Saturday, July 24, 2010

Notas de mi Despacho - Cambios

Como dijera en mi ultima nota mis labores profesionales demandaron (quizas demasiado) mi tiempo. Ahora, aprovecho una demobilizacion forzada cortesia de Bonnie para actualizar este blog. Como estoy limitado a lo que puedo decir de mis tareas describire, alcantarillescamente, lo que encontrado curioso de esta comunidad de Biloxi MS.

Su poblacion, de esperarse, es mayormente negra. Los blancos hablan sure/no al estilo tejano. 'now prudy doncha wanit ol. you ok i reckon? hi yall.' Los negros hablan como en la caba/na del Tio Tom. Pero lo mas que me sorprendio fue la cantidad de latinos y vietnamitas de esta comunidad. Ademas, el monton de estructuras abandonadas. Parece que todavia esta latente los efectos de Katrina.

Decidi investigar, y tropece con esta joyita:

In the Factory
Just everybody had to work to make a living because then you got paid very little for what you done. And the first job I had was in the shell mills, grinding up shells and that was $.04 an hour.--Clarence Disilvey

While shrimping and oystering were exclusively male tasks, the factory work was predominantly the female domain. Some men did work in the factories and most children, including boys, began their career in the factories where they cut their teeth on the skills and work ethic necessary to make it in the industry. Documentary photographer Lewis Hine photographed young factory workers in Biloxi in the 1880s and exposed the harsh conditions under which they worked. As the boys grew older most took jobs on the boats while the women stayed in the factories.
Since the factories lacked nurseries, women brought their small children to work with them. They constructed play pens or put the children on the floor next to them where they learned how to do their mothers' work. 17 Although people often tend to glorify the "good ole' days," when Biloxians speak of the early days in the seafood industry, they temper remarks on the abundance of the supply with memories of long hours, little pay, and child labor. Mary Kuljis, who spent over fifty of her eighty-six years in the seafood factories, recalled her work:

The first job I had was in the factory, in the cannery where they had oysters and shrimp...They had so many shrimp and so many oysters they couldn't take care of them. Sometime they had to throw them away because there wasn't enough workers to do the job. So they brought children, twelve, thirteen years old to work. 18

Children age fourteen could receive a work card which allowed them to work legally in the factory, but most had a factory job at an even younger age. When inspectors came to check work cards, the underage children would hide lest they get caught and removed from the factory. They balanced their work with their education. Before attending school each morning, the children went to work in the factories. They returned once classes ended and put in two or three more hours at the picking tables or oyster carts earning $.50 or $1.00 a day.
Sea Coast, Kaluz's, Gulf Central, Dunbar and Dukate, and other factories lined the Point and Back Bay. Closeby lived the women who kept the factories running. They usually worked at one factory, season after season. The factory owners wanted the fastest pickers and shuckers so they took care of their employees, and employees in turn felt loyalty to the factory. However, if the management mistreated them, they could go down the street to another cannery. An experienced factory employee could always find a job. One former employee said that the women chose the factory according to which boats brought in the catch. They knew which boats brought in the biggest oysters, which made their job of shucking easier, then went to the factory where those boats offloaded.
The work day in the canneries began early. Each factory had a whistle with its own distinctive sound, which signalled the arrival of the catch and summoned people to work. Andrew Melancon recalls going to the factory at two o'clock in the morning to insure he had a place to work. The blow of the whistle signalled an end to rest and the start of another busy day, as Melancon recalls:

I was still working when I met my wife. I would go with her till about twelve or one o'clock, then go home. I'd keep one eye open at a time as I walked home cause I didn't have a car or a bike. I'd have to walk from uptown to the Point. I'd sleep one eye at a time while going home, and when I go home I'd hurry up and get to bed. And listen and hope to heck that my whistle wouldn't blow...If it blowed I'd jump up and get down there and get started. It was one heck of a life. 19

Although different from boat work, the work in the factories was equally as rigorous and demanding. Factory conditions did not make for easy work. The factories were always cold, especially in the winter during oyster season. Women wore heavy stockings and wrapped their legs in newspaper to keep warm. Their hands grew cold after working with the icy shrimp, hour after hour. One woman recalled how her mother would bring bowls of hot water from home for her children to warm their hands. Tables lined the factory floors during shrimp season, and women stood on either side of the tables to "headless" and pick the shrimp. They dropped the hulls to the floor and swept up later. Although it might appear as though they worked as a team around a picking table or oyster cart, each worker was paid according to the amount of shrimp she picked and thus rewarded for her individual speed. The work was demanding and the hours were long, as several Biloxians attest. Andrew Melancon remembers:
When I was part of the processing crew, I'd go in at 2:00 A.M. Might be six in the evening before I got off. I was making $.35 an hour. Top pay. I was making more than my uncle who was head teller at a bank. But he was putting in forty hours, and I was putting in a hundred and forty hours. That's the difference. But we needed the money, and I didn't mind. 20
From the picking shed, the shrimp went to the packing room for the cooking and canning process. Once sealed, the cans were pressure cooked in a large iron drum to kill any remaining bacteria. Employees removed any "swell heads" (cans of bad shrimp that caused the can to swell) at this stage. From there, the women took the cans, labeled them by hand before boxing them and shipping them to the warehouse. Today the labeling, canning, and, to some degree, picking are mechanized processes.
During the oyster season, the work environment was much the same. Oyster shucking was piece work also. Women equipped with an oyster knife, a glove, and finger stars (small pieces of cloth to cover the thumb and forefinger of the hand holding the knife) stood eight to a cart, four on each side, shucking oysters and placing them in a cup. An oyster cup attached to the side of the cart and held about a gallon of oysters. A series of railroad tracks ran from the loading docks inside and throughout the factory. The men unloaded the oysters into the carts. Four or five carts at a time rolled into the steamboxes to steam open the oysters. From the steamroom, a line of about nine carts travelled on one of the tracks running to the shucking room. The eight women that worked at a cart usually worked together all the time. In a sense then, they were a team. They tended to be friends or relatives, sometimes all Slavonians or all Cajun's.
Factory work was similar to the apprenticeship period on the boats. Young girls learned by watching and imitating the more experienced women. Eventually it became second nature. To pass the time the women conversed or sang as they worked. If they were all Slavonian or Cajun they might speak in their native tongue. A sense of community existed both in and outside of the workplace. They combined socializing with their work, not that they took their jobs any less seriously than the men, but the work environment allowed for more social insertion.
During the first half of the 20th century the Biloxi seafood industry and seafood community were steadily evolving. Development in technology and changes in the ethnic milieu created a dynamic industrial and cultural community that continues today. Biloxi schooners gave way to luggers only to be rediscovered in later year and re-instituted as community cultural symbols and tourist attractions. Slavonians and Cajun's created ethnic organizations to maintain their identity. In the 1970s Vietnamese refugees became the latest ethnic group involved in the Gulf Coast seafood industry, and they, too, would form a their own community and maintain group identity through family, religious, and cultural traditions. This diversity and development that marked the Biloxi seafood industry in the late 1800s would continue, then, and take on new manifestations in the latter part of the 1900s.

OK, eso explica los vietnamitas y la poblacion obrera. Pero, y la desolacion, los negocios cerrados? mmm Wikipedia:,_Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast with high winds, heavy rains and a 27-foot (8.2 m) storm surge, causing massive damage to the area. Katrina came ashore during the high tide of 6:56AM, +2.3 feet more.[13] Commenting on the power of the storm and the damage, Mayor A.J. Holloway said, "This is our tsunami."[14] Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was quoted as saying the destruction of the Mississippi coastline by Hurricane Katrina looked like an American Hiroshima.
On the morning of August 31, 2005, in an interview on MSNBC, Governor Barbour stated that 90% of the buildings along the coast in Biloxi and neighboring Gulfport had been destroyed by the hurricane. Several of the "floating" casinos were torn off their supports and thrown inland, contributing to the damage. All coastal churches were destroyed or severely damaged.
Many churches were damaged, including St. Michael's Catholic Church (see photo at right), which was gutted by the storm surge, breaking the entry doors and stained-glass windows along the first floor; however, the interior was later removed, and the structure was still solid enough to allow repairing the church.

Hurricane Katrina damaged over 40 Mississippi libraries, flooding several feet in the Biloxi Public Library and breaking windows, beyond repair, requiring a total rebuild.[15]
Hurricane-force winds persisted for 17 hours and tore the branches off many coastal oak trees, but the tree trunks survived the 30-foot (9.1 m) flood and many have since regrown smaller branches. Some reconstructed homes still have the antebellum appearance, and miles inland, with less flooding, shopping centers have re-opened.
Harrison County Coroner Gary T. Hargrove told the mayor and City Council that Hurricane Katrina had claimed 53 victims in Biloxi, as of January 30, 2006. Of the 53 confirmed fatalities in Biloxi, a figure that includes one unidentified male, Hargrove said the average age was 58, with the youngest being 22 and the oldest 90; 14 were female and 39 were male.
Biloxi is also the site of a well-known memorial to the Katrina victims, built by the crew and volunteers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.[16]
Many casinos were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Of the casinos that were located in Biloxi, eight have reopened since Katrina. They are: the Grand Biloxi Casino Hotel Spa(formerly known as Grand Casino Biloxi), the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the Isle of Capri Casino and Resort, the Palace Casino Resort, the IP Casino Resort Spa (formerly known as Imperial Palace), Treasure Bay Casino, Boomtown Casino, and the Beau Rivage, which re-opened on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.[17]
Multiple plans have been laid out to rebuild the waterfront areas of Biloxi, and the federal government has recently announced that it is considering giving up to 17,000 Mississippi coast homeowners the option to sell their properties so that a vast hurricane-protection zone can be implemented.[18] Meanwhile, the city of Biloxi is rapidly implementing plans to allow the redevelopment of commercial properties south of highway 90.[19]

Mas documentales aqui:

Estos dos documentales son de ahi:

Ah claro, comi en un restaurante vietnamita (Long Kim) ayer. Sopa de Fideos de Arroz con Brisquet de Res. Puro sabor thai vietnamita. todo fresco...

No se vietnamita. Pero deja ver si encuentro descripcion aqui. Si, wikipedia de nuevo. Pho:

la receta:

Me estoy curando en salud con comida sure/na. Ayer encontre una bodega mexicana (llamada apropiadamente LA BAMBA) donde estaban viento todos la novela de Telemundo. Tenian un chorro de CDs de rancheras, regueton, Norte/na y Rock en Espa/nol. Me lleve un compendio de exitos de Cafe Tacuba, la que toco en el carro en ruta al trabajo. Entre rock, country y evangelicos gritones y talk shows del tea party hablando sandeces republicanas apago el radio. Quizas tolero The Rock, porque es Rock Clasico (Hendrix, Bowie, Pat Benatar, Queen, etc) no las mismas 5 canciones que toca Alfa Rock 106. Pero ya estoy divagando, debe ser los refrescos mejicanos importados y los cacahuates japoneses.

Dije que el tema del dia no era Biloxi, sino cambios. Para comenzar mi oficina se muda a la milla de oro, asi que la semana antes del viaje se me fue en empacar proyectos...Por si no vieron la humareda del Pizza Hut guarde esta linda foto vespertina desde el piso 6 del parking del edificio:

Estabamos todos encari/nados del edificio, pero son los cambios que vienen.

Otro cambio es que estoy aqui en Biloxi bregando Health and Safety. Tipicamente si viajo es para dise/no y conceptos de Agua Potable y Aguas Usadas. Chequeense esta imagen, parece propaganda del Yellow Party:

Los cambios vienen nos gusten o no...Adaptamos o morimos.

Ahora escucho los primeros truenos asociados a Bonnie. A ver que tanto llueve.

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