- The feds back door plan to keep poorer Black folk out
of New Orleans and away from their homes has backfired in the case one
elderly female evacuee who found a way to get back home by herself, defying
draconian FEMA orders.
- The old saying the "squeaky wheel gets the grease"
worked for Clothilde Mack, 85, who thumbed her nose at authority at every
level all the way up to the White House, refusing to stay in an expensive
Tennessee facility, instead returning to her damaged Orleans
Parish home Jan. 2 despite FEMA and Homeland Security resistance.
- "She was becoming despondent, depressed and I was
worried Ms Mack was going to wither away and die, as she pined away in
her room at the Mountain Pointe living facility," said friend and
good Samaritan, Wendy Owens, one of the many citizens across the country
who helped Ms Mack return to New Orleans.
- "Now she's home, much happier and I am so glad her
Christmas wish came true."
- After good Samaritans all over America got wind of Ms
Mack's tragedy sending her home with over $1,500 in gas money donations
and the use of radio talk show host, Greg Szymanski's Winnebago motor home,
the feds this weekend finally got off "their fat behinds,"
getting the elderly Ms Mack needed assistance.
- "I think the squeaky wheel theory worked here and
they realized they were starting to look bad, as the story went public.
How does it look leaving an 85-year-old woman in the lurch once she returned
home," said Joe Tittiger of Ft. Myers, Florida, who donated his time
and efforts, flying at his own expense from Florida to Idaho to pick up
Szymanski's motor home and get Ms Mack back to New Orleans for the holidays.
- Although Ms Mack only two weeks ago was penniless and
sitting in a one room Tennessee living facility while FEMA dropped her
case and didn't pay her temporary care bill, through her persistence, refusal
to sign FEMA papers to stay away from New Orleans for a year and the efforts
of the good Samaritans, the federal government has now issued Ms Mack two
checks, one for $5,000 and one for $21,000 to repair her damaged home.
- The feds are also in the process of providing Ms Mack
with a high powered generator at her Orleans Parrish home while repairs
are taking place and are hauling over a fully functional temporary living
trailer to be placed at a location within her neighborhood, four blocks
away and within walking distance.
- "The checks have been sent to Greene County and
the mayor there has told us he is taking care of getting the money into
Ms Mack's hands," said Tittiger, who has remained with Ms Mack every
step of the way since picking here up in Tennessee Dec. 30 despite Homeland
Security resistance up until the final minutes before leaving Greene County
at Ms Mack's insistence.
- "The generator is going to be brought over in the
next couple of days, as well as the FEMA trailer that they are setting
up for Ms Mack several blocks away. Once this is done and I am sure she
will be taken care of, I am planning to take a Greyhound bus back to Florida
and then return back to New Orleans to find work and help out the best
- Tittiger said he is going to make sure the FEMA money
doesn't come attached with any strings, wanting to make sure the money
is designated to repair Ms Mack's property and not a crooked deal to take
- "We are going to reads the fine print of the FEMA
paperwork which is being sent from Tennessee. When it arrives, I am going
to make sure there are no strings attached and Ms Mack's property is protected,"
- In a related New Orleans story, a judge Friday blocked
city efforts to begin demolished 14,000 homes in the 9th
- Ward, as activists and mostly low income homeowners
were prevailed in getting a temporary restraining order to stop the bulldozing
at least until Jan. 16 when attorneys for both side will present arguments.
- Although much of the poorer neighborhoods in the 9th
- Ward and on the city's east side remain a virtual ghost
town, those few people on the scene are reporting many of the homes do
not need to be demolished but have been abandoned due to FEMA programs
that first displaced, relocated and separated families all across the country,
making it difficult, if not impossible, to protect their property interests.
- In the meantime, city, state and federal officials are
advancing a multi-billion dollar rich man's redevelopment project, the
first step being to level 14,000 homes in the 9 th
- Ward and then moving to an east side location where
another 88,000 homes are slated for demolition.
- A court order, however, has stopped the bulldozing plans
at least for another 9 days until the next court hearing. And last
week a judge threatened to throw a New Orleans city attorney in jail if
they again attempted to violate the restraining order.
- City wrecking balls on Thursday tried to begin demolishing
homes in the 9th
- Ward but were stopped by activists and homeowners who
refused to leave their property.
- City officials tried to bypass the restraining ordered
issued a day earlier, saying it only prohibited use of a bulldozer not
a crane and wrecking ball, but were unsuccessful in advancing their arguments
in the Friday court hearing.
- For more informative articles, go to www.arcticbeacon.com.