A delegation of French businessmen and politicians toured the
devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina with the aim of aiding in the
reconstruction of New Orleans.
Executives from leading energy, waste management and construction
companies were on hand to discuss plans to help the city rebuild from
flooding that broke through levies, wrecked transportation and sewage
lines and left tens of thousands of residents without power for months.
They made commitments to donate several million dollars to the
reconstruction, brining total contributions by French companies and
their US subsidiaries to more than 22 million dollars.
The French government has also contributed a million dollars to help rebuild the city's French schools.
"We are moving away from the phase of emotion and compassion and the
generosity of French companies to help on a humanitarian basis, to the
happy phase of reconstruction," Jean-David Levitte, the French
ambassador to the United States, told AFP following a meeting with New
Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
said the delegation discussed the possibility of redeveloping the
African-American Treme neighborhood -- which is noted for its rich
musical heritage -- with "French expertise."
Nagin said France's relationship with the hurricane-battered city has moved up to a "totally different level."
France was "one of the first countries to step forward with humanitarian aid," the mayor noted.
"Now we're getting ready to move into the rebuild phase and there
are legitimate business opportunities to link French companies up with
local companies or US companies to do good business."
Executives from energy and waste management groups Suez and Veolia
along with those from construction company Vinci and real estate
company Nexity met with local business leaders to discuss
reconstruction plans in the aftermath of the August 29 storm.
Nagin praised the French for their continued contributions,
including 20 tonnes of emergency supplies and a team of military divers
to help rescue people from the floodwaters, benefit concerts by New
Orleans artists and musicians in France, and the loan of art work by
the Louvre Museum to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
"They didn't come with generalities. The French come with specifics.
And they come with expertise, some of the best in the world," Nagin
May be the French want New Orleans back. I can not believe that our
government can not or will not take care of New Orleans. The Bush
Administration is too busy giving corporations welfare but it can not
take care of one of our most important city's
Give me an effin break. This is real? No way! What do they charge for
uniforms with bullet holes in them? What do they deduct if you're blown
out of your boots? This just sucks, pure and simple. NEW YORK It was a case of financial insult
added to injury. Now an article in the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-News
has sparked a fundraising appeal on a popular political blog.
The newspaper reported today that a local man, 1st Lt.
William "Eddie" Rebrook IV, had recently paid a bill for $700 for lost
body armor he used in Iraq -- which was pulled off his body after he
suffered severe wounds in a roadside bombing one year ago. The last
time he saw the body armor "he was lying on a stretcher in Iraq, his
arm shattered," the article revealed.
From the Charleston Gazette-News:
last time 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV saw his body armor, he
was lying on a stretcher in Iraq, his arm shattered and covered in
A field medic tied a tourniquet around Rebrook's right
arm to stanch the bleeding from shrapnel wounds. Soldiers yanked off
his blood-soaked body armor. He never saw it again.
But last week, Rebrook was forced to pay $700 for that body armor, blown up by a roadside bomb more than a year ago.
was leaving the Army for good because of his injuries. He turned in his
gear at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was informed there was no
record that the body armor had been stripped from him in battle.
He was told to pay nearly $700 or face not being discharged for weeks, perhaps months.
Rebrook, 25, scrounged up the cash from his Army buddies and returned home to Charleston last Friday.
last saw the [body armor] when it was pulled off my bleeding body while
I was being evacuated in a helicopter," Rebrook said. "They took it
off me and burned it."
....Rebrook, who graduated with honors
from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., spent more than
four years on active duty. He served six months in Iraq.
Rebrook is sending out resumes, trying to find a job. He plans to
return to college to take a couple of pre-med classes and apply to
medical school. He wants to be a doctor someday.
"From being an infantryman, I know what it's like to hurt people," Rebrook said. "But now I'd like to help people."
His mother, Beckie Drumheler, "said she was saddened
-- and angry -- when she learned that the Army discharged her son with
a $700 bill. Soldiers who serve their country, those who put their
lives on the line, deserve better, she said. 'It's outrageous,
ridiculous and unconscionable,' Drumheler said. 'I wanted to stand on a
street corner and yell through a megaphone about this.'"
When John Aravosis, creator of the Americablog site,
read this story, he immediately put up an appeal for funds at his site,
along with a couple different ways to earmark money for Rebrook, at: http://americablog.blogspot.com/
"We liberal folk may disagree with the Bush
administration over the reasons for going to war and over how they're
fighting this war," he declared, "but one thing you'd expect no
disagreement over would be the treatment of our soldiers. They fight
for their country and they deserve some respect in return. And that
means not charging them for their body armor because someone blew them
up on the battlefield."
Thanks John for organizing this. When I see folks with those yellow
Support Our Troops magnets on the back of their vehicles, I wonder how
many of them really are supporting the troops (other than moral
It's like the old saw about asking a grunt the difference between a crack whore and the U.S. Army... The crack whore will stop fucking you after you're dead.
UPDATE: Readers at Americablog have already donated over $5,000,
so John is pulling the plug on the donation link for now. I wouldn't be
surprised if the need arises again, given our government's treatment of
our troops. Please continue to share this story it's important.
According to the latest from Editor & Publisher,
Rebrook has said he's going to donate the money to the mother of a
soldier who saved his life in Iraq - she lost her home in New Orleans
to Katrina - and he may also give some to charity. Which is fine with
me. First, it's his money to spend as he likes. But more importantly,
the point was and is that the money go to help someone in need - and
it's going to do just that - and at the same time it's inadvertently
helped raise some awareness about the ongoing issue of body armor and
the Bush administration's (and Republican Congress') callous treatment
of our service members. All of that is a good thing.