Who’s Helping Katrina’s Victims?

April 29, 2007

Good question, after NBC’s report (see “Most Watched”) on Saturday’s Nightly News, twenty months after the hurricane.

frank-stronach.jpgOne good answer to the question of “Who’s helping?” today is the name Frank Stronach. He owns Magna International, which includes DeWitt’s New Process Gear. Another of Stronach’s properties is a Louisiana farm he has bought for $2.4 million dollars, as a place for storm victims to rebuild their lives.

Well, more of a farm to be, 791 acres of sugar cane fields just outside this town 130 miles northwest of New Orleans. The property is one of the many items, including 49 mobile homes, two police cars and a flock of chickens, procured on behalf of hurricane evacuees by Mr. Stronach, a colorful and controversial Canadian automobile-parts magnate.

His goal was to create “an environment of opportunity,” where former residents of New Orleans could be helped to help themselves, said Dennis J. Mills, who spearheaded the effort and is vice chairman of several Stronach companies. A result is a small mobile home park and a fledgling organic farm that everyone here calls Canadaville.

The New York Times

Canadaville is not universally popular with local governments in the area, or even with the people Stronach wants to help. The idea of going to work on a “plantation,” some say, is not a pleasant prospect. The auto parts magnate, said to be wrapped up in an effort to buy Chrysler, has not fully explained his motives.

But using his own money, he has done something he didn’t have to do for Katrina victims- something others, including government, have failed to do.

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A word of thanks is in order today to Brian Cubbison and the Web crew at the Syracuse Post Standard, for giving CNY Circus a shout-out in today’s paper and on the News Tracker blogroll. They take note of our recent post on economic development and tourism slogans for CNY and Washington, D.C.

Read all about it, and you’ll understand why we’re thrilled to our “Creative Core.”