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Louisianans in dire need in Hurricane Ida’s wake

People’s Tribune’s Bob Lee recently interviewed Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste  |  Issue: October 2021
Belden Batiste
Belden Batiste, shown here in a photo from his campaign for Congress earlier this year.

Editor’s note: The People’s Tribune’s Bob Lee recently interviewed Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, a New Orleans activist and mayoral candidate, about the situation in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Below are excerpts from Batiste’s comments during the interview.

I’m a musician, and I’ve been a community activist since the age of 14. I have been organizing in New Orleans for a long time. I had just decided to run for mayor of the city when the storm came. I was running against our mayor, who is LaToya Cantrell, and I was running against her because of criminal neglect, poor leadership and broken promises. I [also] ran for Congress [earlier this year].

We went through Katrina 16 years ago and here we go again, and it looks like the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana learned nothing from Katrina, you know? And so people are in dire need. You got pregnant women that haven’t eaten in days. You got people that’s in nursing homes and buildings with no generators, no nothing; at night time, they gotta use the bathroom and they’re urinating on their selves.

Homes and utilities destroyed by Hurricane Ida
Homes and utilities destroyed by Hurricane Ida at St. John Parish September 1, 2021 in Laplace, Louisiana. (Photo: Kristina Overton/Fema/Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire)

Our grids and Entergy [the electricity supplier in New Orleans] failed in the water [and the whole city lost power]. In 2018, we told them not to build this power plant. So they gave this plant billions of dollars and that plant has failed too. And so, so we are in trouble in New Orleans. We in dire need down here and we need help.

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