August 27th
For me the sixth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina events started with The Rising Sun Conference on August 27th. This conference was very useful for me because not only was it on the recovery process of New Orleans, but it was also aimed towards people discussing recovery in blogs and other forms of social media. Below is a little blurb on each of the topics that was looked at, and what I learned from them.

Rising Tide

Rising Tide

Richard Companlla – Featured Speaker
Looked at the geography of New Orleans back to the 1800’s, discussing how racial divisions originated and have evolved over time. One thing I found interesting about his presentation was, he first showed where black and white people had lived before Hurricane Katrina as blue and yellow, and the division was pretty clear. But, then he showed where natives to the city lived and the whole city was green, except for the French Quarter and a few other wealthier neighborhoods, which were red. This led into a conversation of how we should look more critically at how some racial tensions have been created by politics of the past. He ended with a call for New Orleans to come together after Hurricane Katrina, instead of become further divided.

Panel on using Social Media for Social Justice

(Jordan Flaherty / Cherri Foytlin / Jimmy Huck, Jr. / Stephen Ostertag)
This is where I heard the quote that went “Social justice will be achieved when you are willing to put your life in a bingo reel with everybody else’s in the world and feel assured you will draw a good new life”. One thing that was brought up is that we should not use Facebook for every goal. With all the new resources out there (ie Google Earth, YouTube, Reddit, Al Jazeera and an endless number of blogs) we should use tools that are appropriate to specific goals. And if we do choose to use Facebook, to remember that there is a big difference between getting someone to simply “like” your page and getting them to actually believe in your cause.

Neighborland
Please see my fourth blog if you want to learn more about this project started by Candy Chang.

Re-capping the well

(Anne Rolfes / David Hammer / Dr. Len Bahr / Drake Toulouse / Bob Marshall)
Looks into the second disaster that hit New Orleans: the BP oil spill. Even though this screw up caused several dozen potential ticking time bombs, that may or may not blow up, politicians are still not cracking down on the oil industry. And money is only given out for recovery if you can give hard proof, which is very rarely available. If you are still interested on the topic, make sure to read the blogs Tanya has written on the BP oil spill.

New  food: continuity and change

(Todd Price / Peter Thriffley / Rene Louapre / Chris DeBarr / Adolfo Garcia / Alex del Castillo)
Please see my second blog if you are interested in learning more about how Hurricane Katrina affected the food culture in New Orleans.

August 28th
The 28th was the grand opening of the New Orleans healing center, please see my fifth blog if your interested in learning more about it.

Of course august 28th was also the day that Hurricane Irene hit the east coast. Being in New Orleans during the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina made it that much more eerie, staying up until 2am the night before, watching as it headed towards the coast. A few days later Tanya went down to help out in the recovery process with the Red Cross. So if you’re still interested in the topic make sure to check out her blogs as well.

August 29th
For a full list of events this day you can also check out:
http://www.nola.com/katrina/index.ssf/2011/08/hurricane_katrina_anniversary_1.html?mobRedir=false

In the morning I went to the second line I talk about in my second blog. Then the anniversary events ended for me with…
MR CHRISTY’S WELCOMING HOME PARTY!!!
I was so excited for this event I made sure I got Mr. Christy a welcoming home gift and road my bike out to his house the night before to check it out. I still can’t believe the luck that I would plan my trip for the same week as his welcoming home party! Unfortunately Mr. Christy was unable to be there himself because he had a fall that morning and was in the hospital for minor care. But his grandson and long time neighbor where there for the ceremony. During the ceremony, not only was I able to present the welcoming home gift, but I also got to say a word for our class about our work on Mr. Christy’s house. This was followed by an open house with donated food and cake. Another thing that I really liked was that I ran into Ashley, our supervisor at Mr. Christy’s house in May, so I got to talk with her. Below are pictures from Mr. Christy’s house.

Mr Christy #1

Mr Christy #1

Mr Christy #2

Mr Christy #2

Mr Christy #3

Mr Christy #3

Mr Christy #4

Mr Christy #4

Mr Christy #5

Mr Christy #5

Mr Christy #6

Mr Christy #6

Mr Christy #7

Mr Christy #7

Reflection (where I’m at)
Now that I’ve been back from New Orleans for two and a half months now my experiences are starting to sink in a bit more. I have also been lucky enough to teach two high school classes all about Hurricane Katrina in my teaching placement. And next week I will be giving a presentation to the Environmental Disasters class at York about CINT912 and the application process. I am really excited about this because it was Pascal giving this presentation last year that motivated me to sign up last year. And as some of you may know, I am also writing my Senior Thesis on Hurricane Katrina, ironically, with the same supervisor Tanya has her PhD. So I often times have New Orleans on the mind and must say I really miss it. Hopefully I will be able to go back soon and will make sure I update these blogs more frequently as I go through the experiences.

Bryan McGill from YorkU

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