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It was a beautiful morning, especially considering what we had all been through with Isaac. The sun was shining on the steps in front of New Orleans City Hall, but there was a cool , and we enjoyed gathering together to make our statements about the slow restoral of electrical power after Isaac had passed.

We were a motley crew. Several Uptown activists, several Downtown, people who had worked together for years to keep issues on the mind of the easily distracted people of New Orleans. This time was more personal, since a lot of people had gone for several days without fans or air conditioning in temperatures that sometimes reached 100 degrees.

Mike Howells spoke of the apparent lack of urgency on Entergy’s part, and he noted that people with medical needs had become anxious about their situation. Karen Jaspers was angry! She made the judgment that the Entergy officials were indifferent to the suffering o the poor in the City, and she said so in clear, dramatic terms. The Channel Six cameras were rolling as people speak, and the cameramen invited people to speak as they wished, without of course being able to promise anyone who would actually be broadcast.

After all the familiar people had spoken, the cameraman asked whether there was anyone else. A young man stepped forward and asked for the microphone, No one recognized him, and he introduced himself to the cameras as well as to us, but I did not catch his name. He was dark-complexioned, but he did not sound native. His accent was neutral, and his words flew freely once he began. He spoke of homelessness and the discomfort of being homeless in a storm, and he spoke respectfully of the efforts to rebuild after the storm, though he was clear that he thought the official efforts poorly planned.

I said nothing. I just stood in front of the cameras, holding forward my sign written in big, bold red letters: “ You are capable of thinking ahead ?” It said. It gave some visual support to the unknown young man, who was facing the camera in such a way that my sign and me were visible to the watching audience.

There was indeed a watching audience. The next day I was in the coffee shop near Commander’s Palace in the Garden District, and a customer came over to me to tell me he had seen me and my sign and agreed with the words.

“You are capable of thinking ahead!

by ROBERT DESMARAIS  (757.642.8607)