Sunday, September 11, 2005

Latest news from Andrea Garland

Well, folks.... it's been a long and interesting day. I apologize - no pictures will be posted tonight.

A whole lot of BS went on today and it's not worth going into too many details. Suffice to say that Jeffrey and I returned back to the camp in Covington from a supply run to be surrounded by a dozen police officers asking for our ID, all sorts of questions, wanting to search our van... all about this renegade RN that showed up last night offering us lots of medical stuff, long story short we gave him a ride to his van last night and they had to make sure we weren't in cohots - with someone who it now appears was being pursued on trumped up charges as after all the nonesense they let the dude go. I know, that's all very incoherent, but that's the best I can do.

The important news to impart is: WE ARE GOING HOME. Our friend James went into the city today and checked on our neighborhood and reported back that "it is beautiful." He estimates there are some 30-40 people left in our area. The national guard is patrolling - but - as was stated to us by the national guard we met yesterday in
Algiers "well, we'd rather be here than being shot at in Iraq, so our mission here is not to complete our mission (evacuating the city)." So after a long, stressful day with all sorts of craziness with cops and the Red Cross and everything else under the sun, we have decided we are going home. My friend Leenie just got back to LA and she is down with the plan. So... here is the deal: tomorrow, we are are going into the city - first to Algiers to drop off the supplies we picked up for those folks today, and then we will make a run through our neighborhood and check out our house (James did a check from the outside today, other than the awning that now sits in front of our door instead of above it, we are pretty much ok). The day after, we will load up on supplies - replace the generators we have given to others, stock up on food and water, get ourselves hooked up with broadband internet so we can stay in touch with ya'll... and the day after, we are going back in and we are going to stay.

I don't have the energy to explain, so I'm just going to tell you all how it is. 'They' are trying to take our city from us. Thousands upon thousands of poor, mostly African American citizens of
New Orleans were murdered. Those levey breaks? Dynamite. Don't ask me for proof yet - just give us some time, we will get it to you. The ones that didn't die were starved. The rest, 'evacuated.' To quote one of our state reps, who now claims the quote was taken out of context, they solved the public housing problem in New Orleans.

Little thing they forgot, though.
New Orleans isn't like any other place in this country. We've always (half)jokingly referred to it as the only third world city in the United States. Some of you might be familiar with this nickname: the city that care forgot. Well.... Haliburton has the contract to clean up the city, the developers are salivating at the 'new' New Orleans they will build, and the lower ninth and all the dead people in its attics are to be bulldozed so the land can be turned into a barrier reef to protect the city. Ain't that lovely?

Only one thing - the powers that be are not from
New Orleans and they don't know that this city is born of hardship and survives not despite, but because of it. We have been forced into the outside world these last couple of weeks - and while I want to make it clear that the love and support of the American people has been phenomenal - there is no place like home and we are not going to watch it be taken from us.

So we are going back. We're going to shove the muck on the first floor as far back as we can and set up a soup kitchen and a distribution center. Daniel is going to set up an animal sanctuary in the back yard. We've heard that the National Guard there is friendly, and our friend James will be our liason and run supplies for us. Tomorrow I'll be figuring out the intricacies of having myself an online connection in the middle of a half destroyed war zone, so don't worry - we'll be coming to you live.

We don't aim to get ourselves killed here - we've made this decision based on the experiences of recent expiditions into the city and have determined now that it is possible to do what we set out to do: to go home. But we will have our car ready and waiting... if they force us out at gunpoint, we will leave.

New Orleans can go two ways now - it can stay true to the place that holds our heart or it can become the so called new New Orleans, the brain child of developers with hard ons, government officials happy to be relieved of that pesky impovrished African American 'criminal element' and key positions to keep the oil flowing. Or, as we se it, it can become the free republic of New Orleans, the pheonix arising from the flood waters and the flames with spirit boiling over, righting wrongs and shining its light ever so much brightly than ever before.

So please with us luck and keep us in your prayers. We intend to be just fine - and after our experiences in the outside world, we think we'll feel better and safer back at home in our militarized zone with no running water and no electricity.
New Orleans is our home and we are taking it back.

Please keep sending us donations and supplies - we will be turning the first floor of our house into a soup kitchen and distribution area so we can help our friends and neighbors get back on their feet as they start returning to the city, whenever that day may be. In the meantime, we are staking our claim.

I know this may worry a lot of you, but please just wish us well. We are doing what we have to do, this is what we came back for and now the moment has come.

Soon, there will be pictures. Apologies again for the delays, but like I said, it's been a crazy day.

We are going home, folks, we are going home.

Peace out -


P.S. If you have not received this email directly, please visit our site at Apologies for the slightly out of date info on the home page - that will be resolved soon. However, there you can find links to the up-to-date blog and a link to sign up to this mailing list.


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