Ten years ago this Saturday marks the day that a massive, Category 3 hurricane called Katrina made landfall in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Unleashing a devastating flood of water, violence, and displacement, the storm and its aftermath created the deadliest convergence of extreme weather with extreme racism in modern U.S. history.
When the levees broke, our hearts broke. We watched as thousands of people in New Orleans – mostly black, poor, and deeply rooted in their city – were stranded on rooftops above flooded neighborhoods. The government abandoned the Lower Ninth Ward and entire communities. The corporate media labelled people trying to find food as ‘looters.’ The climate disaster quickly became a social crisis, and it was Kanye West who summed up what everybody could see: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
In the 10 years since the storm, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have struggled with ongoing aftershocks and attacks: displacement, privatization of schools and services, and another brutal ecological disaster in the 2010 BP oil spill. But throughout the region, grassroots organizations have been building resistance and resilience for their communities. And this week during the anniversary, the #Katrina10 movement is mobilizing for justice on a major scale.