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From the newswire: The city of New Orleans is attempting to destroy the homes of residents in the Lower 9th Ward. This is in spite of a temporary moratorium won by social justice groups against the city which blocks attempts to bulldoze the homes of Lower 9th Ward residents. The moratorium, which ends on January 6th, 2006, is being circumvented by the city through the unconstitutional use of eminent domain. Local residents are working alongside Common Ground Collective, a grass-roots organization working for the rights of displaced and neglected victims of Hurricane Katrina, and are protesting the action and calling on citizens everywhere to get involved.

Brandon Darby, Common Ground's 9th Ward Organizer is headlining the project to protect the rights of 9th Ward residents. “These residents are living in shelters across the country. FEMA is cutting them off on February 7th. They have no where to go. The city is trying to violate their constitutional rights and use a twisted interpretation of eminent domain laws to allow developers to grab this land from these communities."

The Lower 9th Ward embodies the heart of a community that evolved from African-American families over many generations, and residents share a devotion and pride in their homes and neighborhoods that is becoming more and more scarce across the country. Unfortunately, the area was also atypical in its neglect from the city.
[Read the full story]

New Orleans Indymedia | Common Ground Collective website
The Common Ground collective is asking people to visit the New Orleans evacuees in their area and let them know that efforts are being made to rebuild their community.
Common Ground Collective is a community-run organization offering solidarity and mutual aid to the citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Common Ground collective began days after Katrina hit, establishing a community center in Algiers that offers free water, food, cleaning supplies, internet access, house repairs, legal support, housing advocacy, and a free medical clinic. We also run a community radio station and a mobile free clinic.
Efforts have begun to take shape in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. We see that there was great inequality before the storm in the 9th ward. We believe this inequality continued during the storm, and we see that this inequality is continuing now, after the storm. Though the 9th ward has been abandoned by the city, there are many people from all over the country joining with residents to clean and rebuild the community and keep it in the hands of those who live there.
For a month now, Common Ground has been placing information sheets on every door of the 9th Ward and working with residents who are committed to staying. A distribution center has been established, free medical and legal clinics have taken place, and crews have been picking up trash and helping clean homes.
It is our belief that the ninth ward community will have more of a chance of surviving if the residents return home, organize, help each other and know that aid and relief are available for the long- term. We need your help to let residents know that all of this is happening in their community. This can be done by printing out the flyer below and distributing it to 9th ward evacuees in your area.
For more information visit or contact common ground 9th ward coordinator, Brandon Darby.
Common Ground 331 Atlantic Ave, New Orleans (504) 368-6897


While Houston "dodged the bullet" with Hurricane Rita, East Texas and Louisiana were hard hit by high winds and water. Houstonians T & K write about their trip to Tyler county to bring supplies to friends who have lost power, and published a 3 part series of stories and photos of the damage to East Texas:

Part One - Heading East
Part Two - John and Torey
Part Three - Rita

Information about the destruction in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast following Rita can be found at New Orleans Indymedia


When it looked like Hurricane Rita might be headed our way, city officials declared mandatory evacuations in some areas near flood zones, and voluntary evacuation for the whole city. This lead to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from Houston in private vehicles. It appears that more people may have died as a result of the evacuation than due to hurricane Rita itself.

A number of Houstonians wrote about their expieriences leaving town and have writen articles analysing the evacuation policy: 2 folks and 2 dogs: One evacuation story | Mark Waller :Fleeing Houston | Jennifer : a rita blog | Lindar Privileged Pig's Vacation | Nick Cooper: Attention Walmart Shoppers, You're On Your Own

People have also commented on how the government (in)actions have been more disasterous than Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Read Disasters by Jordan Flaherty


The feeling in Houston is palpable. The streets are empty, stores are closed, televisions are on filling the air with hysteria. While hundreds of thousands of people have left Houston, stuck in traffic for hours and hours, many have stayed trying to find the safest place they can.
Here are stories, photos and reports from Houstonians who stayed:

Raj: Calm before Rita T: 1) Praying for the trees, 2) What Houstonians Eat | RoB 1) Going to work, 2) Montrose: what's open. Stories: Katie Heim Downtown Homeless Forgotten Again | Brewster McCloud: Fort Bend Outpost - Day 2 | Yerba: Anti-Climax to the Max? | ! : Report from behind the barricades (Memoirs of a Rita survivor) | Bart Vanzetti: Cause of Death: A Dodged Bullet

Keep publishing! Tell your stories of being stuck in cars, taping your windows, or turning off your TV and taking it easy.


With many cars running out of gas before arriving at their destinations, evacuation presents a risk of being stranded on the side of the road during tropical storm conditions. The counterflow lane-reversals may provide some relief, but is being done exceedingly cautiously and slowly.

Projections show Hurricane Rita making landfall between Port O'Conner and Morgan City on the morning of Saturday September 24. Rita has weakened a bit from a category 5 to a category 4 stormand may weaken slightly more before reaching the coast. A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Galveston and flood-prone areas of Houston (download Houston evacuation zones map) | Read a press release form Mayor White. Most local schools and universities have closed until the end of the weekend. If you want government assistance to evacuate call 311 or (713) 837-0311.

If you have information to share about what people in downtown (not an evacuation area) have to contend with in order to make their decision about leaving, please add a comment here.

City of Houston Website

Lets keep each other informed! Please publish reports to Houston IMC if you are able.
To offer or search for evacuee housing, check here.

The south-bound lanes of I-45 have been opened to north-bound traffic as of Thursday morning.


"Certainly some people do not want to move back, but many of us do. We want to rebuild our city that we love. The People’s Hurricane Fund - a grassroots, community based group made up of New Orleans community organizers and allies from around the US - has already made one of their first demands a “right of return” for the displaced of New Orleans."
-- Jordan Flaherty (a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine ( He is not planning on moving out of New Orleans.)


From Indybay: On September 9th, Bradley from Santa Cruz Indymedia and two other west coast IMCistas (including Portland) arrived in Houston, Texas to help provide independent media coverage from Houston and other communities. Their first stop was the Astrodome and surrounding buildings.

There are about 10,000 people now living in these buildings, which are now being called "Dome City." The scene in the Astrodome is almost unreal. There are thousands of people sleeping in close proximity. Many people are trying to get in contact with loved ones, but there does not seem to be a practical way to facilitate this. There seems to be very little organization, plenty of unanswered questions and almost no information about what the future holds for Hurricane Katrina survivors. Some clothing and food is being provided to people, however the food is very low in nutritional value and much of the clothing is inadequate. Many people here have health conditions which are not being cared to. For example, many folks are diabetic, yet most of the food being offered is full of sugar, such as donuts and twinkies.

One man said he was able to drive his family out of New Orleans before the Hurricane struck. He had been at Astrodome in Houston for about a week. He was happy that he was able to leave New Orleans with his family, but was now almost out of money and was unsure of what was going to happen next. He was waiting in line for a Red Cross Debit Credit worth $2,000. He waited in line yesterday for this debit card, but then FEMA and the Red Cross stopped handing out cards. Many people waited in line and had nothing to show for their time spent waiting. People do not know what the future may hold... that people do not know what tomorrow holds.... that people do not know what will happen today... the people have no idea what will happen with the line they are again waiting in.

Photos: 1 | 2 | Audio: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

The West Coast IMC crew has moved east and are now in New Orleans, where they continue to write and publish media [Creativity, Solidarity and Mutual Aid in Algiers, New Orleans].

You don't have to be from the West Coast to publish to Indymedia. Thousands of Houstonians have volunteered in many different ways to show solidarity with survivors of Katrina. Every one of us is a reporter!


It has been less than 2 weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, many people are still trappen in their homes, New Orleans is still flooded, and already companies are finding ways to profit off of the destruction in the Gulf Coast.

Houston based Halliburton, well known locally for profiteering in Iraq, has already recived a contract from the US Navy to reconstruct Navy bases in Mississippi. US Vice President and former CEO of Halliburton recently visited the Gulfport Mississippi, where some of these contracts for millions of dollars are to be carried out. Jeremy Scahill from Democracy Now! points out: ... what's more significant and what people are not focusing on is that Kellogg Brown & Root is also now traveling throughout the region assessing damage to, for instance, the pumps in New Orleans and the infrastructure of the city. They have already begun providing services for some five hundred Department of Homeland Security personnel. They have set up a camp for the Mississippi Power Company. And so they're setting up these same kinds of camps that we see in Guantanamo and Iraq and elsewhere to service the rebuilding of the Gulf area here of the South.

Besides Halliburton, many other companies are cashing in on the disaster in the Gulf. Kali Dalton describes being recruited by a job agency under the pretense of helping people in New Orleans only to be shipped to Biloxi Mississippi and forced to work cleaning up casinos. "the area was under martial law, so we were not permitted to leave the area of a parking lot between 6pm and 6am. If we did, we would run the risk of being shot. That may be understandable, but it contributed heavily to the prison-camp atmosphere of the work site. Not only were they not providing us with transportation home, as they'd promised; we were not even allowed to walk away."

Many are concerned that the reconstruction of New Orleans will be rebuilt as a sort of Disneyland for tourists and the wealthy. Community organizations displaced from New Orleans are strongly voicing opposition to this "reconstruction" of New Orleans. "We will not stand idly by while this disaster is used as an opportunity to replace our homes with newly built mansions and condos in a gentrified New Orleans" declares Comunity Labor United.


Efforts to start a low power fm radio station inside the Astrodome were thwarted today by a Harris County Bureaucrat named RW Royal, Incident Commander of the Joint Information Committee (JIC). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had on Sunday approved an application made by Austin Airwaves for 3 micro-radio stations, to be set up inside the Astrodome and other emergency shelters in Houston to disseminate information to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. On Wednesday, after days of stalling from many different levels of government bureaucracy, including radio activists lining up the purchase of 10.000 radios, Harris County authorities denied the request.

This project has received national support from radio activists, service providers, as well as approval from survivors of Katrina. It has also received national media coverage, including from Democracy Now! (read or listen to the story)

Jacob Applebaum writes:
The people on the ground I spoke with personally asked me why I was there. I told them that I was with a group helping to bring emergency radio information to them. Broadast from right inside the dome. Those people were overjoyed to hear that they would get a radio station with emergency information, with information on job interviews, food, housing, lost children, found person, clothing and other important information. It breaks my heart.

Why has this man denied this? Why is the government going out of its way to stop us from helping people?


Everyone seems to have an opinion on what has happened in the aftermath of Katrina, here are some voices from New Orleans on the topic:
Jordan Flaherty: Notes from inside New Orleans | Don't Let New Orleans Die
I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps
Malik Rahim (pictured): This is Criminal | Interview with radioActive sanDiego
It's criminal. From what you're hearing, the people trapped in New Orleans are nothing but looters. We're told we should be more "neighborly." But nobody talked about being neighborly until after the people who could afford to leave -- left.
Community Labor United: Demands Action, Accountability and starts A People’s Hurricane fund
The people of New Orleans will not go quietly into the night, scattering across this country to become homeless in countless other cities while federal relief funds are funneled into rebuilding casinos, hotels, chemical plants and the wealthy white districts of New Orleans like the French Quarter and the Garden District. We will not stand idly by while this disaster is used as an opportunity to replace our homes with newly built mansions and condos in a gentrified New Orleans.
Local zine in PDF of reports by Jordan Flaherty and Malik Rahim


How to Help Katrina Victims from Space City
8 days since Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact, countless relief efforts have organized to collect and distribute aid. As thousands of evacuees struggle to make Houston their temporary home, volunteers, donations, and other services are needed to help victims reconstruct their lives. Following, are a few ways you can help. If you have further information please share with us by publishing it to the newswire
We strongly encourage people to direct their resources towards grassroots and people of color lead organizations. For more information on why it is important to support grassroots, democratic and comunity based groups, read this

Volunteer: Houston Red Cross | Harris Country Citizen Corps Volunteer Guide | from the newswire: Info for volunteering at Reliant
Missing Persons: Public Voicemail | Angola3 looking for Robert King Wilkerson
Food Not Bombs: Please Help FNB |
Housing: Activists’ Housing Board | Craigs List | | (
Donate ($): People’s Hurricane Fund | Mutual Aid Relief | Red Cross | Second Harvest
Donations: Please do not take donations to GRB or Astrodome. Deliver donations at Drop-off locations: West Houston Church 2390 West Sam Houston Parkway North at Hammerly | Berean 7th Day Adventist Church 2119 Saint Emanuel St. | Gulf Haven Church 10716 Sabo Road | From the newswire:Items needed at GRB
Benefits: SHONUF Help for NO Musicians | Sept. 10th @ Last Concert Cafe


From the newswire: help needed NOW at the Astrodome and Reliant (read article | info for volunteers)

After suffering through 4 days of flooding and heat without food and water, busloads of exhausted, stressed refugees are still arriving in Houston, to be housed at the Astrodome, ( see interviews), at nearby Reliant Center, and possibly at George R. Brown. At least there's fruit & water: back in New Orleans, messages from a hospital "no water" as of Wed. night

Priorities of a corporate empire: Needing billions to spread misery in Iraq, Bush cut $20-$40 million needed to strengthen levees -- a 2004 project that was 80% complete. Needing troops, he sent 35% of Louisiana's National Guard. Then he pushed to privatize disaster services including the N.O. disaster plan, and disabled FEMA.
The result? Even though FEMA had rated a New Orleans hurricane hit as 1 of the 3 most likely, most catastrophic disasters 4 years ago, it was incapable of a thorough or speedy evacuation. Residents had to escape the city on their own, or not at all. Left behind: the sickest, oldest, poorest, youngest. Thousands are believed to have drowned, some trapped in attics as flood waters rose for 2 days.

Houston Indymedia Coverage: Video: 1 | 2 | 3
Reports from New Orleans: 1 | 2 | 3
Comentary from the Newswire: Katrina open letter to radical/progressive community (From Houston) | In Praise of Looting | American Genocide in New Orleans | New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagins Message AUDIO | RCP:People Didn't Have to Die

NY IMC Article | Refugees to Astrodome | Breaking news from New Orleans Indymedia |
How to help: Housing: Activist Housing Board, Craigs List, Donate: Red Cross | Second Harvest Benefits: Saturday Sept. 3rd SOS Radio Katrina Relief Benefit @ The Candy Lady 4812 Alameda | Sept. 10th @ Last Concert Cafe


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