Friday, September 10, 2010

Plaquemine Parish In Recovery From Katrina

I finally made it to the Oil Disaster Zone, specifically to Plaquemine Parish and the Zion Travelers Cooperative Center.  ZTCC has been doing great work organizing for an effective response to the effects of the BP oil disaster on communities in the path of the oil.

But Plaquemine received the first direct hit from Hurricane Katrina.  When a group of us went to Louisiana in December 2005 to meet activists working on Katrina recovery we went to meet Rev. Tyrone Edwards in Phoenix Louisiana.  As Rev. Edwards noted today, "The place was tore up."  Someone's house was teetering on the edge of the levee.  Houses reduced to piles and the community cemetery had been decimated.  Body bags were strewn about the grounds among broken crypts and toppled headstones.

Today, 90% of Plaquemine residents have returned.  ZTCC has been a leader in helping the African-American community recover.  There are repaired homes, new manufactured housing, a new community center about to open.  And while I think the air might still be a little toxic from the BP disaster (more on this later), it made my heart sing to see such a vigorous recovery. 

Oh, and the last four bodies that had been ripped from their rest were re-interred on the 5th  anniversary.

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