Friday, September 23, 2011
Portraits of the Stalwarts: Janet Hayes
Ms. Janet has been a tireless, self-sacrificing part of the effort to engage the community on the Charity Hospital issue, then the LSU/VA issue, and most recently - you may have seen her, a door-to-door Paul Revere on foot - the encroachment of BioDistrict New Orleans.
Brad V: What got you involved with the Charity Hospital/LSU/VA issue?
Janet H: When my friend Kane Masaile died because Charity Hospital was closed and she had to go to Tulane Hospital and ended up in OPP in five point restraints in their psychiatric unit...a friend of mine emailed me to tell me that there was a meeting going on about Charity Hospital - and had it been open, Kane probably would have been alive. And it was probably something I'd be interested in.
So I went to the first meeting at CC's on Esplanade. Derrick Morrison and Brad Ott were chairing the meeting. Jacques Morial was there and a few other people. And it was my first taste of New Orleans injustice as far as it goes with healthcare issues. And that's what got me involved. From there it was just natural for me to stay involved.
Brad V: And what do you think, at this stage in the game, about the LSU/VA project, specifically the impact on the neighborhoods?
Janet H: I think it's a horrible injustice that's been done to people, to residents that live in New Orleans - that came back to rebuild the city, to rebuild their houses. They used Road Home money and then had a moratorium imposed on them where they couldn't rebuild. And there are a number of different scandals going on - that I see as landgrabs by politicians and real estate developers who have only money and power to gain - as opposed to the residents who are lacking in healthcare, who don't have the power to fight these people with all the resources.
Brad V: What do you think is the overall lesson that you want people to take away from this whole thing?
Janet H: BE VIGILANT. Stay alert. Pay attention to flyers (laughing)- when someone comes to your door with a flyer, read it. Because generally, they're not doing it for nothing, they're doing it because they want you to know something. Either it's going to be people that are fighting for you or it's going to be people that are fighting against you. So pay attention to flyers.