8 - 29: Dave Zirin on New Orleans

And Still They Rise: Confronting Katrina

"I'm scared to return. Too much death. Too many spirits." This is what a friend said to me the week before I left for New Orleans. I had never been to the Crescent City. He had traveled there many times - a"home away from home" - before August 2005 changed the course of the city forever. Now he fears it.

I felt the fear before my plane even landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport. As we began our descent, dark jagged shadows jutted across the verdant swampland. It was all too cinematic. I foundout later that what I thought were dramatic shadows was wetland defoliation; the banal reality proving to be far more frightening than the supernatural.

My second NOLA moment was leaving the airport, catching a glimpse of a man riding down the center strip of the highway in 100-degree heat, on a bicycle, with headphones, no helmet and his hands off the handlebars. At the time, I thought it was just local flavor, likeseeing a cardinal in St. Louis. But later, after learning about thespike in the suicide rate over the last two years, I began to wonder if it was something else.

I was in the Big Easy as an invited speaker at a conference of NOLA bloggers called Rising Tide II. In most cities, bloggers practice a peculiar virtual cannibalism, tearing each other apart for sport. But at Rising Tide, among people young and old, black and white, I saw my first glimpse of what can be termed blogger solidarity. It stemmed, as one told me, from "the necessity of coming together after Katrina." They referred to each other in conversation by their blog names, more colorful than the mobsters in the film Goodfellas. There was DangerBlonde, MD Filter, my unflappable guide, Liprap, and Mom'n'em.(Mom'n'em is a man. The handle comes from a matriarchal New Orleans phrase. Instead of asking, "How's the family?" You say, "How's Mom'n'em?")

The bloggers represent the best of something beginning to bubble that you won't see on the nightly news, as the two-year anniversary of Katrina arrives today. Amid the horror, amid the neighborhoods that the federal government seems content to see die, there are actual people sticking it out. And they do it with gusto. As Valentine Pierce, a poet and journalist at the conference, said, "Bush's promises don't hold water. The only thing that holds water is the city."

They were also the perfect people for me to speak with to learn the ground-truth about post-Katrina New Orleans. They're not paid to write about the myriad of issues they confront - from mental health to public housing to the loan swindles to the state of art. They do it because they want everyone - those staying away, the transplants from the North, the ones who get their information from the mainstream media - who sees New Orleans as merely a symbol to know the facts: the good, the bad and the ugly.

And the ugly side is that the majority black city is still being left to wither slowly on the vine. There is a reason President Bush did not say the word New Orleans in the last State of the Union. This is Moynihan's "benign neglect" writ large. But it has had a bizarre boomerang effect. Because the future of city is at stake, the neglect that guides federal policy is something that both whites and blacks have to confront. Also, since New Orleans was far less segregated to my eyes than Washington, D.C., where I live, it puts the suffering of the black majority into people's faces where it can't be ignored. If Katrina wrecked and removed 40 percent of the city, it has, among a minority, also brought people together.

It is remarkable that a city can be both torn asunder and also find a measure of salvation in the same name: Katrina. To the people I spoke with, Katrina is a noun, an adjective and even a verb. But one thing it isn't is simply a hurricane. When locals talk about Katrina, they are very conscious of the fact that the hurricane itself barely dented this proud city. Katrina means the breaking of the levees. Katrina means loss of their homes. It's the politicians so fatally slow with aid. It's the spike in violent crime. It's the ever-rising suicide rate. It's the aged who have died of desperation.

Katrina is something ephemeral, a sadness seeped into the humidity. It gets in your clothes, your eyes, your hair. It's everywhere, even ifyou aren't staring at a house with a black X, with a number underneath, denoting a death at the hands of levees. It made me feel as if the city's almost satirically gothic above-ground cemeteries were monuments to August 2005, even though the graves have stood for generations. The only thing I can compare the experience to would be visiting Kent State University, another site with spirits that can't find peace.

But as spiritual as post-Katrina New Orleans feels, the ravages of the city are something that residents know were man-made. The people ofNew Orleans are the last ones to need a lecture about how horribly unnatural this disaster was. It wasn't an act of God. It was the product of a whole set of priorities that put their city last. Bumper stickers are everywhere that read, "Make Levees Not War." People have signs in their front yards telling the Army Corps of Engineers to taketheir eminent domain and back off their houses.

Make no mistake, there is anger and a sense of desperation among the city's poor. Sometimes it's inward, as the mental health and suicide studies show. Often it is outward, as the violent crime demonstrates.That feeling of being abandoned by this country and this criminal administration, of being left to die on a roof, remains. And yet, they still, so very inconveniently, continue to live, love and, most importantly, struggle and agitate. Everyone in this country should travel to New Orleans and be among a people supposed to perish, who act like they just didn't get the memo.

as seen in the Houston Chronicle


Living on the Edge

The ground breaking for the new Minnesota Twins baseball stadium was scheduled only forty-eight hours after the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. Naturally, it was cancelled. It would be unseemly to highlight the fact that the government of Minnesota had found a half-billion dollars to build a new ball park, but no money to repair the I-35W bridge.

Featured Speaker David Zirin took the Rising Tide 2 crowd on a whirlwind tour of the disfunction of a system that has spent 16 billion dollars in recent years on stadiums for a handful of the wealthiest men in America while the rest of our infrastructure--including our levees--collapse about us.

Zirin is a sports columnist, but one that comes at what sports has become--what he calls the Athletic Industrial Complex--as both a filter though which we view society and a reflection of what our priorities have become. He was invited partly because his latest book, Welcome to the Terrordome, opens with an examination of the Superdome as shelter from hell for people who could not afford a Saint's game ticket, and ends questioning the priorities of a nation that first rebuilds it stadiums while a city lays in ruin all around it.

I would disagree with him to some extent, and regret that while speaking to him during lunch I didn't raise the issue. The Saints were a god send to this city last Fall, the only group of people in a position of prominence who demonstrated the competence and spirit lacking from all of the rest of our leadership.

His speech was a rollicking romp through much of what's wrong with society as reflected in the glass eye of ESPN and our other focii of sports. Read his book, and catch him speaking somewhere if you can. Sports is one of the things that makes us Americans, that links us together in a time where we increasingly have no common experience. If we do not listen to voice likes his, there is scant hope for the future of this nation.

Check out his on-line column at www.edgeofsports.com


photo of RT II conference room courtesy of Maitri's blog
(go give her a cyber pat on her virtual back, y'all. She worked her tail off for RT)
spray painting on blue window shading tarp inspired by AshMo
(He worked something else off (heh), but it was ultimately good for RT)

My head is spinning, y'all. Must...digest...blogger....conference.......
This fellow's doing a waaay better job of it than I am at the moment...

Take in some Sophmom impressions of the whole conference experience, while you're at it.

And I must give a big, huge thanks to keynoter Dave Zirin, who gave one heck of a talk and seemed to get a big kick out of the NOLA blogger krewe. Safe trip back, Dave. All the best to your mom'n'em...uhhh, your family and friends, not this mominem...

Finding an enduring voice

"The richness and the essence of who we are transcend the storm."
-- Poet Dave Brinks

As a room full of writers listening to a panel of writers discuss how Katrina and the Federal Flood affected their work, at the cusp of the two-year anniversary of the event, the quote above is one we all should stop and think about: what will we write in the coming year? What will the conference be about three years after the event?

How do we tell the story of this place and its people as The Event recedes into memory, in a way that is not about IT but which helps us to recover and even prosper, using 8-29 not as a cliched crutch to help a limping story along, but as leverage to lift us to something greater?


Engineer and blogger Tim Ruppert of Tim' Nameless Blog introduced us to the term polder, the Dutch term for impoundments of flood-vulnerable land that makes up the majority of the land area of the Netherlands.

Tim (who attended as a NOLA resident and blogger) works with the Corps of Engineers and remarked that at the Corps they had several Dutch engineers and that everyone at the CoE had stopped speaking of basins (the common term for an area in terms of drainage and flood protection) and had begun to speak of polders.

Sadly,terminology and advice is all we have from the Dutch. In the Netherlands, the polders are by law provided protection from flood events ranging from 1-in-1250 years (farmland for example) to 1-in-10,000 (developed areas including Amsterdam and Rotterdam).

We remain protected to a ridiculous 1-in-100 year standard not because of any inherent engineering or geographical challenge, but by a failure of political will on the part of our central government.

Its good to know that the Corps are not faceless people in wire-rimmed glasses with slide rules for souls. They are our neighbors and fellow bloggers. While the next presentation by Matt McBride of FixThePumps.blogspot.com will highlight the failures of parts of the Corps as a politicized government institution, Tim reminds us that the real shortcomings in our flood protection are not the inexorable outcome of science and geography: it is the decision of the nations leaders who choose not to protect us.
-- via Blackberry


Friday Night Flicks, August 24, 2007

New Orleans on Video artists:
  • Brent Joseph
  • Ride Hamilton
  • Ben Mor
  • Bart Everson
  • Charlie London
  • Emmitt Thrower
  • Diane Cameron

Sunday School, August 26, 2007

We will be working with the Recovery School District on Sunday, August 26, 2007, painting A.P. Tureaud school. They have all the paint and brushes. We just need to show up.

A.P. Tureaud is an older school in the 7th Ward. It's in pretty good shape, but not finished. We could do a lot of good there, and the neighborhood would benefit.

Mark Deane will organize us during the conference on Saturday. We'll set up a place and time to meet Sunday morning. We'll bring water and snacks.

How Ya Like Dem Erstahs?

Here are some of the folks appearing at Rising Tide 2, on our politics panel. Get your questions ready, get there early, and get your coffee with chicory.

Mark Moseley grew up in Florida, went to college in Texas, and has proudly called New Orleans home for over a decade. He met his wife in the city, and they now reside in Uptown with their two daughters. Mark is a founding member of Trinity Capital, a local firm that invests directly in the metro area. Mark's hobbies include poker and political campaigns. He's an advocate for New Orleans and Louisiana at Your Right Hand Thief.

Peter Athas is the author of the Adrastos blog where he writes about New Orleans, politics and music, and makes fun of all and sundry. He is a recovering lawyer who now owns and operates a small business in the French Quarter. He lives Uptown with his beautiful and accomplished wife Grace and their beautiful and neurotic cat, Oscar.

Michael Duplantier is a New Orleans native and a practicing attorney. He has long been involved in politics, starting with the mayoral and senatorial campaigns of his cousin, Adrian Duplantier, in the 1960s and early 1970s. For more than 35 years, his experience on zoning issues and his work with many neighborhood and civic organizations has given him direct exposure to and involvement with the politics and politicians of this city. He ran unsuccessfully for District B city councilman in 2005. Michael is a regular commentator on political and public policy issues.

Kim Marshall is moderating the panel. She's a grandma and a left-wing NOLA blogger who is completely immune to the "charm" of the rogues who populate the Louisiana political class. She is alternately ridiculed and praised for going to law school in her 40s, and she makes beaded bustiers and costumes at Mardi Gras time.

Some Acknowledgements

Rising Tide 2 would like to thank the people who have generously donated to this non-profit endeavor:
  • Marilynn Kupersmith
  • Randall Shields
  • Heidi Guttman
  • Bill Michalski
Additionally, the conference thanks these great New Orleans businesses for their support:
  • Buffa's Lounge
  • Dunbar's Restaurant
  • New Orleans Yacht Club
  • Kelly Scardina at Sublimedia

Rising Tide Conference Writer's Panel

Joshua Clark (Heart Like Water and French Quarter Fiction), Dave Brinks (17 Poets and The Caveat Onus Books 1, 2 and 3), Valentine Pierce (Geometry of the Heart) and Sam Jasper (contributor to Louisiana in Words) will all be on the Writer's Panel which will be facilitated by the one and only Greg Peters, Grand Poobah of Graphics and the creator of Suspect Device. The topic will be generally "How Katrina has Changed the Way We Write."

All have been encouraged to arrive by lunchtime, but some, like Josh Clark have obligations in the morning prior to the panel. All will have their books for sale, and will hang around to sign them for you.

There will be no credit card availability, so please make sure you bring your cash!

Books, t-shirts, koozies and posters will be available for sale.


Bowling on the Bayou

Cross-posted from Wet Bank Guide:

Today I was a guest on the radio show Community Gumbo, hosted on Tulane' radio station WTUL-FM by Brian Denzer, aka Schroeder of the blog People Get Ready. My purpose was to tout the Rising Tide 2 blogger-organized conference on the recovery of New Orleans. I think I did a tolerable job, with Brian making sure the correct plugs for the event were made up front and repeated

His show is one of the gems of the New Orleans media scene, a heart-felt and intelligent examination of the issues that shames the rest of the local broadcast scene and much that is produced nationally. Often political and opinionated without being didactic,his guests tell the story themselves in a personal way exemplified by his recent rebroadcast of A Gentilly Fourth of July, or the broadcast that stick smost firmly in my mind: a visit to post-Flood Lakeview on the event of a Sunday game by the playoff-bound Saints.

We spoke for a while of the place of blogging, and specifically of blogging as done by the people most involved in the Rising Tide 2 conference as it differs from much of what the public perceives as blogging: the often ridiculous comments beneath online newspaper stories and the facile wasteland of Facebook. Yes that is blogging in its most catholic sense, but it is not the work of the organizers listed in the sidebar of the Rising Tide 2 blog. Some of the core of the NOLA bloggers community offer a deeply personal journal of life in this city. Novelist Poppy Z. Brite's Dispatches from Tanginyika and local artist, almost attorney and grandmother Kim's Danger come to mind.

At the same time citizen journalists such as American Zombie, Matt McBride's late and lamented Fix The Pumps, and Bayou St. John David's Moldy City offer critical stories of the recovery missed or hidden by the major media. The commentary and analysis of the situation published by Oyster's Your Right Hand Thief, Ashley Morris: the blog and Maitri's Vatul Blog routinely match and exceed that offered in the editorial sections of our newspaper. I know I've left out someone, so apologies in advance.

Blogging of the sort we perform (and radio as Brian presents it) is better suited to the story of New Orleans after the Federal Flood than any outlet in the major national or established local media. The scope and timeline of our story is novelistic, not episodic in the fashion most suited to the corporate subsidiry media of the twenty first century. The big media could no more cover the story we collectively write than they could serve up the serialized works of Dickens without being fileted and serve to their stockholders.

I said we write collectively. That has evolved from the earliest days of what I consider the NOLA blogger's community, the group of on-line writers who emerged right after Katrina and the Federal Flood to write about those events. Most of us started blogging or redirected our prior efforts into communication about The Event. As we searched for information on-line to republish to our own small communities of readers, we found each other. We began to link to each other and leave comments. Sometime in late 2005 I started a Yahoo mailing list, and began to invite the bloggers I had invited. At that point, we began to become a community.

From a first meet-up Ash Wednesday, 2006 at Fahey's through a series of potluck "Geek Dinners" we continued to connect as a community, a path that lead to someone (I can't remember who, so I won't give credit wrongly) suggesting that we put together a conference on recovery in August, 2006. I did not have high hopes for the idea, as organizing began little more than a month before that event. Somehow, we succeeded beyond our highest expectations. We discovered some of us had readers in the mainstream media, and were able to lure two high-profile Wall Street Journal reports anxious to promote their new book as keynote speakers and panelists.

The first conference succeeded, and the second is on track to do the same, because we had moved beyond the solitary, saloniste approach to blogging into something loosely but clearly organized, like the first ragged assemblage of clouds in the Atlantic that becomes a storm. And we were not alone in organizing ourselves around the salvation of New Orleans.

The neighborhoods that were both most damaged and furthest along the long and winding road of recovery are those that self-organized themselves, places like Broadmoor and Mid-City. Out of the disruption of the city's social networks resulting from the largest displacement of Americans since the Civil War, new social networks emerged around neighborhoods and causes tied to the issues we struggled with.

In his now famous book Bowling Alone, author Robert D. Putnam posits that the social fabric of America is disintegrating. I can't find anything to disagree with in his premise. I am unchurched, and struggled as a minor political party functionary to find candidates and volunteers. I do not belong to a social or service club. Before I returned to New Orleans, were I to go bowling, I likely would have gone "alone" with just my immediate family.

Because the larger social contracts--especially those that underpin our system of government-- were torn apart like the floodwalls by the forces of Katrin and the Federal Flood, New Orleans has been forced to examine this issue by necessity, to build new networks that enable us all to survive in a leaderless city and nation, or organize ourselves in the credit-card recovery, financed largely without government assistance or leadership and without the resources the more formal contracts with insurance companies promised.

There was a quote I clipped and lost in a story quoting one of the actors in K-Ville, the new Fox Entertainment crime series set in After the End of the World New Orleans. He compared New Orleans' position to that portrayed in the fictional post-apocopytic television world of Jerico. Left on our own, we did what the human species has done through all history and memory: we organized ourselves and got on with the business of survival.

New Orleans did not lose all of its integral social networks. We all feared a year or more ago that the social clubs and Indians would be disbursed to the four winds, that the famlies that built the St. Joseph altars and people the truck parades on Mardi Gras Day might never return. We were concerned that the unique aspects of our culture they represent would be lost forever. Every passing day that seems less true. Indians and second liner's march. Churches our inept hierarchies had written off and tried to close meet. While the New Orleans Recreation Department sits in disarrary, the Carrollton Boosters are organizing sports for kids. St. Joseph Altars are built, and the truck parades rolled until my children could take no more. We are building the New Jeruselum right under Ceaser's nose and the mayor is forced, for lack of any accomplishment of his own, to adopt the neighborhood plans and claim them as his. Let him. We know who will really have built the community center in Mid-City.

Americans may not be joining the Elks or Rotarians as they did a half-century ago, but in organizations like the NOLA bloggers we are building the new Rotarians: self-organized groups that are born and grow both for the fellowship and the necessity of organized public service. Here is New Orleans we are increasingly proving out the second part of the "bowling alone" thesis: that this dissolution of the social contract is not an inrreversible trend. Here in Debriseville, we are joining together to do what ever it takes to make sure that in the future we will all be bowling together to a Cajun dance band at the Rock-and-Bowl.

N.B. -- On 8-20, fixed a mess of typos...


Timothy Ruppert - In Levees We Trust

But should we? The New York Times has an article today about the inadequacies of our levee protection system. Questions remain about where all the money has been going. At Rising Tide 2, on Saturday, August 25, Timothy Ruppert will present a comprehensive report on the level of hurricane protection currently existing in New Orleans.

Tim will lead a discussion of the components of the hurricane protection system, where we are now and what it will mean once we have the "100-year" level of protection. It will include a comparisson of what other industrialized nations do, and how levees compare to rivers or dams when it comes to safety. Tim is the current president of the American Society of Civil Engineers Louisiana Section. He will be speaking as a civil engineer and a local representative of ASCE.

Tim is also a NOLA blogger (Tim's Nameless Blog), and a resident of Gentilly. His family's home was flooded by the London Canal breach, with the dried-out remains later burning up in a fire. He and his sainted wife are rebuilding their home, but this time it's raised on pilings.


Straight From ESPN

Among Henry Abbott's Wednesday Bullets on the ESPN website is this mention of RT II and its keynote speaker:

A conference in New Orleans, with Dave Zirin as keynote speaker. He's a guy who writes stuff like this: "'You can't throw money at the problem.' As a former public school teacher in Washington, I heard this cliche from countless bureaucrats. It was code for 'Stop whining about ancient textbooks and prehistoric classroom materials, because there is no money.' Imagine my shock when the city announced it would be spending more than $500 million on a new baseball stadium. Clearly when it comes to the needs of billionaire sports owners, there always seems to be money available to be thrown. This is hardly a D.C. story. The building of stadiums has become the substitute for anything resembling an urban policy in this country. The stadiums are presented as a microwave-instant solution to the problems of crumbling schools, urban decay and suburban flight. Stadiums are sporting shrines to the dogma of trickle-down economics. In the past 10 years, more than $16 billion of the public's money has been spent for stadium construction and upkeep from coast to coast. Though some cities are beginning to resist paying the full tab, any kind of subsidy is a fool's investment, ending up being little more than monuments to corporate greed: $500 million welfare hotels for America's billionaires built with funds that could have been spent more wisely on just about anything else. The era of big government may be over, but it has been replaced by the Rise of the Domes. Reports from both the right-wing Cato Institute and the more centrist Brookings Institution dismiss stadium funding as an utter financial flop, yet the domes keep coming."


Flashback to a couple of months ago:

... while we're at it, add New Orleans to Zirin's book tour dates...if the bookstores can't bring him on down, maybe, uhh, the Rising Tide conference could? Just a thought...

Well, folks, I managed to get my toe in the door on the highly entertaining Rising Tide II planning meetings, I showed impressionable bloggers such as Oyster, Maitri, Dangerblond, Lisa, AshMo, Morwen, Mominem, Mark Folse, Slate, and da Former Po'Boy Welcome To The Terrordome and made my pitch to bring Dave Zirin to New Orleans, and...well...part of me can't believe we all managed to get this guy down here, but in two weeks' time, Zirin will be the keynote speaker at the edge of the lake. The Edge of Sports man himself...

Major, maaaaaajor thanks to Madame Morwen, the wheeler-dealer who's making sure that Zirin's latest hard copy is out there for everyone's perusal and purchase during the conference. Big kudos go out to the conference planners for hearing me out in the beginning and keeping track of all developments through email.

And, as for the rest of y'all, I'd advise you to be there...

... or be a certain four-sided polygon.

Panel: Making Civic Sexy

The focus of this panel is on how any inhabitant of an area, especially one such as post-Katrina/Flood New Orleans, can become a Citizen with enough love, perseverance, legwork and access to the right information, and the influence of online research, social networks and dialogue on such an endeavour. Again, the emphasis is on the effort of the average citizen — with his or her share of day job, family, personal responsibilities and other community obligations — who also takes on a larger civic responsibility. To that end, the panel presents a spectrum of people and their work — Karen Gadbois and Bart Everson who are "established" activists, Sarah Elise Lewis who works with community networks but whose current social project is still relatively new (to the audience, at least) and Dr. Eban Walters, who is the local emerging “focal point” in the Mental Health area. See bios below.

The panel will be a combination of talk and presentation. After intros, each panelist will spend 5-10 minutes presenting their work, and request volunteers/interested parties to step forward, if necessary. The remaining time will be devoted to all four talking with us about how to get the layperson to participate like they do, what are good motivators and the next steps for New Orleans civic activism.

By showcasing these people and their work, it is our hope to honor them, support and hearten existing community activists, moralize and instigate new ones and continue to push the civic work of New Orleans onwards and upwards.

Panelist Bios

Bart Everson works at Xavier's Center for the Advancement of Teaching as a Multimedia Artist. He also works on a volunteer basis with the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, the Urban Conservancy, Friends of Lafitte Corridor, Think New Orleans, the Green Party of Louisiana and Silence Is Violence. In his spare time he enjoys collapsing in a heap. Bart moved to New Orleans in 1999 with his wife Christy Paxson who is teaching in the public schools.

Karen Gadbois manages Common Knowledge's Squandered Heritage project, through which she documents the City's changing architectural landscape. Before moving to New Orleans in 2003, she helped to create the "Retablo Project" working with indigenous women in rural Mexico to create embroidered narratives, as well as working in the Mexican Penal System with Artist/prisoners.

Sarah Elise Lewis manages the Common Knowledge Social Network Map and the new Citizen's Guide to City Hall. She is pursuing a PhD in Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans, where she has taught classes on urban studies and the New Orleans metropolitan region and serves as a part time consultant to the Louisiana Regional Folklife Program. Sarah's research focuses on the nexus of heritage preservation, community power, and disaster recovery.

Eban J. Walters, Ph.D., was born and raised on the Westbank of New Orleans, received his doctorate in child clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University, with sub-specialty training from the National Institutes of Health developmental psychopathology program and from the Putting Children First fellowship (Columbia University) in child and family public policy. Seeing an opportunity to contribute to a city he could never really escape anyway, he again confused and unnerved advisors and colleagues with his latest unorthodox career choice to leave Chicago for New Orleans in August 2006, mere moments before the peak of hurricane season. He has most recently worked as Postdoctoral Fellow in infant mental health services by day. After serving as an audience member at the first Rising Tide conference, he is most honored to be on the "Making Civic Sexy" panel (because it is indeed sexy) at Rising Tide II.

Panel moderator, Maitri Venkat-Ramani, works as a geophysicist at Shell Oil Company. Hailing from Kuwait, India and the American Upper Midwest, Maitri has lived in New Orleans since 2003. Maitri is also a representative of Project Gutenberg and Think New Orleans, bean counter with the Krewe du Vieux, president of the local chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and a Green Bay Packer fan. In her ample spare time, Maitri pretends to make jewelry, cook Indian food and sleep.


Rising Tide Schedule

Friday, August 24, 2007 - Buffa's Lounge, 1001 Esplanade Avenue, corner of Burgundy.

7:30 - 10:00 p.m. - New Orleans on Video

Rising Tide 2007 presents video by artists inspired by the federal flood that followed Hurricane Katrina and its devastation of New Orleans. Cash Bar.


Saturday, August 25, 2007 - New Orleans Yacht Club, Municipal Yacht Harbor, in Lakeview. Map here.

8:30 - 9:15 - Registration and coffee

9:15 - Opening Remarks, Mark Moseley

9:30 - 10:30 - Louisiana Politics
Kim Marshall moderates a panel discussion featuring Michael Duplantier, Peter Athas, and Mark Moseley

10:30 - 10:45 - Sustainability presentation by Morwen Madrigal

10:45 - 11:00 - Break

11:00 - 12:30 - What is the State of New Orleans' Levee Protection?
Presentations by Timothy Ruppert, NOLA blogger and current president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Louisiana Section, Matt McBride, author of the blog "Fix the Pumps."

12:30 - 1:30 - Lunch from Dunbar's

1:30 - 2:30 - Keynote address by Dave Zirin. Zirin is the author of Welcome to the Terrordome, published by Haymarket Press, a columnist for SLAM Magazine, a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times. His weekly online column is www.edgeofsports.com.

2:30 - 2:45 - Break

2:45 - 3:45 - How We Write Now
Greg Peters moderates a panel of New Orleans writers discussing the impact of the flood and its aftermath on their work. Featuring Joshua Clark, Dave Brinks, Valentine Pierce, and Sam Jasper.

3:45 - 4:45 - Making Civic Sexy
Maitri Venkat-Ramani moderates a panel discussion by New Orleans community activists Karen Gadbois, Bart Everson, Dr. Eban Walters, and Sarah Elise Lewis

4:45 - Concluding remarks - Mark Moseley


Sunday, August 26, 2007 - Service Project for New Orleans Public Schools

Rising Tide will offer an opportunity for its participants to help the New Orleans Public Schools, many of which will be opening for the first time this year. Details coming soon.