes to our north, the the burning of the yule log is reinterpreted as a blazing tower that helps Papa Noel find his way through the swamp.  This Saturday night the Algiers Holiday Bonfire will provide a flaming spectacle closer to home, kicking off the season of joy and giving. Click through for more pictures.

Study: Lead Levels Skyrocket During Post-K Rebuilding

We've made a lot of noise about our lead-contaminated playgrounds. But a new Tulane University study shows there's no shortage of lead in our homes since the federal flood, as well. Researchers were "surprised" to find that more than 60 percent of homes in post-K New Orleans had dangerously high lead levels, and that the hazard cut across income demographics. The research examined indoor dust and yard samples in occupied homes during 2007-08, found that lead levels were 37 percent higher than they were at the turn of the millenium. 

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