Deep South Storms: Katrina Pain Index, Gustav in Cuba, Banksy in Alabama.

Remember all those photos of Banksy works in New Orleans that circulated around the 'net last week? Looks like he's in Alabama and other parts south this week. Above, an image snapped in Birmingham (Wooster Collective via Siege).

(1) Shaker Redstar at the shakesville blog has "been working in disaster recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans and the Gulf Coast since 2005." As the region geared up for Gustav during Labor Day weekend, Shaker compiled a "by the numbers" list that illustrates the lasting impact of the previous and far more devastating big storm:

.008. Percentage of the rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied – a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected.

1. Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in percentage of housing vacant or ruined.

1. Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in murders per capita for 2006 and 2007.

4. Number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina.

10. Number of apartments being rehabbed so far to replace the 896 apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the Lafitte Housing Development.

11. Percent of families who have returned to live in Lower Ninth Ward.

17. Percentage that wages are up in the hotel and food industry since before Katrina.

20-25. Years that experts estimate it will take to rebuild the City of New Orleans at current pace.
Katrina Pain Index. (via Siege)

(2) Reuters: "Cuba said on Monday more than 90,000 houses were damaged or destroyed when Hurricane Gustav tore through the western province of Pinar del Rio on Saturday with 150-mile-per-hour (240-kph) winds." (via Ned Sublette)

(3) Residents of New Orleans who evacuated for Gustav won't be able to go home until tomorrow at the earliest (, via Ned Sublette).


  1. The very slow pace of rebuilding in New Orleans is good news – New Orleans is beneath sea level, at kept (semi) functioning even in the best of times only at great expense, born mostly by people who do not live there.

    The majority of people who live in NO would, I suspect, not continue to live there if they were unable to outsource the cost of maintaining their lifestyles.

    As with federal insurance subsidies for rich folks who build houses on storm prone beaches and sandbanks, the outcome of current policies is to destroy wealth / value / utility.

    The sooner NO is abandoned and left to the catfish, the better.

  2. Has anyone else noticed that the Harpers- Index- style lists are like an extreme form of the game Jeopardy?

    “The answer is four.”

    Ding. “What is the number of wheels on my car?”

    Bzzzt! “No, sorry… Jerry?”

    Ding. “What is the number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina?”

    “That’s correct!”

    & I think, doh, I should have realized that’s what four is.

    With TV game shows, I’m always asking myself what habit we’re supposed to be breathlessly competing to be behavior-modded into. With Jeopardy, something about seeing things the way The Man is going see things, even before the fog parts in his own head. But what about this extreme Harpers Index game, where getting the right answer is absolutely impossible?

    Of course we ought to be shocked. Chagrinned, usually: we should be more caring, better informed, more involved in the world. But also there’s a black humor thing about how the world’s going to hell in a handbasket and the people in charge are making a botch of it. Obviously if the caring people had been in charge it never would have gotten to this state.

  3. Oh Anonymous – I would that you embrace the true spirit that you comment in. Realise your nature. Rise up to the challenge that is Anonymous – for surely all who speak with the condition of Anonymity realise, inherently, that they do so precisely because there are systems in place that endanger their liberties and freedoms if those notions were Attributed.

    To speak Anonymously is to inherently cry out: Here is a need for pruning. Here is an inherent injustice. Here, now, something needs to be stripped down so that I and others might be free to create.

    Or else it’s just cowardice or laziness, and an Anonymous commenter who defies the very spirit of necessity of the Anonym yet again defaces the spirit of public discourse by declaiming an actually -useful- application of the mode.

    One hopes that the collective appreciation of the un-attributed rhetoric shall increase anon.

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