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CUPE delegates toured New Orleans’ lower 9th ward yesterday as part of the SPP People’s Summit to see not only the damage, but also the absence of a public sector response.

Three years after hurricane Katrina pushed floodwaters through the poor parts of the city:

  • Recovery efforts are led by volunteers and NGOs like Common Ground Relief, ACORN and Brad Pitt’s “Make it Right” rather than federal, state or local government
  • It took two years to restore water and electricity
  • Street signs were only replaced two months ago
  • Entergy, the privatized electricity company, kept charging New Orleans residents during the two-year blackout and won’t reconnect homes unless they pay their arrears.
  • More than 250,000 former residents of New Orleans are still living in other communities

New Orleans is the SPP made real,” said National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux. “Total reliance on the private sector for even the most basic services, insecurity for regular citizens but extra rights and power for corporations.”

After the Lower 9th ward visit, CUPE delegates took part in the official opening ceremonies for the People’s Summit in the historic Algiers neighbourhood and participated in a workshop on NAFTA and Katrina profiteering.