Posts from Irv Peckham in Baton Rouge

With his permission, I am posting Irv Peckham's messages to the WPA-L listrserv.

Shirley

Thu 9/15/2005 12:18 PM
Re: UNO and Hurricane Katrina an d adjuncts
It's been unclear about adjuncts. We have been able to hire only one adjunct from UNO--on the stipulation that he was being paid by them, to which we added 600.00. big deal.

i have received about 20 inquiries from NO teachers. Of course we can't hire them because we don't get any extra monies--they paid the tuition to the NO university and we're not asking them to pay again. there will be some negotiations about this further, but in essence, the adjuncts got stuck. I suspect all tenured or tenured track faculty will be paid. so what's new (knowing that must of us are tenured or tenure track).

Fri 9/9/2005 10:33 AM
News from Louisiana--update
As you may expect, we're in crisis mode. I just thought I would add a brief report at Shirley's urging--I know Lilly has given several updates. I haven't been able to follow WPA discussions on either this or other issues, mostly the consequence of what I know Lilly has touched on. I just got my internet connection back on Wednesday (a blessing, in many ways), which has kept me from doing anything but the bare essentials online.

At LSU, we are trying to accommodate as many students as possible--last date for enrolling is today. I expect we will have enrolled an additional 3500 students. Big problem of course is that they in general have to be absored in current courses--we can't hire new people to teach new courses (no additional monies to pay for instructors or professors [some exceptions to this]. So we have the expected consequence: raise class levels. We have bumped up our maximums--but we also know that the inch that was given yesterday in crisis mode is remembered as the status quo tomorrow in normal mode. A couple of people have volunteered to teach on line (Charles Cooper and one other person from Michigan Tech--Michigan Tech person, will you email me again? I mislaid your note volunteering to teach a class). This will help.

Baton Rouge has of course been transformed as a city--it didn't suffer much, but it now has to become New Orleans II; people here are doing a great deal to help the survivors. All is not pretty, however. Some expected behavioral patterns are emerging with racist and classist over and undertones. People acting toward each other as they will when they are put in crisis and crowded situations.

The response to the crisis was terribly (and still is) bungled. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that many hundreds have died because of a bungled crisis response. The people who were slow to respond and also responded as bureaucrats rather than professionals bear responsibility for those lives. I think most people here know that.

Although we go through our normal lives, all of us here just have this sick feeling that isn't going to go away for a long time.

=========================
Irvin Peckham
Director of University Writing Program
Louisiana State University
ipeckh1@lsu.edu
http://members.cox.net/ipeckham
225.772.5963
========================

Wed 8/31/2005 10:40 AM
Re: Gulf Coast colleagues
I think Thibodaux didn't get hit very badly--compared to new orleans. I would like to know, too, because I was thinking of our friend, Myron Tuman, down there. Of course it's no longer a case of worrying about individuals--this devastation is on such a horrible scale--one thinks of thousands instead.

Here's a link for ways to help. The best help is of course people power. I think there is a great need for bedding, pillows, anything that will make sleeping on the cement better--but I don't know where to send those or whether one can. I think we need them in Baton Rouge. I suspect that not too far down the road, any clothing will help--the trick lies in organizing the collection and distribution.

Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9115520/

Myron: are you all right? And what is the news from down there?

=========================
Irvin Peckham
Director of University Writing Program
Louisiana State University
ipeckh1@lsu.edu
http://members.cox.net/ipeckham
225.772.5963

-----Original Message-----
From: Writing Program Administration [mailto:WPA-L@asu.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:09 AM
To: WPA-L@asu.edu
Subject: Re: Gulf Coast colleagues

Does anyone have any information from or about Nicholls State? A dear friend is ther (It's in Thibodaux, LA, south-west of New Orleans)? I tried emailing, then tried bringing up the University, but keep getting a message "www.nicholls.edu cannot be found" -- very unsettling. My friend's name is Windy Rachal; if anyone has any info, I'd be most grateful.
ccp

Carole Clark Papper
Associate Professor
Department of English
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
cpapper@bsu.edu
765.285.8587
http://cpapper.iweb.bsu.edu

Wed 8/31/2005 10:03 AM
Re: report from our WPA colleague in Baton Rouge

Like, Lilly, I have only intermittent access to email--no electricity in our area yet. Many of our students' families are of course suffering--the devastation in new orlean is, as I am sure all of you know, horrible. Deaths haven't really been counted--bodies just floating in the street, and many people waiting, perhaps hopelessly, to be rescued. Our news sources are limited since most of us don't really have ready access to electricity. I wish I could suggest positive ways to help--but I think right now people are still reeling. I know we have several colleagues in new orleans that we haven't heard from.
=========================
Irvin Peckham
Director of University Writing Program
Louisiana State University
ipeckh1@lsu.edu
http://members.cox.net/ipeckham
225.772.5963
========================

Wed 8/31/2005 9:59 AM
Re: Gulf Coast colleagues
I just received the note below after I wrote to Irv Peckham to ask if he and his family were OK.

Carolyn

>Hi, carolyn
>No access to electricity & therefore email, so I have missed all that email.
>First time back on. Yes--ok here. Just terrrible, as I guess everyone
>knows, in new orleans. Doing what we can to help.
>irv

Comments

Irv posted the following update to the WPA-L listserv a couple of days ago.
Shirley K Rose

In response to a request from Shirley, I'm just going to write a brief update of post-katrina student life--or what I know of it. At LSU, we really managed to absorb the additional student population (2700 of them)--and I think most teachers went fairly far out on the limb to accommodate their needs. After an initial madness, school life settled down. We think that the majority of those students will be returning to their N.Orleans schools this spring--not entirely certain of which ones will be reopening.

Similarly, Baton Rouge has absorbed the roughly 200,000 additional people. The trafic jams make this formerly sleepy town a bit too much like L.A., but most of us know some good back streets.

New Orleans is where the disaster is and will be for some years. I don't think they are getting much federal aid (certainly not what Bush promised, standing in front of St. Catherines on a moonlit night in New Orleans); no solutions about what to do with the levees and, equally as important, with the coastal dissolution. We are losing 25 square miles a year. The wetlands are the primary protection for New Orleans. The acreage of land between the ocean and N.O. softens the blow of the tidal surge from storms--something like every 10 miles or so reduces the surge by a foot. The less land, the more surge, the higher the levee has to be, the more than danger to New Orleans. Basically, because no one will pony up for the cost of coastal restoration and levee restructuring, insurance companies won't have anything to do with rebuilding projects or houses in N.O. What's going on now is deal-making. Speculating. People trying to make money off this disaster. The New Orleans people have been scattered. I hear that if you go down there (I really can't), you just can't believe the total destruction that still lines the streets in the heavily damaged areas. I realize as I am writing this how I have not mentioned the losses in the many small communities south of New Orleans and in the communities to the west from the 2nd hurricane. One could list the names of small towns like a list of the dead.

I would love to see forces coalesce to save our coast--and that's what will help to restore New Orleans and revitalize the smaller coastal communities. Our coast really is a national treasure--you don't really appreciate that until you see it. It's bird heaven. I encourage everyone to read Mike Tidwell's Bayou Farewell. You'll see what a loss we're facing. You couple that with the loss of New Orleans, and you just don't have a pleasant Friday evening.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Irvin Peckham
Director of University Writing Program
Louisiana State University
ipeckh1@lsu.edu