Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Report Card

Misfit on the beach in North Carolina

My mom proudly announced in an email that my little brother has gotten his first report card from his new school In North Carolina, and its all A's and B's, plus he's reading at the high-school level. We had been so worried about all the time he had been out of school, and all the turmoil, stress, and survival. But he's landed in a good place, with new people that care about his progress, and it shows.

If he had remained in the Gulf, would he be attending school in one of these trailer classrooms FEMA cronies have set up? How much of a penalty would he face then? If his fate had stayed consistent with our family history, my mom and him would be living in a tent on Eden, perhaps just now getting a FEMA trailer. I wonder what his grades would be like then? I wonder what hope his future would hold then?

No-Bid Contract to Replace Schools After Katrina Is Faulted
To the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the modular classrooms lined up next to the soon-to-be demolished former school show, as the billboard out front boasts, "Katrina Recovery in Progress."

But to critics, the 450 portable classrooms being installed across Mississippi are prime examples in their case against FEMA and its federal partner, the Army Corps of Engineers, for wasteful spending and favoritism in the $62 billion hurricane relief effort.

Provided by a politically connected Alaskan-owned business under a $40 million no-bid contract, the classrooms cost FEMA nearly $90,000 each, including transportation, according to contracting documents. That is double the wholesale price and nearly 60 percent higher than the price offered by two small Mississippi businesses dropped from the deal.


The Creative Death said...

Congrats to your brother on his report card!
Sounds like an amazingly brave and brilliant kid.
I don't know if I would have been able to accomplish such a feat after being through such a life-changing situation.

Anonymous said...

good to see that your brother is in a positive situation, hope your mom is also doing well.

I find it interesting that your blog has reported most of what has really happened to the people , places and things in the Gulf region since day one, and it wasn't until last week that one of the networks aired some of the same news we have been getting from you all along, So their news was really old news more than 3 months after the fact.

Also, here is an interesting link concerning the health issues of portable classrooms.

P. said...

That's a great story of hope and perseverance. I'm glad your brother is doing well and has good support to continue on with life.

It's funny that I came to this blog tonight, I was just talking about what had happened to the people of the Gulf with my Curling teammates after the game tonight (obviously, I'm Canadian ;-)) and we all agreed that there had been a lack of follow up in the mainstream media about how people continued on with their lives after having been displaced by Katrina. This post was perfectly timed for me to read.

Beautiful picture also, the effect of the pontoons magnify his stare like crazy.

Anonymous said...

That's wonderful news about your brother, Clayton. Please tell him a whole mess of us are pulling for him and congratulating him out here in the cyber-ether.

No-bid contracts handed out by a bunch of crooks to their crony, crooked's just sad sad sad.

Carlos said...

Weren't the blue tarps being bought to cover damanged roofs bought on no-bid contracts? Didn't it also cost the government more to go the blue tarp route than it would to actually re-roof the houses? I think I read or saw that somewhere.

Anonymous said...

It is great to know that you brother came from something so life changing and ended up on the top of it all!! I am glad he is doing well!! You are an amazing person and have come so far!!!
Stay strong!!!

Anonymous said...

I am not even sure how I found your blog, to be honest. Just one of those things -- but as a resident of Slidell who's sticking it out through the rebuilding, I have to just say this to you: thank you, brother.

Thank you for cataloging what happened -- from the people's perspective, from the individual, from the intimate.

Bless you for the gift of your soul -- it shows in every photograph, every composition, every single detail.

Bless you for your reaction -- for the personal losses you documented, for the emotions you expressed in words and pictures, for the journey.

Never forget. Don't let them forget us. And by 'them,' I mean the people in this country who can raise their voices and let their elected representatives in D.C. know that to forget this region after Katrina is unhuman.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to hear your brother is doing so well. It looks like your mom has done (and is still continuing to do) a fabulous job of raising her sons; it certainly shows in your strength and resilience.

The no-bid contract thing makes me crazy. They're everywhere. I understand FEMA is paying three times rack rate for hotel rooms in New Orleans for its people. That's just insane.

But the more good people like you bring this kind of idiocy to public attention, hopefully the more can be done about it. It's time to take care of Gulf Coast people properly.

I moved away from New Orleans barely a month before Katrina hit, so it's been tearing me up, watching so many friends go through a living hell. Reading your blog has been so healing -- thank you for speaking the clear and simple truth. I'll be buying a copy of your book when it comes out. Please promise you'll publish a book of your Katrina photographs. The power in your photographs is almost overwhelming. You have an eye to peoples' souls.

Gregor said...

A phenomenal blog! Your images and your text are truly mind-blowing! Thank you for sharing your story with the world!

Leslie said...

Wow! Your brother is so courageous! Someone that can do that must have a wonderful future ahead of him.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your photographs and website. The first image of your brother took me back to my own childhood along the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. I spent many summers playing under the Sunset Beach pier without a care in the world. I hope your brother is finding some happiness with his new surroundings. But there is no place like home. Our thoughts are with you all.

In addition, A group of folks from Walton County, Florida, are raising money to build houses in Hancock County through Habitat for Humanity. We would love to use some of your images in our website.

Sincerely, Lynn

...e... said...

little bro is growing up just like big bro, thank god. he'll have lots of stuff to show us soon, too.

i'm going to New Orleans this coming weekend. I can't stand one more minute, I hafta go see. leave the money i don't have for those people who aren't there. any requests, pointers, don't-misses gratefully accepted. i'm flying in on saturday morning. the place i usually stay isn't open for another month so i found a package at a FQ hotel. i'll drive back again in december, but i just can't stand it any more.

Anonymous said...

Tell little brother he did good.We are very proud of him.Older then his age.Will see y'all soon.I have much tell you about FEMA and my son.The FEMA reps have called my sister's in Fla.where we stayed after we left Slidell,and they have called here twice and my son has called them and we all have told the reps NO he does not need a trailer nor does he need any further assistance..It's a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing....AGAIN..FEMA is so Screwed up it is not funny..We are taking bets as to where the trailer will be delivered here in Slidell or in Ft.Walton Beach...Any takers????

djpoptart said...

yay, little brother!!

survival of the rockingest!

Anonymous said...

I am native westbank ( Algiers)and has been living in Dallas for three yrs. Perhaps one day I will stop crying for my city.I applaud your courage for writng this piece. It feels like I have suvivers guilt are something. What bothers me is that I have been home twice and I don,t see anything changing.