*Unity: A Guest Post by Poppy Z. Brite

Sep 10, 2009 by

docbriteI don’t know of anything that captures how long some New Orleanians have waited to be back in their homes, and how grateful they are for that return, than this: “‘And listen!’ said [Earnest] Hammond as he reached into his bathroom and flushed the toilet, successfully.” (I wish you could see the picture of Mr. Hammond embracing the director of Unity. He is black, bald, bushy-bearded like a Biblical prophet, 71 years old but as thin and straight as a sapling.)

The sound of a working toilet flushing in your house can be a miracle after four years. This man was not helped by your tax dollars they tell you they’re sending down here, or by any arm of the U.S. government. In fact, FEMA was threatening to prosecute him for continuing to live in the trailer near his moldy, flood-ravaged house in the Seventh Ward (note: we’re glad that the Lower Ninth Ward is imprinted on the public consciousness now, very glad, but it’s far from the only New Orleans neighborhood where homes were destroyed on a mind-numbing scale). He initially began rehabbing his own house by collecting cans, then got help from UNITY of greater New Orleans, a Catholic group that helps the homeless, and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana’s Rebuild Program. I can’t blame people who have no use for organized religion, but as I’ve said before, the church volunteers were down here feeding people while the Red Cross and FEMA were still trying to find its own ass, and volunteer groups continue to do, in my view, far greater work for the individual than the government will ever do. I hope you’ll keep this in mind if ever again you’re considering a donation to help south Louisiana.

This post was reprinted by kind permission of Poppy Z. Brite and originally appeared on her LiveJournal while we love comments here at HumidCity keep in mind that so does she, go pay her a visit!

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