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Interactive video lesson plan for: Hurricane Katrina: Good for Business, Bad for People, with Wendell Pierce

Activity overview:

The media treated the ten-year anniversary of Katrina with reverence. They should have been hard at work exposing the ugliness which still remains. Pierce's new book is "The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken" (http://goo.gl/xihgU2).

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Transcript - September 8 front cover of The Wall Street Journal a couple of days after the flood in New Orleans from Katrina there – James Reeson, Andrew O’Dwyer said this is the best thing that ever happened to New Orleans. We’re going to be able to change it demographically, geographically and politically. And if it doesn’t change we’re out of here. Two huge businessmen who felt as though they were going to wield their power that way. That’s the coverage that we don’t hear about how people actively use the disaster and the misfortune of others to benefit. That’s been an ongoing story when it comes to New Orleans that we have a great underclass that people benefit from. And to keep that underclass is important because that’s how people make money at the expense of others. And so the other story, the greatest crime, was the insurance companies not honoring any of the insurance policies. My parents paid Allstate for 50 years and they received $400. They said no, we’re not going to – it was a disaster, flood, and so flood insurance is the only thing that’s going to be honored. And that was a policy that’s – a government policy that’s capped at $150,000. So most people were not able to come back. A lot of people couldn’t come back because the insurance policies that they had most of their lives weren’t honored and they weren’t able to be made whole.

And then active displacement of people. I call it displacement by delay. They tore down all public housing in New Orleans so they could rebuild them, you know, because that’s the best interest of the people. But they didn’t replace them one for one. Only one-third was public housing. And I was just in New Orleans two weeks ago, three weeks ago and they were just framing up large portions of those public housing developments ten years after the fact. Now they know most of the people that were there ten years ago are probably rooted someplace else. And that’s how you displace by delay. You take ten years to rebuild a structure. The people that were in that structure will probably live someplace else. So that’s the sort of journalism and media attention that I wish was still happening in New Orleans because so much time and energy and money was spent around a ten year commemoration to say everything is wonderful and great and there’s entrepreneurial spirit and we have new people coming into the city and all. And that’s all true but we don’t want to look at it through rose colored glasses. It’s a tale of two cities and we don’t want to tell just the story about one.

Tagged under: Wendell Pierce,Katrina,New Orleans,demographics,geography,politics,businessmen,business,power,media,coverage,disaster,misfortune,underclass,benefit,insurance,companies,Allstate,flood insurance,flood,government,policy,displacement,housing,public housing,developments,rebuilding,journalism,entrepreneurial,spirit,Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Education,Educational,Lifelong Learning,EDU

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