In the eye of the pandemic storm

New Orleans        We all feel like we’re caught in the eye of the pandemic storm, but our collective empathy doesn’t necessarily make us feel safer and more secure.

New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell, almost as an aside, mentions that our public health officials are worried that, relative to our size, the covid-19 epidemic seems to be more firmly rooted and expanding exponentially in the city.  We’ve now had two deaths, neither of which were travelers, so this is a community issue.  The first was a resident of a developmentally disabled home, similar to those that our union represents throughout Louisiana.

Mardi Gras drew more than one-million people from all over the world at the point several weeks ago when it was “what me worry” on the 25th of February and the height of when carriers would have been here by the legion.  A 19-day incubation period has been mentioned.  Follow the calendar, and it’s right on time.

Our daughter and her cohort are convinced that they could all be carriers.  They costumed.  They hosted.  She now WhatsApps us regularly and shouts at us from the street to the porch.  She has a friend in Detroit in the ICU with the virus.  Another is a nurse in New York City.  Another is literally working in the coronavirus ward of a major local hospital and mentions that the ratio of staff to patients here is four-to-one compared to other cities with unionized nurses where it’s two-to-one.

The Mayor over the weekend moved to close restaurants at 9PM and bars at midnight, which in many cases is just when they are revving up.  She wants to reduce capacity by 50%.  She forbids congregating.  She instructs us to tell people to go home after they do their business.  We’re supposed to have the staff take their temperature every few hours, but five stores have all sold out.  None of us are prepared to live in these times of virus or in life disrupted for what could be several months.

I say us because Fair Grinds Coffeehouses operate under a restaurant license, so our son was there at six in the morning reorganizing the tables, posting the notice we wrote last night about our procedures, and taking inventory.  The best information mixed with the rumor mill is that New Orleans is likely today or within days to follow the New York and European guidance and shut everything down to takeout and delivery, so we have to prepare for the worst case and limited hours.   Our workforce would be limited, but according to the Department of Labor eligible for unemployment.  Tough times for all of us.

ACORN organizations here and throughout the world are adapting to phone and social media organizing.  Where we have robodialers, we’ll be rocking.  Where we can schedule pickups for new members in the workplace and communities where we work, we’re on it.

There’s no good place to be right now.  Home hearkens.


Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International

We'd love to hear your thoughts feel free to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.