December 22, 2008


I wish I had seasonal glad tidings, but new reports from The Nation make Katrina even uglier. I hope you will join me in signing the letter on to Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal and Attorney Buddy Caldwell to demand further investigation of this horror. I just wish that colorofchange didn't capitalize "black" and "white". Minor nitpick!


A new report in The Nation documents what many have claimed for
years--for some Black New Orleanians the threat of being killed by
White vigilantes in Katrina's aftermath became a bigger threat than the
storm itself.

After the storm, White vigilantes roamed Algiers Point shooting and,
according to their own accounts, killing Black men at will--with no threat
of a police response. For the last three years, the shootings and the
police force's role in them have been an open secret to many New
Orleanians. To date, no one has been charged with a crime and law
enforcement officials have refused to investigate.

The report is helpful, but given Lousiana's horrible record on
protecting its Black citizens, justice will only come if we demand

I've joined ColorOfChange in calling on Louisiana Governor Bobby
Jindal, Louisiana's Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, and the U.S.
Department of Justice--to conduct a full investigation of these
crimes and any police cover-up. Will you join me? It takes only a


In the two weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the media
created a climate of fear with trumped-up stories of Black lawlessness.
Meanwhile, an armed group of White vigilantes took over the Algiers Point
neighborhood in New Orleans and mercilessly hunted down Black people.
"It was great!" said one vigilante. "It was like pheasant season in South
Dakota. If it moved, you shot it."

"The Nation's" article tells the story of Donnell Herrington, Marcel
Alexander, and Chris Collins--a group of friends who were attacked by
shotgun-wielding White men as they entered Algiers Point on September
1, 2005. As they tried to escape, Herrington recalls, their attackers
shouted, "Get him! Get that nigger!" He managed to get away. Alexander
and Collins were told that they would be allowed to live on the condition
that they told other Black folks not to come to Algiers Point. Herrington,
shot in the neck, barely survived.

And there's the story of Henry Glover, who didn't survive after being shot
by an unknown assailant. Glover's brother flagged down a stranger for
help, and the two men brought Glover to a police station. But instead of
receiving aid, they were beaten by officers while Henry Glover bled to
death in the back seat of the stranger's car. A police officer drove off
in the car soon afterward. Both Glover's body and the car were found burnt
to cinders a week later. It took DNA analysis to identify the body.

These are only a few of the stories of Black folks who were accosted
in Algiers Point, and you can read more in The Nation. But unless you
speak out, we may never learn the full extent of the violence.
Journalists have encountered a wall of silence on the part of the
authorities. The coroner had to be sued to turn over autopsy records.
When he finally complied, the records were incomplete, with files on
several suspicious deaths suddenly empty. The New Orleans police and
the District Attorney repeatedly refused to talk to journalists about
Algiers Point. And according to "The Nation" journalist A.C. Thompson,
"the city has in nearly every case refused to investigate or prosecute
people for assaults and murders committed in the wake of the storm."

The Nation article is important, but it's just a start. For more than
three years now, these racist criminals have by their own admission
gotten away with murder while officials in New Orleans have
systematically evaded any kind of accountability. We have to demand it.

Please join us in calling on state and federal officials to
investigate these brutal attacks and the conduct of Orleans Parish law
enforcement agencies, and please ask your friends and family to do the


1. "Katrina's Hidden Race War," The Nation, 12-18-2008

2. "Body of Evidence," The Nation, 12-18-2008