We're Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City
Roberta Brandes Gratz
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We’re Still Here Ya Bastards presents an extraordinary panoramic look at New Orleans’s revival in the years following the hurricane. Award-winning journalist Roberta Brandes Gratz shares the stories of people who returned to their homes and have taken the rebuilding of their city into their own hands. She shows how the city—from the Lower Ninth Ward to the storied French Quarter to Bayou Bienvenue—is recovering despite flawed governmental policies that promote disaster capitalism rather than the public good. While tracing positive trends, Gratz also investigates the most fiercely debated issues and challenges facing the city: a violent and corrupt prison system, the tragic closing of Charity Hospital, the future of public education, and the rise of gentrification.
By telling stories that are often ignored by the mainstream media, We’re Still Here Ya Bastards shows the strength and resilience of a community that continues to work to rebuild New Orleans, and reveals what Katrina couldn’t destroy: the vibrant culture, epic history, and unwavering pride of one of the greatest cities in America.
Staffing,” New Orleans City Business, August 2013. 24. Adam Nossiter, “New Orleans Hospitals Plan Angers Preservationists,” New York Times, November 26, 2011. 25. “Louisiana Post-Katrina Recovery Health Care,” FEMA, July 24, 2014, https://www.fema.gov/louisiana-post-katrina-recovery-health-care. 26. “Advocating for Healthy People and Communities,” Daughters of Charity Foundation of New Orleans, 2013, http://dcsno.org/foundation/inside.php?page=history. 27. Jed Horne, “Building Boom Changes
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success didn’t stop there. She had become friends with a young news blogger, Ariella Cohen, who had moved to New Orleans from Brooklyn. Ariella had joined the staff of New Orleans’s CityBusiness and observed what Karen was doing. Together they conceived of The Lens, an online investigative journalism news site first focusing on land use and then expanding into broader city matters. The Lens was officially founded in November 2009.7 The Lens evolved into a major news source in the city, and
potential expanded future entrepreneurial endeavor. An endless number of individual property owners continue to take up the restoration challenge and prove over and over again what really has lasting cultural and economic value. The culture of New Orleans is, as Tom Piazza put it, “all tied up with the rhythms of life” in a way that promises a long continuum, despite harmful blows along the way. Sadly, the importance of each part of the cultural web is unrecognized until one of the critical
her. She stood strong and firm, determined to survive the ill winds of government neglect and absence of support. “There was a vacuum,” Pam noted in a conversation with me after Katrina, a few years before she died suddenly of a heart attack in 2010. “The Lower Nine was always ignored, so people always had to do for themselves.” Quiet-spoken with short-cropped hair and a winning smile, she deftly spread environmental awareness without making anyone feel uneducated and inspired everyone involved