Matt Reichel

4 Ways the Super Bowl Sucks For New Orleanians

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina visited the Gulf Coast, the Super Bowl returns to the stadium that served as shelter of last resort for thousands left stranded by the storm. In those tragic hours, the Superdome stood as a symbol of the contradictions of life in New Orleans, juxtaposing the gleam of its tourism industry against the bleak realities of many of its residents.  

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Protest Roars to Life at Chicago NATO Summit in Face of Violent Police Crackdowns

For weeks, people have speculated over the potential for a blooming “American Spring” this weekend in Chicago, when thousands were expected to come protest the meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In the end, it might be more appropriate to speak of a newly born American Summer, as demonstrators were dosed with unseasonably warm 80- and 90-degree weather in a weekend that felt more like July than May.

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Heroic Activists in Louisiana Fight Back Against Corporate Greed

Last week’s settlement between BP and 120,000 affected Gulf residents is but the latest chapter in Louisiana’s desperate recovery from the twin tragedies of Katrina and the oil spill. One is a crisis induced by natural disaster, the other by human negligence. Both stories have been driven by corporate malfeasance and greed. The devastation wrought by Katrina opened the door to an unprecedented wave of looting and pillaging of the city’s public resources. In the months after the storm, a majority of the city’s public schools, roughly half of its public housing, and its main public hospital were demolished or turned over to private operators.

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4 Signs the American Spring May Be Coming to Chicago

Chicago’s G8/NATO organizing committee has landed on a slogan for the city as it hosts the twin summits this May: “The Global Crossroads.” This is certainly an appropriate moniker for a town built by immigrants, with its neighborhoods still bearing the names of the ethnic enclaves they once were: Ukranian Village, Greektown, Little Italy and Andersonville, to name a few. Recognizing the inherently global character of the Metropolis of the Midwest would be honorable, if that is what the organizers intended. However, when they say “global,” they are invoking the 1 percent sense of the word, as Don Welsh of the city’s Convention and Tourism Bureau makes clear: “To penetrate international markets takes time and money, and this is going to help us showcase to the international markets in a quick way.” It is the global markets that will cross paths as the world’s political and financial elite sets its agenda behind closed doors at McCormick Place.

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Are the Homeless Being Used as Pawns in a War on the Occupy Movement?

Beneath the veneer of New Orleans’ vibrant culture lies a history of tragedy. From the Yellow Fever outbreaks of the 19th century, the many catastrophic storms that have visited the city, the violence of the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the vast social dysfunction of contemporary New Orleans, this is a city that has known adversity throughout. It is sadly fitting, then, that Occupy NOLA is one of the few occupations to have witnessed a death on the encampment. Last week, 53 year old Ronald Dean Howell, known as “Curly” or “Old School” to friends, was found dead in his tent. The coroner’s chief investigator, John Gagliano, stated that the cause of death was “complications from alcohol abuse.” According to other occupiers, the man was homeless, and likely relocated from another tent city at Calliope Street and the Pontchartrain Expressway, which was closed by authorities on October 27th.

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