Superbowl Blackout: Beyonce's Shiny Show or NOLA Infrastructure

Whether it was showing love for Beyonce or laughing at the state of New Orleans’ infrastructure since the Super Bowl, most have not stopped to think about how much public investment the city still needs.  Makani Themba, Executive Director of the Praxis Project breaks down how the Super Bowl power outage is all about, well, power and how public infrastructure is "raced".  

“Last night’s power outage at the Super Bowl gave the world a glimpse of the daily challenges many New Orleans residents still face in the wake of rebuilding post-Katrina. Thanks to misplaced priorities that place war and partisan politics over our nation’s infrastructure needs, cities like New Orleans suffer. From New Jersey to New Orleans and beyond, we have watched recovery dollars spent in discriminatory ways. Suburban, more affluent areas and tourist zones get the lion’s share and communities — especially low resource communities and communities of color — wait for months and even years for relief. Studies published by the National Housing Institute and others have shown how these historic patterns of racism exacerbate present-day gaps but there has been no significant policy effort to address this inequity. The fact that New Orleans got the lights back on so quickly is a testament to its resilience and know-how. However, cities cannot put the lights back on or undertake the gargantuan task of rebuilding without their fair share of public dollars.”

Makani has also written about New Orleans, and the historical patters of disinvestment. In a piece written for Alternet just days after Hurricane Katrina, Makani noted "Urban areas and other communities with high concentrations of people of color have suffered decades of disinvestment and disfranchisement. Urban areas are less likely to have fair representation at the state and federal level due to apportionment schemes designed to dilute their voting power. Therefore, they are more likely to lose their public hospitals and other critical services. In many states, the suburbs and rural areas are considered the 'real' residents and the urban areas are political stepchildren."

Makani and Comms Director Kenyon Farrow were interviewed on this subject this week on several radio stations including KPFA Pacifica Radio, WBAI (NYC), Progressive Radio Network and American Radio News Networks.