An Archive of Jacob Appelbaum’s Post-Katrina weblog


An interview by Esther Sassaman for an upcoming text

The following is a personal interview by Esther Sassaman:

Bloggers are known for strong political opinions and too much openness about their love lives. A growing number have taken the expressive power of the blog into new realms. Many bloggers of all interests and political viewpoints have debunked inaccuracies portrayed by the mainstream media, maintained compendia on rapidly developing stories more quickly than big broadcasters, and established their own live news services in conflict zones. Jacob Applebaum is one of this last category, publishing photojournalism from Iraq, Houston, and New Orleans that has often surpassed the news value, narrative power, and beauty of photography produced by longstanding news service photographers. Appelbaum went to Iraq in April 2005 as a photographer and to visit friends, and visited Houston’s Astrodome after Katrina to help set up a low power FM radio network and wireless service [http://www.prometheusradio.org] for details. He is currently in the poor, black Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, administering a data center at the behest of community organizer and former Black Panther Malik Rahim.

Jacob’s photographs have gained a new audience with the Houston Astrodome series [http://flickr.com/photos/ioerror/sets/905698/], which has become widely distributed. I reached him on Tuesday, the second day of his stay in Algiers. We talked about the situation in Algiers on Tuesday, but also about his personal motivations for coming to activism, and his background.

You can read the rest of the interview off site.

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A local block party (Quote of the day)

Posted in algiers,Katrina,neworleans,party by jacob on September 16, 2005

All night people have been talking about a local block party.

“It’s just FOUR blocks away!”
“What about the curfew?”
“Four!”

Surely enough I decided that even though it might be safe to get there it’s almost certainly not going to be a fun walk home. Lets just assume that the party was full of people I didn’t clash with, I can’t imagine walking home alone would be safe. The curfew has been extended to 21:00 hours I’ve been told. Someone even reassured me by telling me that the local military from the 1st cav had no ammo in their guns! If that’s the truth I’d trust it for the person and only the person that shows me an open empty chamber as well as an empty clip. No one confirmed this but apparently that’s the company line for the 1st cav, no live ammo at all.

Still I was unconvinced. Surely I do things that might be a little risky but walking four blocks to a party in the dark under curfew in what is essentially a military police zone, that’s just crazy.

People just started returning from the party and it turns out that it was probably for the best. The vigilantes that people had been talking about, the white ones that are openly racist and violent were the ones throwing the party. Doh! Not a good party for the people in this community to attend.

As it just so happens I heard a story about a fight. An Irishman was drinking and somehow ended up ripping his shirt off to fight with someone. The 1st cav moved to the other side of the party and when asked if anyone from the 1st cav would break up the fight they said:

“We are the US military, we invade foreign countries. We don’t break up bar fights.”

And so it goes.