Monday, September 27, 2010

Wishing for Reality, Not for Another Disaster, By Wadner Pierre

MSNBC announced that it will be hosting presentation entitled “Wishing for a Disaster” based on the recovery of New Orleans. It has been five years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. This natural and man-made disaster took away thousands of lives. Some folks see Hurricane Katrina as a blessing for New Orleans because it has brought to light many of the pre-existing social problems. But, the question is, if Katrina was a blessing for New Orleans, who really profited from this blessing?

Hurricane Katrina brought attention to New Orleans as many other natural disasters brought attention to other countries like Haiti. It seems as if our government has created a disastrous system- a system relies on disasters as motivation to take action. When many lives are lost in disaster like Katrina, we cannot wish for another disaster to happen before change is made in our city.

MSNBC’s title may be seen as an inappropriate title, and even as an attack on New Orleans’ existing rebuilding efforts. It is a disrespectful title to the communities struggling to rebuild every day in their city. Katrina took away many lives. By no means should Hurricane Katrina be seen as a blessing for New Orleans.

Reform in New Orleans, whether it be in education, social justice, etc. should not wait for another disaster. Natural disasters must not be the way for officials whether local, state or federal to think about the reform that needs to take place in our City.

Hurricane Katrina left behind tears and heartbreak. It is hard to hear some people talk about Hurricane Katrina as a blessing for people in New Orleans. Instead, Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath taught us where we failed to help our people. We should serve with this lesson to prevent another disaster in our city whether a natural one, or the disaster of political self-interest.

Education, healthcare, and shelter are basic human rights. Reform in New Orleans cannot wait for another disaster. The reform we need in our city needs to take place now with all people, rather than with a select group.

Wishing for another disaster to bring change in New Orleans is a wish to see the disappearance of poor minority neighborhoods, since they are the most vulnerable ones. The wish for another disaster sounds once again as an inappropriate title for those who lost their loved ones, and those who are trying to rebuild their city.

Wadner Pierre is a Haitian photojournalist who currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana. Originally from the city of Gonaives in Haiti, he regularly writes for the Inter Press Service (IPS) and Haiti Liberte. Wadner is a co-founder and frequent contributor to, a media collective of young journalists. In 2007, he was a Project Censored Award recipient for his investigative journalism work on the impact of media and corruption in military policies.

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