KENNEDY TOURS FORD CLEANUP SITE

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Environmental attorney Robert Kennedy, Jr. toured the 'Toxic Legacy' site in Upper Ringwood on Monday.

Star power and political muscle were on display Monday as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and federal legislators toured Ford's toxic waste dump in Upper Ringwood and promised stepped-up pressure on behalf of nearby residents. story in The Record by Barbara Williams and Jan Barry.
Read column by The Record's Lawrence Aaron.

POST-KATRINA

Recently, I spent time down in New Orleans at the Platypus video workshop, and shot this post-Katrina video of St. Bernard Parish -one of the hardest hit area's in New Orleans. Kelly Jordan, a multimedia editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union, was my producer. She helped me great deal in telling this story.

This is a story of a housing, economic, and humanity crisis of dire proportions -in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Much of downtown New Orleans looks like I remembered it. Bourbon Street is still loud and ripe, the Super Dome has been restored, and jazz can be heard echoing throughout the French Quarter. But much of the city remains wounded.

My first visit to the Big Easy was back in my college days, when on a summer-long cross-country trip with my old bud Jeff Pearlman, we rolled into the Big Easy late one Friday night, cruising into town in my old Cutlass Supreme looking for some action. We found it. We partied for days; had a Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's, sampled some authentic Cajun cooking at Dookie Chase, and spent our nights sleeping in a Tulane dorm lounge for free. The city was electric, so exotic and rich to kid who hadn't seen much beyond the Hudson River. Those were good times and fond memories. That's the New Orleans I remember. Unfortunately, things have changed.

Much of the city and its outer parishes remain in shambles, the fallout from a storm so mean its wrath can still be felt three years later. We saw neighborhoods blown apart as if a nuclear bomb went off. Yes, the flood waters receded long ago, but its devastation remains present in so many corners of this city. We saw parishes that remain decimated, communities destroyed beyond repair. We heard stories so sad, our eyes welled with tears.

In producing this video we met many warm people who's grace and resilience, in the face of unspeakable loss, was astounding. Yet, as I left New Orleans it was with a heavy heart. I still cannot shake the images of all the abandoned homes and empty streets. Things look bleak.

The flood waters of Katrina took nearly 15,000 lives, and I couldn't help but feel that the soul of the city was swept away with it. Take a look.

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