Back to front Your Feedback Back to headlines

New Orleans Protests War

By Paul Hill

NEW ORLEANS - About 300 exuberant people converged on Washington Square in New Orleans on Oct. 27 to protest the War in Iraq as part of the national United for Peace and Justice effort. A rally featuring distinguished speakers was followed by a spirited march through the historic French Quarter. Washington Square is on the edge of the French Quarter and is the site of a former plantation where slaves were eventually freed.

Participants were a very diverse group of people from many progressive organizations, including "ACORN, IBEW, UAW, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans against the War, Common Ground Relief, People's Hurricane Relief, Progressive Democrats of America, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others.

Judith LeBlanc of United for Peace and Justice made an inspiring speech and declared "We need a real road home and this can only be done by us. We must end this war now! Bush has brought the world to the brink and we are the only ones who can save it." She pointed out that Martin Luther King once said about the Vietnam War, "When the bombs are dropped, they explode in our own communities" and drew the parallel to the Katrina catastrophe.

Julie Graybill of New Orleans Coalition Against the War told me "I'm here to do my part not only in ending the war but also in rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast." Jeremy Garland of Baton Rouge found out about the event on the United for Peace and Justice website and decided to support the action "to make a contribution. I felt it was important. We never should have gone into Iraq in the first place." He noted he had read that the war is costing every American $8000. Mary Ann Zavez from Vermont attended the event because, "I just happened to be down here doing some legal work. I've been against the war since it started." She was pleased that the rally was "connecting the war to the people here in New Orleans."

Judith LeBlanc of UFPJ told the World that the event, "brought together Katrina survivors and community organizers, lifelong residents who have children serving in Iraq and faith based groups." She concluded that "these are the constituent groups that can make a powerful statement about why it is critical to end the war and to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast." She pointed out that one year of taxes spent on the war from the New Orleans Congressional District "could be used to rebuild 14 elementary schools or could rebuild 100,000 homes with renewable energy."

Back to front Your Feedback Back to headlines