Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Teaching the Levees

Hurricane Katrina caused America to take pause and challenged our government's values.

What does it mean to be a citizen? What type of citizen are you?

What is the role of government?

Should the federal government help the less fortunate or provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate?

Obviously there were some mistakes made by the federal government.

Have we learned from the mistakes? In the aftermath of Katrina were decisions made based on race? class? Or need?

Now that we have all seen the Spike Lee documentary what is our responsibility?
What should we do?

Kemi's Link


Anonymous said...

After watching the video in class, I'm surprised at how the gov't didn't do anything to help the people that were out on the highways for days after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. They've been waiting and living on highways for so many days and yet help came a long time later. However, there were thousands of people living on the highways and such. People got frustrated because it was so crowded to get into the helicopter or coach buses. The federal gov't should help the less fortunate. I still think we haven't learned from the mistakes. The aftermath of Katrina, I believe decisions were made based on race.


What it means to be a citizen? I looked up on the net @ here it says that “you’re a member of a society if you have the right to vote, or run for public office and have the right to individual choices in life. When your a citizen you have freedom and equal rights the same as every body else. Citizens carry out respective duties for their state or country. The type of citizen I am is the one that wants to help out to do right in my country any way I can (participatory). I think during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was a time the government should help out. This is a time of need people were hungry with no place to sleep. They lost everything thing and they’re suffering. We can't do anything about nature, but we can try to find a solution to helping the states in time of need. We as citizens should help however we can by joining organizations, and help fundraise money to donate to fellow citizens in need. We teens need to start watching the news so we can vote and try to vote for some one we feel is the best and is going to try his/her best to make this country better.

Senior @ QHST

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, Brownie...

And seniors...

Can we make any connections between this and what we've been discussing in English? What is the responsibility of a bystander, of a witness? Can small groups of people make a difference? What type of citizens are we?

I say we figure out how we can be the change.

Brown, Mayo, and the Dream Team Class of 08!!!


manpreet kaur said...

After watching Spike Lee's movie I think it is our responsiblity to help the ones in need of help in any way, whether it be by just giving food or clothing. I n English class, we had a quote, that meant that even a small group of people can make a big difference. I think if their is a small group of people helping the needy, looking at what the small group is doing others will want to help the needy as well.
I am a citizen that gives food and small amounts of clothing to the people in need. I think, I actually fall into the pretaspeptory group, becaues I do give help but not as much.
The government should help all people , because they are the officals elected by " the people" to run the government, because they trusted the officals that's why the government should give back to the "the people" by helping the people.

Durkhanai A. said...

After watching the video in class, I was shocked to see that the government did not come to help the people after such a big natural disaster. Even though they had a mandatory evacuation, some people could not afford to go anywhere else but to stay in their homes. The government should have at least tried to help them as much as they could. If they can go to the other side of the world to help people who are not even part of their country and drop food and medicine they could have done the same for their own people. I agree with Tiffany that maybe the decisions made based on race. However, people should learn not to look at color because both ways you still loose lives.

Anonymous said...

A citizen is a person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth to the protection of a state or nation. The effects of Katrina was no doubt a devastating blow in New Orlean, Many suffered and many died. I do feel that it is the governments responsibility to help its people. Its inhumane to not help knowing that their are people who just lost everything in this hurricane now are starving with their kids. I agree with Kemi in how we can help by joining fundraisers and giving money to to the victims.

-Bryan S.

Anonymous said...

After watching the video, it was quite surprising at how the government did not help the people. The people lost their homes, their everything and they were stranded on the highways and bridges from what i recall five days? That is unbelievable because they all looked so helpless.
Last English class, we also looked at this quote that said that even a small group of dedicated people can make a difference. I personally agree with the quote because even though it might not be a large group of people, just donating money, food, etc. would really have made a difference after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.
As Manpreet said, I am also a citizen that helped people in need and give them food and small amounts of clothing. I fall under the participatory group.
As Kemi said the defination of a citizen is, "you’re a member of a society if you have the right to vote, or run for public office and have the right to individual choices in life. When your a citizen you have freedom and equal rights the same as every body else. Citizens carry out respective duties for their state or country."
We as citizens should help them because when we are in need, we would want people to help us too. We should always give back as citizens.

-Anta R.

Anonymous said...


I remember when this first happen I was in the country of trinidad && tobago I never really understood the real situation. I just thought that the only thing was the water. I think as a citizen , the only thing that can be done is sending donations out & also sending clothes to them. But the roles of the governemnt should be the aid of the katrina victims at all time. I feel that fema did a horrible job at not aiding the victims. alsoo I don't believe its a race thing because in the documentary you seen blacks & whites , but I do believe its a class thing. Cause I think the low class people were treated unfair. For example , te people across the world when the tsunami happen, were treated 2 days after , but it took the U.S a week after the hurricane happen people seeked SLIGHT attention. I think the new president coming into office should pay more attention to the city of new orleans by trying to get it fixed and make sure the citizens have somewhere to stay. I only don't think that the government should only take care of the less fortunate but! I think everyone need to seek attention, and when I say that I mean people from age & dissabilities.

tobin v. said...

I agree with Bryan in what a citizen is. I think it is a person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth to the protection of a state or nation. I feel that I am a participatory citizen. I would help my country and follow their rules. I think the role of the government is to assist the state that is needed help. When New Orleans had a mandatory evacuation, many people of the poor class wasn’t able to leave because they always traveled by public transportation and at that time there was no public transportation. I feel that in this situation the government should have came in and helped the lower class. After all it was the government that declared a mandatory evacuation. I feel that we have learned from these mistakes that the U.S. government won’t let this happen again. I think the decisions that the government made wasn’t really based on race or class. I feel that the government messed up and will learn from their mistakes. I think we should do whatever we can to help the people of New Orleans. And also we have to be more of what happens in our own country. Because only after this documentary did I know how bad it really was.

Anonymous said...

I think as a citizen people should have donated cloths food and other thing to help the people out after Hurricane Katrina happened. But i think it was mostly the governments fault for not helping the people that needed hepl in new orlean. And after watching the video in class i really understood what happened in new orleans. i agree with what manpreet said about if a small group of people were helping out to make some changes others would help out also for example how one of the actor from hollywood went to new orlean to help out people that needed help.

-khizer hayat

Anonymous said...

I feel as a citizen the best we shall do is help others that's in need of help because there important jus as well as others. It was shocking how the goverment did not play any role and help the people I felt that was wrong because they was in need of help. I understand that katrina destroyed the whole city but what's important people lives not where they live.if they able to help others across the world why can't they settle down and help when that occurred.I agree with what tiffany said it probably was base upon race because helped the richer people more but they fail to realize everyone is equal.

Kristal atchison

Anonymous said...

What the goverment did was morally wrong but i believe this was done to spite the peaople of new orleans. The officials of new orleans fave the people and fair warning to leave the city before the hurricane hit and those that did not leave would not recieve help. i understand that many people were unable to leave due to money problems or health issues and i believe what the goverment did was wrong. Food and water should have been delivered within hours not days.
Matthew Morrison

Bjorn Oliver said...

i feel that the responsibility of a witness/by-standerder is to at least give some sort of donation to the people that lost their homes and their family in the sitution. the donations should consits of money and clohtes to help the people in need

Anonymous said...

Watching this video in class made me realize how selfish the government is. Its depressing to see all these citizens of the United States suffer such a tragedy. To be honest when I first heard about hurricane Katrina and heard what damage was done I really didn’t seem to care. Until I saw this video and I even felt guilty that I would complain so much about my life and looking at the video, seeing these people have nothing left after this disaster made me feel like as a citizen of the United States I could have done something. I believe the government role in this situation could have been taking action when it first happened not 5 days later! Should the federal government help the less fortunate or provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate? You cant really provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate because it would be unfair to everyone else because everyone is going to want in a safe atmosphere and that just wouldn’t make sense.

-Leah Maddaloni

Anonymous said...

A citizen is a person who cares their country's name and is loyal to their country. A citizen is show know when their country is in trouble, they should rise and answer to their country's calls. Katrina was a big event in the US history. Although people should have been donating money, food and forms of shelter, they haven't. That makes me question who are the real citizens of American? There shouldnt have been people stranded on highways. People need to answer to the calls of America.
_peterson saint cyr

Mr Tesler said...

Mr. Tesler - WJPS Teacher
This is a test for proper frequency modulation

Anonymous said...

Tiana Delarosa

I feel that i would be more of a judicial Citizen there was alot that the govn't could've done that they didn't they just sat back and made a whole bunch of excuses. what they could---SHOULD have done was throw food drives at schools, send food send water, send airplanes to ship those poor people out of there they said they didn't have no money that is bull. The govn't is filthy rich from all the money they take out of these hard working people's paychecks. This was a racial issue, and those people have every right to want to be mad. They also should've shipped any volunteers that wanted to help for free. There was a lot of nurses at my mother's job that sent money and also canned foods who wanted to go down thre and help but couldn't. The Govn't let us down in sept. 11 and in Katrina. They are supposed to keep us safe and protect our rights but none of that is happeneing...

Octavia Ramos said...

After watching the video about Hurricane Katrina, I was not suprise at all on how the gov't didn't help because they would rather help a foreign country then help their own country in need just to make themselves lokk presentable. Why do you think that it took them 2 days to get food and water to this foreign country that they dont even live in and it takes them 7 days to get to us to bring food and water? Is this country backwards on their priorities or they have other important things to do besides help victims from Hurricane Katrina? It sadden me deeply to see people sleeping on highways not getting no help waiting for buses to come and told that they could not pass to the rich side to seek better care. FEMA the people that did help did more than what they were suppose to the Government was suppose to be their and help this isso called the richest country so where's the money going to shopping spree's vacation getaways Bush? But i bet if florida was in this predicamnet or if it happened in a white neighborhood the government wouldbe their in a minute. No matter what people say this country is racist it may not be how it was when our ancestors were alive but its just as worse.

Praveen said...

We watched the video breaking the leeves in the class. It was surprising that the government basically let people die after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. People were dying everywhere and when somebody was dying and their relatives asked for help they did recieve help but when the victim had already died. We still have not learned from our previous mistakes and I think that we need tremendous changes to improve this situation. The aftermath of Katrina, is I think that the decisions taken by the government were based on race.
Praveen-WJPS student

natalie said...

natalies a wjps student

to me being a citizen of the united states of america means to have the rights that others may not.iam a an american citizen.
the role of the government is to protect peoples rights and set laws so every one can be safe and make sure that people are getting what they deserv.
i do thing that the federal government should help the less fortunate and provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate but in some cases they dont and then you think about it isn't what our system of government is all about.
yes i have learned from the mistakes made and i do think that the government has as well becouse they try to make things better.
In the aftermath of Katrina decisions were made based on race i thhink and class but not based on peoples needs.
Now that we have all seen the Spike Lee documentary my responsibility is to help out others when needed and never do what the gov't did wait such long time to help people in need.

What should we do?

Anonymous said...

To me a citizen means to be able to help our country become better. What I mean by that, is to be able to put input in our country. Like voting, telling our opinions & helping economy or the earth (anything of that nature.To role of the government to me is to protect our rights, the reasons why we live here. To keep us out of harms way by making laws that benfit us or making secure relatiopnships with other nations to make sure that we can't be harmed by anything else. Also, I think it is their job to take our opinions that we have and do somthing with them not just sit there and listen; take to action. Of course, ithink the government should help the less fournate, after all they can not help themselves and I'm sure they didn't choose to less fournate when they were observing what happens in this world. AFter all we should all be safe. That is a right not a privlage.
From these mistakes made with Hurricane Katrina; I believe that now we can take the proper precautions when we notice that there will be a major probelm to the nation and be ready for the things that we will have to do; not just sit around and think about it days later. Unfortantly, I do think some decisions were based on race beacuse New Orleans is a prodimetly black (african-american)city. I think the things they did were based on slavery. I mean no food or water and they had to beg. Think about it && the similarties. )Or think about Oliver Stone In England when they called him a "pesent" because he was poor, or think about Russia when they called people "pesents" becasue they were poor && in New Orleans is poverty-stricken place. I believe now that we have seen this documentary we should take the responsibiltes of our nation no matter where we are.
CeCe W.J.P.S
P.s- I don't know if I spelled pesents right. Sorry, if I don't && my American History teacher told me to write this. So, goodbye && qoodnight

Anonymous said...

i defintely agree with everyone on how the government didnt do anything to help these people to survive throughout this tradegy. I was very surprise because I thought we were united at one point but after watching this video in class I realized I was totally wrong. these people were spending day and night in the streets without no homes and 2 days passed, then 5 days passed and the govenment didnt do anything.I mean come if they can help other places that arent even part of our country whynot help them. But I think race takes a big enrollment in this. Its very unfair!!!

Anonymous said...

as a citizen of the united states of america we have the right to be what we want to be. to make choices for oursleves and baisically choose what we wanna do with out lives, weather or not that is to help other people in times of need is our decison to make. i believe that the victims of huuricane katrina were mistreated. the U.S goverment moved too slow interms of helping these people, it seemed as if they didnt care really. as i wacthed the video in class i was shocked when i heard this one lady tried to call 911 for help and the repeaditly kept telling her that they could not help her. so this shows you that our goverment is not that great when it comes to big chrsists, and that as people we should try to help in any way we can cause not always will our nations goverment be there for us.
-Danny Thakurdyal

Anonymous said...

TOme being a citizen means being part of this country. Also it means to have rights and responsibilities that we have as Americans. I am a Personally responsible citizen. I am this type of citizen because i act responsibly in my community and I obey laws, recycle, and volunteer. To me the role of government is to protect the people not only physically but protect the rights of the people as well. I think that the government should help the less fortunate become more fortunate becasue then there would be no poverty in our society and everybody would live a better life. I think the governmenty has learned from their mistakes because now there is tighter security on planes and other places to prevent terrorist attacks. I dont think any choices made in Katrina were race related and i think think it was just a matter of organization in our government how things were not in order with the government. After seeing the Spike Lee documentary I think we should all help in our community and give to the less fortunate and people that have nothing due to disasters like Katrina.

- Nick C. WJPS student

Vickie said...

It is very easy to say that all people should be responsible for their own well being. It is not the government responsibiloty to make sure you have food, bottled water, and flashlights. If you could not evacuate during the hurricane warning, as we said in class, that is your responsibility for for not having the resources to have a car. it is very easy to have that mentality when it is simply a hypothetical situation, but when people's lives are in danger we cannot keep these stanrds. Sure people should help themselves, but when they can't it is the government's responsibility to help its people.
I believe the government did not come to the rescue of the people of New orleans, not because the majority of the people their are black, but beaccsue the majority of the people their are poor. New Orleans does not have a booming economy that America is relying on, the government does not rely on New Orleans, and therefore the governmnet did not belive the people of New Oreleans should have relied on them.
The government is quick to respond to an emergency only when they can get something out of their response.When they aid disasters in foreign countries, we gain the respect and favor of the world. The next time we need something from that country we have past responses as a levy to get what we want.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some of what the students have said. After watching the heart-breaking and disastrious video of what hurricane Katrina has done to the people, It is just devastating to see how the federal government didn't do anything about it. Even though some people wanted to help themselves, they couldnt because they were homeless. The video showed how the guy was asked and he just ignored the fact that there were thousands of people who are helpless and didn't know for 5 days. That was a big shock to me. The federal government needs to open their eyes and see what is going on.

-Simran Kaur

Anonymous said...

>Sarah H. a W.J.P.S. student

Being a citizen means you are born in the country or state that you come from. People who are devoted and loyal to their country or state. Follows laws and who knows their environment and surroundings well. Knows what is going on in the government and their daily lives.
The type of citizen I am is personally responsible mostly because I obey the laws and responsible for myself.
The role of the government is to protect people and their rights. To make laws so that we the people are safe and also to not be harmed.
The federal government should help all people. It doesn't matter if they live in poverty or not we are all equal as citizens of the U.S. and as people.
I think we have learned from the mistakes made by the federal government. People shouldn't always depend on the federal government to call on for help, only when they really need it. They should work together to figure out what they can do for themselves in the meantime.
In the aftermath of Katrina decisions were made based on need and a little bit upon race.

M. Harmon said...

This was a pretty shocking video to me. Honestly before I saw it, I was under the impression that the government was doing its best to help the victims of Katrina. I must of been living under a rock or something, because the government really hasnt helped that much. I feel the decisions of the government werent based on race, class, or need. I think the government didnt see it as a responsibility. However, I think if another disaster like this happens, the government will do whatever it can to help. Like Alyssa Cumberbatch said in class, if they dont do something the next time, the citizens will act on it. The government cant just sit by and watch it happen again, especially when people were informed that the government didnt do anything the first time. Personally I think the government should of helped the less fortunate people who couldnt get out by themselves. The government made the evacuation mandatory, so they should of helped. The government messed up by not helping, and hopefully the people who comprise it have learned from their mistakes.

Mr Tesler said...

To all of my students (WJPS):

Please check your spelling before you post. Thanks!

Mr. T

Melissa I. said...

To me being a citizen means you have the rights listed in the U.S. Constitution, nobody is allowed to take those rights away, and its the government/president responsibility to help protect these rights and help protect you. To be able to vote, and to be able to say that you are a part of the U.S. I think I am a participatory citizen.

I think the role of government is to protect and help their citizens in anyway possible. Especially when there citizens are in danger. Whatever they have to do in order to help their citizens should be done.

I think the federal government should provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate. People should not rely solely on the government. The government should be there to help them but in many cases there not. People need to learn to become fortunate without the governments help. However they cannot do this in an unstable, unsafe environment. If the government cannot help the less fortunate the least they could do is provide a safe atmosphere so they can try to help themselves.

I do not think we have learned from our mistakes. I do not have strong confidence in the U.S. I think something is always going to go wrong and the U.S. will never learn from their mistakes. People will keep getting hurt, lives will keep being lost. I think this because in my opinion we do not have the right people in charge. Its sorta like a therapy thing. All the problems (terrorist attacks, wars, natural disasters) have all been dealt with in the wrong way. All of the things are different topics but they all tie in to one main root, they all go back to one domino that has knocked over the rest.Its the person who made the decisions to deal with these problems in the way they did. The leaders of The U.S. The presidents, governors, congressman, any person with an ounce of power. Even Americans because they are the ones who have the power to choose these leaders. For example sure the hurricane was a natural disaster but if the immediate mandatory evacuation had been put into effect sooner not as many people would have died. It a leader who decided when to but it into effect. It was a leader who decided when there was a tip that there was going to be a terrorist attack to ignore it. The decisions of these leaders have made the problems even more disastrous than they started out as.

During dinner I was telling my dad about the movie and everything, and he asked me why I thought the government acted in the way they did. I told him what I thought and then asked him what he thought. He said he thought it was because most of New Orleans is African American and the U.S. was being racist. I think he is a little right. Race probably did play a small part in the decisions of the after math. But I don't think it was class. Need a little because some of the disabled people who could not evacuate were supposed to go to the super dome. However I mainly think it was selfishness. The Government and president were selfish. They felt if it wasn't happening here to them and they weren't being affected then they didn't have to help the people. Look at 9/11. Theres a big difference on the decisions of the aftermath. Even though 9/11 was much smaller and easier to deal with then hurricane Katrina it still happen here. People including the president and government were affected so they acted right away.

I think our responsibility is to pay attention to the news more, and to help in anyway we can. We cannot always depend on or wait for the government because they might not always come. We need to depend on ourselves in case of a disaster. Its the sad truth. The government will only help if they are being affected. Whatever will jeopardized them must be solved immediately everything else can always wait a little longer. Even if it means peoples lives being lost. If some sort of disaster occurs Americans should unite as one, and help each other as much as possible.

Overall this film opened my eyes to the shocking said reality. The lies that were told, the people that were wrongly blamed, the lives that were lost, and the overall sad reality of the government. Of the people that determine our future. The people that care more about business and themselves than thousand of lives, of a whole place that has built a legacy, that has hisorical meaning being destroyed in a day. When will America learn? when most of humans are distinct? when half of the world is left? I think it will take a true disaster to change us. Something so major that almost nothing, no one is left. After 9/11, and hurricane Katrina people unite for a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, but it never last. My question is when will it last?

Melissa Iachetta, WJPS student

Livianette said...

What does it mean to be a citizen?

What type of citizen are you?

What is the role of government?

Should the federal government help the less fortunate or provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate?

Obviously there were some mistakes made by the federal government.

Have we learned from the mistakes?

In the aftermath of Katrina were decisions made based on race? class? Or need?

Now that we have all seen the Spike Lee documentary what is our responsibility?

What should we do?

Livianette said...

To be a citizen in the United States means to have privilages that other people dont have. It means you have a responsiblity to obey the laws of the constitution & also to help out each other in this country. I believe that i'm a personal responsible citizen. I don't really particpate or try to find justice, but I look out for myself & help out others if needed. The role of the government is to protect our natural rights, but in this situation their right is to give us freedom with a balance of security. I believe that in this case, the government should help the less fortunate by providing the materials & supplies so that everyone could of evauated to a safer atmosphere. The government failed to help out those less fortunate.
Yes, the government hade huge mistakes that led the nation in frustration.But i'm not too sure if the government learned from its mistake. Though help is being provided you can never be sure that this won't occur again, because well a diaster like this dont come all the time. There would be NO proof of them actually learning anything. Thats just my opinion.I hope that the government didn't base their decisions on race, because that's another story. But i'm sure that they based their decisions on what's important: the people's need. I think after seeing the Spike Lee Documentary, our responsiblity is to just help out, and in any way we can. Such as donating supplies or money to provide the materials needed in New Orleans.

Livianette Cabrera.
WJPS Student;9th grade.
Period 4

Anonymous said...

J Dilan

I agree with Bryan when he describes what a citizen is. A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth to the protection of state or nation. I’m torn on what side I should take because you can make a very good case for both sides. On side of this is that people were told to get out of the city on New Orleans many did but also many didn’t. The other side of this is you can make a case against the government for not responding quick enough is what about the people who couldn’t physically make it out of the city. I think watching that documentary really showed us what really happened down their and the news miss led us on what really happened.

Anonymous said...

A citizen is someone who makes sure that the people of America are doing the right thing. They have to set examples for the rest to follow (especially non cutizens).The governments job is to makes sure every one gets the rights that they deserve. I am not any type of citizen because I wasn't born here. I think that the federal government should help the less fortunate because they cant do the things that they arent able too by themselves and we weren't seeing that happening when we saw the video for hurricane katrina. The government had waited until the last minute to help when they should've been doing it from the start. They could've brought the people water, clothing or even plains to get away from New Orleans. I hope people learned from their mistakes and know now that whenever there is serious danger like huricane Katrina they can help right away so this wont happen and peoples lives arent in complete danger. This way they might be able to save more people.Oyr responcibility is to do all that we can.

kristina papa 901

richarpwjps said...

Being a citizen means that you swore an oath to this nation and to have freedom and equal rights. The kind of citizen I am is a responsible citizen. I joined a group of kids in the 111th Precinct and we learn about the law and how to be a better part of the community. The role of The United States Government is to protect and serve the citizens of America. The Government really didn't do much for the people that were stuck on the highways. It took way too long for help to come. We have learned that the government is not really prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters. I think were the government's decisions was based race, although we should keep in mind that this is just the director's point of view. We should donate food and clothes for other people who are affected by a natural dissaster for the future and we have been doing that.

jasonk izkool said...

Being a citizen is not a small responsibility especially if you are a citizen of America. What it means to be a citizen is that he or she is willing to provide for their community and help the overall well being of everyone in their immediate area affected in a time of trouble.
Also, being a citizen is someone who does not break the law and lives innocent lifestyle. I believe that I am a personally responsible citizen, I am willing to get involved in things and I obey all the laws. The role of the government is to protect its citizens and to establish laws to keep America together.
Yes the government should help the less fortunate because they are the ones who really need the help especially after times like Katrina. I believe the government is responsible in aiding people who have no place to live and absolutely nothing to eat. I believe that the federal government has learned from its mistakes. If something like Katrina happens again, the government and organizations will be working extra hard to correct the situation and make sure everyone gets all the proper aid. FEMA and Churchoff took so much fire from people that I am sure they don't want to be put on blast like that again.
I believe that decisions were based on class because the people with wealth were able to escape the danger zone first whereas the poorer people had to stay behind. I don't believe it was race because there was a mixture of all kinds of people in New Orleans at the time of Katrina. Our responsibility is to help the people in need and create as much aid programs as possibl;e to benefit them because what if we were in that kind of situation, we would want tons of help for oursleves. Jason K WJPS student

Anonymous said...

To me being an American citizen means having rights and laws to follow.I'm a citizen that respects the law and am aware of my rights.The purpose of the government is to protect its citizens however , as of last year when the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina they failed to do that.At first they weren't sure the hurricane was going to be a threat.A week after they truly knew how harmful it was but still didnt warn the citizens of Louisianna to evacuate.While thousands of people were dying the government (F.E.M.A.) responded to late risking the citizens lives an rescuing the remaining survivors.Although the government didn't protect the citizens the people tried their best to protect and support each other.

Billy Poulos
Wjps 902 Mr.teslers class

Anonymous said...

Anastasia P - WJPS student

To be a citizen, means that you have certain rights and privileges that other people in the world don't have. It means that you were born into that country and you are loyal to it. You have the responsibility to follow the rules and laws provided to you, in order to keep the nation and country a srtong and safe place to live in. You also have many individual choices too and have the freedom to do what you want in your life to make it good. I think that I am a personally responsible citizen. This means that I obey the laws of the community and I am not disrespectful towards anyone. However, I do think I participate, because I want to help out my community in any way. I believe that the role of the government is to protect the citizens of their nation in any way, because they are actually a little responsible over them. They should be able to stop what they are doing, to help a citizen in need, but yet we see that the government is not always there for us, and the citizens, should not only rely on the government, but also themselves. In this situation, I believe that the federal government should help the less fortunate, in order to give them a safe environment to become fortunate. However, the citizens can not be able to learn to be fortunate, if their environment is unstable or useless. They need to rely on themsleves, because the government is usually not going to be there for you, which is dissapointing. With the government having so much money, it is a shame that they will not even be willing to want to help people in poverty that have nothing, and can not be able to even hellp themselves. While watching the video in class, I was disgusted as to see people out with no homes, for half a year. I don't understand at all why the government didn't help. I think that the government never did learn from the mistakes they did, and I don't see them trying to make it any better. I think that the people in charge are the ones to be blamed, because they are handling all of these situations in the wrong way, and it is just making things worse. Even the citizens are taken account of, because they are the ones who choose who they want to lead the United Staes, and sometimes they are wrong with their choices. We will probably be in war for a very long time, and more people are going to get killed, even people as young as 18, who want to see their family but they can't. It is disgraceful. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I think that it was based on thier race and class, because they were in poverty. I think that the president didn't do anything with the situation, and he could have done so much more.In a situation like this, everyone should be there for each other, even if it din't happen to you,because as citizens, we should be able to help our community stay strong.

misz ariana said...

to me being a citizen of the united states of america means to have the rights that others may not.iam a an american citizen.
the role of the government is to protect peoples rights and set laws so every one can be safe and make sure that people are getting what they deserv. i do thing that the federal government should help the less fortunate and provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate but in some cases they dont and then you think about it isn't what our system of government is all about.

Anonymous said...


Being a citizen means being part of a nation. By being part of a citizen you are required to follow and obey the laws to which you belong to. When you are a citizen you must follow the laws of the consititution. The advantage to being a citizen is that you are entitled to your own natural rights. In my opinion i think i am a personally responsible citizen. The role of the Government is to make sure all of its citizen are protected and secure in their homes. Their role is to make sure everyone is safe and has clothes on their back and food on the table and shelter. In my opinion i think that the governement should help the less fortunate and provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate. I feel we as a nation have learned a lot from this tragic hurricane. I strongly believe that decisons made on hurrican Katrina werent based on race, class or need. Our responsibility now is to make sure these mistakes dont happen again, to make sure everyone is protected and safe.

Anonymous said...

Being a citizen means being part of a commuinty and doing your share. I am the kind of citizen that will donate things and tyr to help other people as much as I can. I think that the role of governemnt is to protect the people. The government should help the less fortunate to make our nation better. Im not sure if we have learned from our mistakes although i would like to think we have. As for the aftermath of hurricane Katrina Im not sure how decisions were made. After watching the video in class it seemed as if the gonvernment was just walking around with their heads in the clouds, just ignoring everything. I think that our responsibility is to do what we can and help out in the community.

~sarah bianchi

Anonymous said...

To be a citizen means that you are part of society. You are expected to participate in situations like voting for president and doing things to help the nation. I think that I am a personably responsible citizen because I would put myself and my family first to protect them and I would not worry about other people. The role of the government is to protect our rights as a citizen. I believe that the government should definetly help the less fortunate maybe by giving them more protection if another natural disaster occurs. I think as citizens we have definetly learned from this mistake. I think many peole will be more prepared for these situations and I think they have found more ways to protect themselves and their families. I do not think the government made the decisions were made on race but they made the decision to protect the people who needed help the most, like the sick and disabled. I think our resbonsibility is to help out others in need.

Christina Wylie
WJPS Student

Anonymous said...

i agree with khizer, citizens should have helped out more and gave more effort into helping these people, by donating useful items. also the terrible disaster of hurricane katrina wouldn't of been so bad if the government helped out more to save these helpless people. after the vidoes i've watched it really helped me understand what was really going on and what these people had to go through. it was a tough time for them and i couldn't even imagine what i would have done if i were int hat situation

- jessica morales a wjps student

Anonymous said...


i think that beinq a citizen if this country , we shouldnt have to be asked to help out . If we se other citizens in need of help we should automaticly spring into action because we want to . after watching the video in class i was shocked to see all the people in the superdome and all the people that were suffering in our country . Its not real until you see it happening close to home .
the goverment should of reacted sooner that was the main reason so many people died , although the people were warned and they should of evacuated some people couldnt afford to leave their homes . I dont beleive the decisions were based on race . the mix of different people in Louisiana made no difference . I think i can only determine if we learned from this or not if another natural disaster strikes and see hoe the goverment reacts .

mariela.o said...

Mariela Ortiz (WJPS Student)
I think that the government wasn't prepared for a disaster like Katrina, therefore the government made a lot of mistakes before, during, and after it occured. According to the film the government wasn't trying to help at all. It was not until a couple of weeks had gone by that the Federal Government offered it's help to the victims. They took time "deciding" what to do, meanwhile the victims were helpless filling the streets because they were waiting for help. The aftermath of Katrina, according to the film was based on race.

Anonymous said...

1)I think the meaning of being a citizen is getting privliges.
2)I am a personally responsible citizen
3)The role of the government is to protect and do right by the people.
4)I think that the government should help the less fortunate but i think that they failed at doing that.
5)I think that the government made a mistake and i hope they learned there mistake so just incase there is a terrible disaster like Katrina they dont make the same mistakes again.
6)I hope that the decisions werent based on race or class but by need.So that they could help the people that were dying like that mother who passed away on her children were saying that she needed oxygen she ran out of oxygen.
7 and 8)I think that we should do whatever we can to contribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina by giving them food, money or whatever we can give.
Eirene Skocos
9th grade WJPS

Shazia R. said...

To be a citizen means to live in your official home or your legal house. I am the personally responsible citizen. I help myself and those who I know and care about. The role of the government is to provide the needs for the people of the country. The government is entitled to protect the country from outside invasions, make the right decisions for the country and to manage the country. The government should provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate. I strongly believe this because if the government was to provide a safe environment for the public then there would be no less fortunate. Of curse there were a lot of mistakes the government made that we could never forget. I do think that I learned from my mistake and as much as I would like to think that the government has learned from their mistakes, I think that they haven’t. This is my opinion because the government didn’t really do anything to help after the disaster. They took quite a while to respond to this very important issue. Once the aftermath of Katrina took place and the federal government had issued out the National Guard, they seemed as if they didn’t really care or they were too lazy to do a proper job of helping those in need. In the aftermath of Katrina, decisions were based on race, and class. Decisions were based on race because I notice that the government doesn’t really pays attention to the African Americans, I feel that they actually don’t care about them. Decisions were also based on race because the government really comes down to money and the way it was before Katrina was all too good and the money that the government provided for the state was probably used for health care issues. To me, I now think of the saying, “money does talk”. My response to Spike Lee’s film was speechless. I never knew how cruel the world could be because the government couldn’t do their job as efficiently as their supposed to. Our responsibility as a citizen is to not take things for granted. Our responsibility as a citizen is to also help make our living environment healthy and happy.

WJPS student
Shazia R.
period 7

John said...

To be a citizen means to be a part of the country. You abide by the laws. I think that I am a personally responsible citizen because I would put myself and my family first to protect them and I would not worry about other people as much, but i do care for other. The role of the government is to protect and serve the people. I think the government should provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate. I do not know if we have learned from our mistakes in Katrina, but i do hope so. I do not think the government made the decisions were made on race but they made the decision to protect the people who needed help the most, like the sick and disabled. I think our responsibility is to learn from our mistakes and make sure that if a disaster like this happens again, we are prepared.
-John O. WJPS student

rabaya r. said...

1)To be a citizen of the United States of America means having freedom and being entitled to certain laws of the government.
2)The role of the government is to protect its people and their natural rights.
3)I think the government shouldn't limit anything. They should help the less fortunate and provide a safe atmosphere. Does it really have to be one or the other. the government should just to both, maybe even more than that.
4)Well, yes i think we have learned our mistakes. Obviously there were many mistakes involved before and after Hurricane Katrina since many people didn't survive. many people have died. I think we learned from the tragic loss.
5)I'm not even really sure what decisions were really being based upon.
6)Now that we have seen the documentary I think its our responsibility to make sure next time we have a disaster everything should be all set up safely before or after it occurs. i mean no one should really have to suffer so much. We should have the government back them up immediately without limitations.

-rabaya rahman

Anonymous said...

It means to be a citizen is to help our country in things that need to be helped. The role of government is to help poor people, give them food and shelter if they are realy in need. The government is supposed to garentee our protection. I think the federal government should provide a safe atmoshpere to allow people to become fortunate.

I don't realy think we learned from out mistakes..The decisions made on the aftermath of Katrina was based on race and class, it couldnt have been on need, because all they needed was, water, ice and food. When other places needed somthing, they gave it to them in a heart beat with no heasatation.

-Katheryn Angeles student At WJPS .

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Mariela because yes the government was prepared. They all knew a hurricane was coming and they did warn the people about it but thats all they did. They did not help evacuate people or get into safe shelters. They just sat back and relaxed about because they knew they were safe. In my opinion thats all they really cared about...themselves.

-rabaya rahman
class 902

Anonymous said...

Daniel P WJPS Student

1)To be a citizen means to be a part of a group in which everyone collaborates with each other and helps others when they are in need.
2)I am the personally responsible citizen, I tend to help myself but also provide support for others I care about.
3)The role of goverment is to protect the rights of the citizens and to make sure that in any catastrophe all the citizens are taken care of.
4)I agree with Leah Maddaloni, you can't provide a safe atmosphere to become fortunate beacuse other people would want that same protection and it woudn't be fair to others who have better luck and the goverment doesn't provide them with that protection because they are fortunaate.
5)I think we have learned from the mistakes but we haven't actually proved it because there hasn't been a disaster with much force as Katrina, but I'm sure that the goverment is better prepared for a disater like that.
6)I don't think it was based on anything, it was tough to get in to New Orleans and I think the goverment tried to provide but didn't try hard enough.
7)Our responsibilty is to become a community in which we all help out and support others in case of a disaster.
8)We should make sure that in a situation like Katrina or any other disaster we are prepared and no one is not.

Anonymous said...

Eric v
After watching the movie i didn't knoe what to say. Everything just was wrong. The government really wasent suppose to be runed that way. It was like they left the people of new orleans to die. So many people just dieing wait for help but no help on the way. I really think that it could have been a situation acoording to race. In the next diaster hopefully the government can put it together and help the citizens of the united states..

Anonymous said...

From wacthing the videos in class that Mr.Tesler showed us i was so surprised on how the government took so long to take action and the people whp were in need people who were stuck in attic's and people in the notre dame soon rain out of water and food and the plumbing system got all backed up people were disgusting and didnt take showers in days.
I think that the federal government should help the people in need and who have no money and are poor.
I think nop that weve learned for the mistake and if this happens again people and the government will be mopre prepared
Desirae La Furno -Mr tesler class

Anonymous said...

I say to be a citizen of the united states of America means that you have rights in this state. I am the type of citizen that would like for this state to be more peaceful and that we can just all be friends and not enemys. I say the goverment really didnt do much for these people because a lot of them were on the roofs of houses just waiting to be picked up by a helicopter and give them food and water. I htink the goverment learned by his mistakes because people were getting sick not having anything to eat or drink. I think the after math of Katrina was base on need of people who needed food, drinks, beds and ect. Our responsibility is to make this world a better place.

Christopher Caraballo Period 7

Anonymous said...

To me I think that being a citizen means to follow the laws of U.S and to help your community. I am a citizen that follows laws of the U.S and help my community as much as I can which includes helping my school and neighborhood. I think the role of the government is to protect ALL American citizens. I think the government should help provide a safe atmosphere to allow everyone to become fortunate because everyone needs a help to become fortune in their own way and the government needs to help everyone and not just the less fortunate. I think we have learned to have a better thought out plan when natural disaster hit the U.S, that includes faster help to the people in need during a natural disaster. In the aftermath of Katrina I don’t I think there were decisions made based on race, class, or need. After watching the Spike Lee documentary our responsibility is to be aware of natural disaster and I think we should help people who are affected by natural disasters and to also help the government step up their game in helping people who are in need of help.

Monica T.- WJPS Student

Anonymous said...

what it means is that the goverment should protect us at all times.the role of the goverment is to protect the american citizen.the government should help provide a safe atmospher to allow people to become fortuante becouse then people with no money can make the right descions and then can become fortuante.i dont no if we have learned from the mistakes that happened.i think it was class becouse most of the ppeople there were not welthey

omar a

Anonymous said...

After watching the video I realize how some people help other people to a safer place during the Hurricane.I think that a citizen means to be help our country become better place like telling our opinions and helping our nature.
To be a citizen we can't always be selfish but we can't also always be generous to everyone.For me I think that i should only take care of people that i love, now if you cant do more than you should do it instend letting other die and suffer. Which mean that I would be the one that would join a gruop of people together so we can help.The role of the government to me is that they should protect our rights and us from any harm.They should also here our opinion and make some laws that benefits us. BUT the governments job isn't to do everything fro us because some people are lazy and take benefit of the government but i think We should also do something fro our self. It's a 50/50 effort we put and they put.BUT if you can't do something for some reason than the goverment should tr and help that less fortunate. We all know that after watching the video the government made many mistakes and they should learn that next time they could do more. I learned that next time if i would put in that situation I would evacuate and i would help the people couldn't evacuate because I would feel responsible. I think that many people died base on race and thats why they didn't get much help, they were mistreated.
Daniela Varcasia

Anonymous said...

To me being a citizen means different things. Being a citizen means to follow all the rules for the better of your community. And to help help others around you and to be loyal to your nation. As for the government they are there to protect us and when someone is in need they are there to help us. Yes the government should help the less fortunate or provide a safe atmosphere, the United states is known as the best nation where everyone wants to be and where anyone can be free and protected. In order for his to happen the big people have to help out the little people.
Yes there were some mistakes made by the government. But i think that we have learned our lesson.As we watched the movie in class i think its unfair that decisions were made based on class.
Now that we saw the documentary i think that now its our job to do the right thing of helping out others who need help.

Bridgette Valenzuela

Chelsea R. 901 WJPS said...

To me, to be a citizen means to have been living in this country and abiding by the rules, as well as respecting the people aroud you too.
After watchig the ideo, I was surprised that the government did hardly nothing in the beginning to help out the victims of Katrina. I beleive that their job is to make sure that everyone, their people, are safe.
I think that the government should help the less fortunate to some extent.
The mistakes made by the government were hard to beleive. They should have had everything ready as soon as possible when they knew whatwas going to happen. After watching this video, I can say that a responsibility of myself is to be a good citizen to the government. Maybe to listen, a respond to what they say.

Anonymous said...

I think to be a citizen means you have to be loyal and the government has to protect you.I believe I am a good citizen.I think the role of the government is to protect you.I believe the federal government should try to help the less fortunate.I think we have learned from the mistakes.I dont think any of those mattered eventhough it seemed liek they did.I think our respondsiblity is to help when other Americans are in need.Maybe even if we do something small it is still helping and I think that is very important for us to do.
-Chrissy Thomatos
WJPS 9th Grade Student
Period Four

AMANDAA_P.901 said...

I think that being a citizen in this country means you are someone who respects and loves the country you are in. It means that you follow the laws and respect the goverment.

After watchig the video, I could not believe in the lack of help the goverment gave the people who were effected in Hurricane Katrina. I think that people who decided to stay should have still been given help. There are always hurricanes in Louisanna and they did not now how BIG it really was. The weather forecast has been wrong many times before. Also, a lot of the poor people living there had no way to leave. The goverment's main responsibility is to PROTECT the people and there rights. They were deffinetly not protecting the people of Louisanna.

I think that the government should help the less fortunate to some extent.

The mistakes made by the government were hard to beleive. They should have had been a lot more organized if they knew what was going to happen. After watching this video, I can say that a responsibility of myself is to take what the goverement says more intensly.

Amanda P. 901 WJPS

Anonymous said...

To me being a citizen of the united states is being part of it and having all the rights we are suppo0se to have put it is also to help out people in our country in any way that we can because if we put ourselves in the place of the people that need the help then we would want people to help us. I think that i am participatory citizen because i would like to help out my country in any way that i can. The role of the government is to keep their citizens safe no matter the issue/problem. I think that the government should have responded to the people quicker in order to save more lives. It surprised me when a woman tried to call 911 but they told them that no one could be sent. I think people did learn from this because I think that the citizens learned that if it is a mandatory evacuation them they should leave, and the government should be quicker to help the people if they are unable to leave. I think that the desions was based on class because most of the people that the money to leave did and the people who didnt have the funds to leave. I think that after watching this movie we should help out people going through any type of big crisis.

Maria Q.
A WJPS student

Anonymous said...

The definiton of a citizen to me is, someone apart of a community with a strong government. Someone who abides by the rules of their government.

The type of Citizen I feel I am is a Participatory and a Personally responsible citizen. I feel I am an Particapatory citizen because i voulenteer at many place and I also organuze community events and charitable events.

The role of the government is to protect the rights of the citizens. Also to help the citizens when they are in need.

Should the federal government help the less fortunate or provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate? The govenment should help the less fortunate as well as provide a safe atmosphere to allow people to become fortunate. I feel this way because fortune isnt evrything safety is. However, if people cant afford the things they need to maintain a healthy life, its the governtments job to help them.

Obviously there were some mistakes made by the federal government.

Have we learned from the mistakes?
I think the governments reaction to most catastrophes arent done accidentally. I think the government reacts to certain problems depending on whos involved (specifically age and race), importance of the problem, and location. I dont think the government realizes that their reactions are mistakes.

In the aftermath of Katrina were decisions made based on race? class? Or need?

In the aftermath of Katrina decions were based on race. I feel they were based on race because of the number of African Americans who were suffering and wasnt getting the help theyre supposed yo get. The government kept sayin they react when the incident happened because they werent giving instructions to do so. well I dont understand how someone can get arrested because they LOOK suspicious but, the government cant help people when they LOOK like their life is in danger. I strongly believe it was based on race.

Now that we have all seen the Spike Lee documentary what is our responsibility?
Our resposibilty is to help our community. So that nobodys life gets taken away from them. Also to make sure that we get on the government for the not so intelligent things they do.

Something we as citizens really need to do isspeak up and

-Nadya S

Amneet said...

After watching that documentary on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina I was completely shocked! I was shocked because I did not understand how our country has the time and money to save people in Iraq and don't have that same time and money to save people in the U.S. That really disgusted me how U.S citizens were dieing and the government after hurricane Katrina did not come down to New Orleans and save there citizens. I think the cause of this was race because the government did not want to help any African American that can be the answer for the late arrival of food and supplies.

Amneet said...

I think it is horrible how the U.S government has the time and money to save people in Iraq and, don't have that same time and money to save people that our suffering from the affects of hurricane Katrina. This shows that the U.S government does not even care about its citizens but, cares only about the country's rep. Even if the government couldn't save all the people of New Orleans they should have made an effort to save the needy or the elderly. This really shows what kind of country we really are. Other countries might think great of us but not us. Hopefully the government learned a big lesson from this disaster. From my point of view I really don't think they learned anything. I also think the help never came on time because of racial issues.

Bridgette C said...

Citizenship is, in my opinion, the status of living in a country and being legally required to abide by its rules. With this legal responsibility come priveliges, such as the rights of citizens outlined in the Constitution. Though it is not absolutely necessary for citizens to assist each other in times of need, it is something that benefits each and every member of a given community at some point in time.

Before Hurricane Katrina, it was the role of the government to warn the people of the severity of the upcoming storm that threatened to destroy New Orleans. Issuing a mandatory evacuation was a precautionary measure that the government, though slightly hesitant, decided to take. The preparations for the storm were made, though of course none could anticipate just how much damage Katrina was caused. When it struck, the amount of land left underwater was staggering.

One of the major points of this disaster that made it so devastating was the failure to respond quickly enough. As I watched the documentary, an image was shown of the Canadian Armed Forces moving into New Orleans. This really struck me and opened my eyes to how neglected the disaster relief efforts had been. It was touching to see so many extend helping hands to the citizens of New Orleans, but it was painfully dissapointing to see that the National Government had played such a small role up to that point.

I dont think that race played a part in this, but rather the extent of unpreparedness. It is unquestionable that millions underestimated the happenings in the aftermath of Katrina, admittedly myself included. Truly its difficult to understand the situation at all without visual assistance. The government's mistakes cost an incomprehensible amount of lives, as not even they can deny.

Though I think the government would like to believe they are prepared for another such disaster, No one can really know that for a fact. They believed that they were prepared before and were proved painstakingly wrong in that instance. After Katrina, thanks to the help of many considerate citizens, hundreds of lives were spared. Donations and volunteer work helped to relieve those in need, though not at a desired rate. Still, it is community efforts such as these that citizens may participate in to better an unfortunate situation.

Anonymous said...

- to be a citizen is to try to do the best you can with your life and not harm or cause any danger to any other citizens, or maybe even help them. i am the type of citizen that trys to do the best for myself, and help other if i can. if i can help someone less fortunate i will, but if i can't then i wont. the government is sappose to protect our rights and make sure there is no danger or harm caused on us. yes the government should provide a safe atmosphere for the less fortunate.
yes we have deffinatley learend from the governments mistakes. i think decisions were made from need. the government tried to help the ones that need it the most befroe helping the ones that can hold on for a while. our responsibility is to help ourselves, without harming anyone. we SHOULD help others, but most wont.

josh30 said...

What it means to be a citizen is to abide by the law and do the best you can to help your country, in my opinion. But, in other words for myself. I am trying to help out by getting in the Red Cross. I would say that is a volunteering citizen.
The government is supposed to help the people and make sure they are safe. They also deal with other country affairs that may affect the people.
I think they should help the less fortunate because that's what they're for. People need the assistance for their life. That is why the government is also run by the people.
I would say that they did not really learn from the mistakes. Because it takes while for them to no what's going on in their own country. In the Spike Lee documentary that is what I noticed.
I could not really tell but, I say that it had to do with class. The reason I say this is because the people were complaning about the timing of the FEMA company. I say class because most people go where the money is.
The responsibility we have now is to help the people point blank. Nothing extra there dont make someone pay because of money issues just help them.

Joshua Howard

Anonymous said...

To be a citizen means a part of your Country, and to obey by the rules and to help people and your Country when they need all the help they could get. After watching the video "Teaching the Levees", in class I was so suprised that the Government did hardly anything to help the people who were dying, better yet- the people who were suffering of no food and shelter. The people of New Orleans had no homes or food for months. I feel that not enough people are involved in the news and what is going on with the World. If more kids, teens, and expecially adults were more involved with what is happening with the world toay, more people would be safe because of the help from being a good citizen.


Courtney Wilson said...

The gov't responsibility is to aid the citizens in their time of need. When disaster situations came up, they have made crucial mistakes in which death was the result of their errors. They should be able to provide for everyone no matter what creed, race, gender or religion they are. The documentary reitterated what this country has been doing for many years; move on without providing for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Katelyn D - wjps student

To be a citizen means to be able to help eachother and our country become a better place to be. i think that this means to be a big part in what goes on in our country. Like voting,speaking up and saying our opinions, & helping economy or the earth. i think that that i am a very respectful responsible citizen.
The role of the government to me is to protect our rights, and keeps us safe and out of harms way. i think that they should make sure that things are done when people need help. and that everyone is obeying the lawsand everything is organized.
i think the goverment should help the less fortunate but they should also provide atmosphere so they can become fortunate.
I think that the federal gov't has made mistakes and are still making the same ones so obvisously i think that the federal gov't hasn't learned from their mistakes.
In the aftermath of katrina i dont think desions were based completely on race or class. the gov't left them stranded there for 5 days because other things seemed "more important" when there were people dieing satrving and peole with nowhere to go. desions were based on need everyone needed something so i think they did and gave the best they could for the people who needed it.
I think our responsiblity is to make sure something like this doesnt happen again prepare and come together as a nation to help.

Anonymous said...

kala mancini wjps student

After watching spike lee's documentary i saw that the federal government didn't do anything to help thoese that needed it.Even though they told everyone to leave but they also needed to think about alot of people that couldn't. I don't think that the government learned from their mistakes,People are still in need over their in new orleans

Anonymous said...

a citizen to me means that you have eqaul rights in the united states.i think being a citizeen also meens to choose well what kind of job we want our education && the way we live.the role of the goverment is to keep every citizen safe when somthing happens such as huricanes && tonadoes etc. but when hurricane katrina occured the goverment did help but, they didnt do it well enough to save lives.i dont think they were treated very well.i think that the after math was that citizens should be treated well && with respect .

mOllie killen :] 902

Anonymous said...

citizen - To live with a group of people in a community that follows laws that are enforced and rules that are regulated. Contributions and efforts are made by the citizen.

- average citizen that follows rules and tries to help out now and then..

- the government would be nothing without its citizens, so therefore the governments responsibility is to help wherever help is possible. enforcing laws and making sure everyones rights are protected..and not letting personal political issues get in the way of citizens.

- yes they should.

- the government will only have learned if it acknowledged it was late in response...and basically wrong.i think the only thing they have learned is the number of people that died.

- i think it was based on race and class. it didnt matter if they wanted or needed them minorities have always struggled, why worry now.

- fund raisers, spread awareness...whatever we are capable of doing - we have realized that the gov't wont solve all your problems so do what you can

Anonymous said...

I was not suprised by how the goverment reacted to this disaster. I find it funny that we jump at the chance to help any third world country but there is hesitation to help our own people. Its disgusting and wrong. I myself do not have any faith in my country especially after katrina. I also believe that if this were to happen in a more diverse state such as New York or California the goverment would have made a better effort in aiding those in need. Does anyone agree that if it was in a more diverse state there would have been faster aid?

matthew Morrison

Deb said...

Hello everyone! Though they’re all grown up now, my sons’ friends still call me Mrs. C. and I live in South Florida (hate to rub it in, but as I write this, the temperature outside is a toasty 72 degrees and the sun’s not even up yet!. A comment on my blog from your teacher led me here and before I go any further, I just want to say how very proud I am of all of you! Your comments here merely confirm what I’ve believed all along – young people do get the fact that we are all our "brother’s keeper!”

Your teacher has truly done an excellent job of engaging you guys in some living American History! As Margaret Mead said, “For the very first time the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders.” Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke” bears that out. Like you, I watched the documentary, but it was back on the first anniversary of the storm in 2006. I’d like to take up some space here if I may, and share a newspaper column I wrote about two months after seeing it:
"A Year After Katrina, Entire Gulf Coast Neighborhoods Are Still Uninhabited."

Watching the HBO documentary, “When the Levees Broke," I was taken aback by the enormity of emotions that had obviously lain dormant as I’d gone about my everyday life from August 29, 2005 to August 29, 2006. Glued to the tube for the entire four hours and fifteen minutes, the sheer genius that is Spike Lee allowed the story to tell itself. If his aim was to elicit support by infuriating the masses, shaming them to care or inspiring them to act, he achieved it - with me.

I just could not wrap my brain around the fact that almost a year later it seemed nothing at all had been done in this major U.S. city. I was certainly infuriated as so many people, most of whom looked like me, were left hanging by a system of government more concerned with bureaucracy than responsibility. I was equally ashamed at how anesthetized the souls of many of us had become, our compassion measured by how much we could or could not relate. All I could think was, “There but for the grace....”

On the way to rage, though, something wonderfully inspiring happened. I realized how proud I was of the resilience of a people ignored by those elected and selected to serve them. I was humbled by the resolute spirit with which they could still see a future in the midst of such devastation. And as they expressed their disappointment and utter disbelief - uncensored - I felt an odd sense of joy at the no-holds-barred freedom losing everything had given them. It triggered that familiar “quiet riot” feeling I get deep in the pit of my stomach when something patently wrong needs to be in some way addressed. And in that moment, I decided it was time for me to go and see for myself.

I volunteered to gut houses with Habitat for Humanity who’d taken over an abandoned school for their operation. Situated in the very devastated St. Bernard Parish in Violet, LA, the aptly named, Camp Hope offered basic living necessities fashioned from whatever had been donated and constructed by the ingenuity of its inhabitants. Communal living at its best! I went to bed early, nervously anticipating the 6 a.m. call to action, worrying whether these 50 year-old bones could stand up to the task.

There was no way I could have been prepared for what I saw though we’d gotten the “Katrina A Year Later” orientation the evening before. I was at once overwhelmed and invigorated as we rolled up to our first house in a somewhat affluent neighborhood. The two-story home had at least 10 rooms, three full baths, two kitchens and a pool in the backyard facing a canal. Out of all those rooms, the amount of salvageable items could fit on the hearth of the fireplace. The debris pile rose to the height of the first story and wrapped around the corner. Completely gutting someone’s home seemed to me like a surgery that ended in death. You save what is vital hoping it can be used again and send the remains for burial - only in a landfill instead of a cemetery plot.

If the house had not yet been touched, flood-soaked furniture and personal items were the first order of business. After countless wheelbarrow trips to the pile, layers of mud were shoveled out so we could get to the carpeting that lay underneath. I’m here to tell you, there’s nothing like the smell or feel of what we fondly referred to as “Carpet Juice” all over your clothes as you threw it on the pile.

Swollen drywall crumbled to the touch as we tried to remove it in sheets from the studs. Refrigerators had to be sealed shut with duct tape before moving so the putrid stench of rotten food mixed with flood waters didn’t seep through your mask causing the inevitable dry-heaves or worse, the real thing. We were on constant look-out for snakes, rats and those Brown Recluse spiders for which the rubble had provided a year’s worth of safe haven.

Like most of you, I’ve seen the aftermath of hurricanes. Hurricane Hugo rocked my home of Charleston, SC with four feet of water inside my mother’s dining room. And that was after climbing six steps up to the porch! Hurricane Andrew decimated Homestead rendering the home on the base where I’d raised my sons during their early years unrecognizable. And yes, I’ve seen the waterlines, the FEMA trailers and the work some of my friends had begun after the wrath of Hurricane Wilma. But in none of these catastrophes did I see neighborhood after neighborhood so eerily and entirely empty, a whole year later.

My initial motivation for writing this column was an attempt to solicit volunteers. I thought, “Who better to ask than those who had some idea of what it was like?” But after talking about it with a few people, I knew it was more important to share what impacted me most and let the chips fall where they may.

I’ve posted photographs of my experience at They tell a far more powerful story than I ever could. Hopefully, they will bring the magnitude of this loss back into focus and help keep the citizens of this forgotten city in your thoughts and prayers.
Almost all the people with whom I volunteered those two weeks in September were from AmeriCorps -young people just like you. And when I went back in October on a rebuilding project, the same was true (Props to the men of the NYC Fire Department though, they were everywhere!). Your English teacher (?) is 100 percent correct - you guys CAN be the change you want to see in the world. It really is all up to you. I’m going to keep checking back to see what you decide.

Brown said...

Deb said...

Guess I should've just put the link to my NOLA site here and saved some space! Since the paper'd already archived the piece, I did reprint it there. Just wanted to keep them here, in the moment, showing them how it affected me at the time. Didn't know United Peace still had that journal entry up - another great volunteer site!

Like I said back at the blog, the experience forever changed me and my responsibility as a citizen, as a human being, is to help in any way I can because New Orleans still needs it.

A faller said...

As an American citizen we have some what of a responsibility to step in and help when others are in need. Some may think this is not true, because no one forces us to do anything that we don't have to. But when our government fails to react to the events of a natural disaster, such as hurricane Katrina, the people of America should do something. We should take charge and show that we have a mind of our own, and we are not just so corrupted by what the government, media, and other types or sources say to us. To tie this in with our english class, i do believe that many Americans were bystanders or witnesses during this events. Maybe it was because New Orleans is a poor area, which we do not believe we can benefit from, or maybe it was because it didn't effect a lot of us. When the events of September 11th happened, our country (not just New York) stood together and fought to regain control on terrorism, which before that did not effect us. But just because this was a natural disaster, and not an event of terrorism, does that make it right for us as Americans to stand by and just watch as a small portion of our country falls apart?

Anonymous said...

After watching this video i was shocked at how not only the government but the people as well did not do anything what so ever to help the people during hurricane katrina i feel that was unfair because if they tend to help others all over the world why they couldnt help thoses who was suffering at that time when that occurred. I think as a citizen wat should be done is givign them things they need and just being there for them showing that we care i know it hard because so much is happening but everyone needs attention treat everyon fairly because if not people would look at t like you can help thoses but not us who needs as well. Katrina was a big affect on people they was losing love one family n friends. i feel they should help the ones that have less things and cant survive or help them self worrie about the ones that doesnt have as much as others do like the poor not the rich.

kristal atchison

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of everyones feelings concerning New Orleans. I'm still in shock now being 3 years after the fact of the hurricane and there still being the same amount of damage and distruction to all the parts of Louisianna as in 2005. I feel if the government sent a ticket to everyone moved from the area affected by the hurricane, calling all of there people back to there homes things would pick up and get baq on track in New orleans. I was discusted by how the homes of citizens of N.O. wasn't thuroughly searched by the FEMA hired teams, leaving devistating images of bodies of people that stayed behind. I feel if UNITED STATES really cared it would of been handled way differently.


Deb said...

Hey everybody, Mrs. C. here – again. Great expressions of your personal views here! I’m telling you, this is where change really begins! Honest, open dialogue about differences, similarities and solutions is what will make this country one of which we can be proud. I’ve read your comments and I’d like to add my thoughts and some additional information for you guys to ponder as you consider the questions in this post.

Part I:
Since it IS Black History Month, let me just throw this fact out there - by 1850, New Orleans was the South's largest slave-trading center in the country. Back then, Black slaves were examined, priced, bought and sold at public auction rather than through private transactions (much like the examination of property and auctions you see today offered by salvage auto dealers, the Antiques Roadshow even Christie’s!) at 25 major slave depots within a half mile of the St. Charles Hotel in the city of New Orleans. These depots were in, or at, hotels, outdoor markets even Masonic Temples (as an aside, if you ever visit my home city of Charleston, SC, the Old Slave Mart is one of the major stops along the historic tour route).

I say all this to explain the large Black majority of NOLA residents ignored immediately after the levees broke and displaced as a result. You’ll see me using Black instead of African-American because I’ve not much interest in being politically correct on this issue at 52 years-old. I am an American who is Black. And though I am clearly of African descent, I was born and raised here in America. Black is not just a color to me as decided by the English/Journalism powers-that-be, it has informed who I am as an American. I will always capitalize it, though journalistically it is not correct – remember that for your English class!

According to the 2002 pre-Katrina census figures: “For people reporting one race, 28 percent were White alone; 68 percent were Black or African American; less than 0.5 percent were American Indian and Alaska Native; 3 percent were Asian; less than 0.5 percent were Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and 2 percent were Some other race. One percent reported Two or more races. Three percent of the people in New Orleans city were Hispanic. Twenty-six percent of the people in New Orleans city were White non-Hispanic. People of Hispanic origin may be of any race.”

Post Katrina, the Black population of New Orleans is below 50%, Whites are just above 40%, the Asian community stayed in New Orleans and the surrounding area and the Hispanic (I say Latino, am I wrong?) population has surged to an all time high mainly because, as an ex-fire chief told me, employers want to pay the least amount they can for labor - an immigration issue that is being hotly debated in this country. (He'd taken some of us in his truck to tour some particularly ravaged areas of St. Bernard Parish. As we came upon some road repair work being done, he irritatingly pointed to some Latinos laying asphalt in the heat, referring to them as "Spickaninnies" - a combination of two racist terms for Latinos and Blacks. Instinctively, I spun my head to the left toward him while my white friends in the back seat froze, waiting for my response. I just shook my head. When he let us out back at the camp, my NYC fireman friend said, "I couldn't believe he said that!" I said, "I could, I'm from the South.").

I believe the lack of immediate government response then and the slow-to-materialize government aid now, especially to those of the Lower 9th Ward, was and is race-based. One could say it was/is class-based, but even if we ONLY look at the pre-Katrina figures, who would you think the majority of the poor would be? And if you think back to the Gretna stand-off, whose faces made up the majority of those being turned away at gunpoint? Here's an interesting link to consider while you mull over that question:

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the previous posts but as courtney said, as a country we continue to move forward witout making change. Regardless of the religion race or orientation we should treat every American equally and treat them with respect. In the spike lee documentary New orleans natives about a week into the disaster where being referred to as refugees and what not. Lets not call people who are citizens of the same country as we are out of character. I also think that it is now our job to ensure that something like this dosent happen again by taking extra safety percausions, and in the even if it does we should al be ready and able to lend a helping hand.

-J Blount

Anonymous said...

as a U.S citizen i believe that i have the power to help create a place for people not as fortunate as i to be brought into the world in such a great country and such a great place. It is a shame yes that the government didnt stepup the role of the gov't at that time shouldve had the katrina victims in top priority to save and bring them to safety. I disagree with tobin in stating that they will learn from their mistakes, they will do no such thing. the government will continue to do as fits best for their own benefit and find an excuse as to why they didnt take action. like this hasnt happened before.

Alex P

Anonymous said...


I believe you all are full of fucking shit. First off, allow me to introduce myself as Anonymous. Providing that quite a handful of teachers, students and/or other high authority school officials in the building are probably going to get pissed off after reading this, I've chosen to keep my alias private. Now, allow me to enlighten you jerkoffs what a citizen really is. One cannot wake up one day, turn to his wife and say, "Honey, I've decided to be a good citizen today". Everyone please understand, this is the real world. No one cares. Do you believe a very large majority of common everyday people walking around in society right now honestly cares if they're being a good citizen? No. They don't. They just want to make money. Which brings us to our next topic. The government. Yes, we all know Hurricane Katrina was a devastating natural disaster that left thousands homeless and heart broken and wandering in the streets of Louisana screaming "God, why God!? Why!?" Horrible, I know but it's the truth. So who do we turn to? The government. Now as we speak God know how many billions and billions amongst billions of fucking dollars our great American government owes. We'll never know. So don't blame them. Just start grabbing some goddamn sandbags, fill em with sand and pray. Now can we all help each other? Can we all strip down to our bare asses, grab one another's hands and be one? Can everyone actually do what the movie says and Pay it Forward? No. We can't. As I previously stated before our "citizens" don't care about each other. In a way they're not "citizens " if they don't help one another. It's just a bullshit word. Everyone wants to get ahead, be top of the heap, be King of the fucking Castle. No one cares about their fellow "citizens". When you all are at your homes watching the news (if you assholes are even remotely interested in current events, which I doubt after reading that shit) sitting on your fucking couch, draining minutes off your life with your stupid eyes glued to tv to you honestly, truly, deeply care if some douchebag shot and killed an 89-year old WWII-veteran in Washington Heights in a botched car robbery? You should. One of your fellow citizens got shot! But you don't. Just like me. And that's why everything is so out of proportion.

Mr Tesler said...


We looked at Katrina from the perspective of government, and from the media coverage...Check out some of the responses made by our kids this year in their ELA class...Pretty good stuff!