Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. These were Cockburn’s rules for how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, CounterPunch will get a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC (This photo of Alexander Cockburn and Jasper, on the couch that launched 1000 columns, was taken in Petrolia by Tao Ruspoli)
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

For A Lot of Us, the Storm is Still Happening

Why I’m Not Going Back to New Orleans

by CYRIL NEVILLE

Would I go back to live? There’s nothing there. And the situation for musicians was a joke. People thought there was a New Orleans music scene — there wasn’t. You worked two times a year: Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. The only musicians I knew who made a living playing music in New Orleans were Kermit Ruffins and Pete Fountain. Everyone else had to have a day job or go on tour. I have worked more in two months in Austin than I worked in two years in New Orleans.

A lot of things about life in New Orleans were a myth. I lived in the Gentilly neighborhood. I am not a fish. I cannot live under 6 feet of water. In the 9th Ward and Gentilly they are going to do mass buyouts, bulldoze everything and make it green space. In my estimation, those are golf courses and other places where African-American people won’t be welcome. There’s nothing wrong with my house except that water destroyed everything we had in it. The foundation is fine. The house is still there. Same thing with our neighbors. So what are they talking bulldozing?

For a lot of us, the storm is still happening.

Up until the storm, Aaron, myself, Art and Kermit Ruffins were some of the only musicians who had ‘made it’ who were still living in New Orleans. Now you got cats that come down there every now and then to be king of a parade or whatever. They couldn’t find helicopters to get people off of roofs, but they found helicopters to bring certain people in for photo ops. I’m not mad at anybody, but at the same time we put a lot into that city and never got what I think we should have got out of it. Now I’ve landed in Austin.

New Orleans and Austin musicians have had an affinity for each other’s groove for a long time, going back to my days with the Meters when we played Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin. On any given night we would end up with five or six guitar players onstage with us, be it the Winter brothers [Edgar and Johnny] or the Vaughan brothers.

Gaynielle Neville and I now appear in a weekly Tuesday set called "New Orleans Cookin’ & Jukin’ " at Threadgill’s in Austin. Gaynielle cooks red beans and gumbo, and we perform with their group Tribe 13, which includes Austin vocalist Papa Mali.

The way we have been accepted in Austin is such a pleasant surprise," We were treated like family.

I linked up with the Guthrie family about 18 months ago. I was looking for songs for an upcoming solo album and discovered the Native American rock band Blackfire. They had recorded Arlo’s "Mean Things Are Happening in This World."

That song jumped out at me, so I did my version. For years I have wondered how can I get in contact with Arlo and Willie Nelson — people who have the same kind of attitude and consciousness I have and who want to use their art the same way I’m trying to use mine. I got that consciousness from Woody Guthrie.

People are talking to me, but some of the people I know went through much more than I did. There are 3,000 children missing in New Orleans. [The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children places the figure at 1,300.] Hundreds of bodies are waiting to be identified. The people of New Orleans have been scattered to the four winds. Their lives were determined by people in Washington and Baton Rouge before the storm hit.

Without African Americans having ownership, economic equity and the same type of things the French Quarter gets — like tax cuts — the city will never be the same. The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Wards should have their own tourist commission. Build our own hotels and restaurants in those areas. The key is ownership. Then I would think about going back and living there. But we’re still practicing American democracy. How can we ever bring it to somebody else?

CYRIL NEVILLE’s cds include New Orleans Home Cookin’ and Fire This Time,

Excerpted from an interview in the Sun-Times.