Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ken Feinberg says "I don't work for BP". He gets paid by them tough.

Oil spill claims chief Ken Feinberg has held three town hall meetings in January, one in Mississippi and three in Louisiana, to explain new guidelines that impact on all claims against BP. On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 300 people attended the meeting at the Lafitte Community Center in Jean Lafitte, LA. Feinberg listened to their concerns and answered questions during an emotionally charged hour long meeting. There was a line of frustrated people who didn't get to address him, but Feinberg promised he'd be returning. Former congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao, now a consultant to Feinberg, is helping the Vietnamese community that has been having a lot of trouble navigating the claims process. Feinberg told the crowd that Cao and other locals were recently hired to make the claims process run more smoothy. But those in attendance expressed their disbelief. Elmer Rogers from Empire came to the meeting with his claim in hand. At a meeting earlier in the year when he had a brief private audience with Feinberg, he was told his claim was valid and he would be paid. Addressing Feinberg once again, he asked if it would help to beg and got on his knees. "I just need money to live," he exclaimed. Diane Pochie of Lafitte got so agitated when stating her case, security stepped in and made her back up. Issues raised at the meeting ranged from personal pleas, complaints about the wrong people receiving payments, to wanting to know when and how the lump sum payout that is one of the options claimants can chose will be determined. Feinberg explained the three option: emergency payments, quarterly payments or getting a lump sum and giving up ones right to sue BP. That option has angered people. Many asked if it was legal to have people give up their right to sue if they take the payment. Feinberg made clear that he is neither encouraging or discouraging anyone from taking the lump payment, and reminded the people he works for them, not BP, though BP is paying him.
Images: Top- Hung Viet Tran, a fisherman from New Orleans east wear a sign on his forehead that saw "I Fish Therefore I am." , Ken Feinberg, administrator of the BP Oil Spill Victim Compensation Fund, Bottom-Tracy Kuhns, wears her message on a pin and sticker, Crowd at a town hall meeting filled to capacity
To see more images from the meeting click here.

link to wwl's coverage of the meeting- they did a great job capturing the drama. And an article on the Huffington post about-$950 an hour paid out of BP Claims fund to a Law Professor to consult . And one more link - the oil commission report and a video my Mediastorm that has a bunch of my images in it. One of my images is in the final report to which is free to download.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thoughts of Flo McGarrell a Year After the Earthquake in Haiti

Flo McGarrell was on my mind a year ago today, and is again today, the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. Flo died in the collapse of the Peace of Mind Hotel in Jacmel. His sudden death stays with me. I feel powerless to ease the pain of Flo's parents, who miss him immeasurably. Flo's room in the McGarrell's Vermont home has been left as it was the last time Flo visited in December 2009. His work lives on, as his friends continue to offer assistance to the artists he was mentoring at FOSJA, a Jacmel art center. Sue Frame who was with Flo at the time of the earthquake, started Jakmel Ekspresyons to carry on Flo's work to help contemporary artists in Jacmel. A memorial exhibition at AVA in New Hampshire included many of Flo's inflatable sculptures as well as the work of many of Flo's friends. This link it to AVA's post on the show.In an interview, Flo said, "I am extremely lucky to have an amazingly supportive family who puts up with all my crazy schemes. They seem to understand, respect and trust my drive. I am so thankful I was born into them, and do not take this for granted. This is where all my freedom really comes from. I don’t have to really sell any work because, if worst comes to worst, I can always go home." Here is a link to read interview by Georgia Kotretsos.

Today I added 23 previously unreleased images to a set on flickr of images shot three weeks after the earthquake along with a set of Haiti 11 months after the earthquake.

Image descriptions: Top- Haitian beads and small bottle of Haitian spirits on the door of Flo's room, Flo's bedroom, as he left it ,Shrine in Flo's room
Bottom- Zaka ( Claudel Chery) , Flo's protoge, visiting the memorial in the McGarrel's backyard where Flo's ashes are buried,Window sill in Flo's room, Flo's book shelf

Sunday, January 02, 2011

First Pictures of the New Year 2011

New Year's Eve in New Orleans was a foggy affair, Click here to see a set of images of the fireworks over the Mississippi River.
New Orleans' Superintendent Ronal Serpas held a press conference on New Year's Day sharing good news: There were no reports of injury due to stray bullets during the celebration.
No murders in New Orleans either, though there was one across the lake in Mandeville, where there was also a birth. Baby Carmelo O'mari Ard, son of Ta'kia Ard, was delivered five-seconds after midnight at Regional Medical Center in Covington making him the first baby born in Louisiana in 2011. The hospital thought he might be the first born in America, but a babies in Chicago and New York beat him out.