“David Baron, a local Haitian arts dealer, was in a Port-au-Prince school tutoring Haitian students when the earthquake struck and the building nearly collapsed. He spent six days sleeping in open fields and eating campfire meals before he was able to return to New Orleans. On Saturday, he held a fundraiser in his home-gallery to raise money for Haitian friends.
“This is the most Haitian city in America, much more than Miami or New York,” says Baron, who has traveled to Haiti dozens of times over 25 years. “Part of New Orleans’ uniqueness is that it’s where France and Africa met — just like Haiti.”
New Orleans is now also connected to Haiti by disaster. The slow response in evacuating survivors and heavy-handedness of local law enforcement there is eerily reminiscent of Katrina’s chaotic aftermath, says retired Army lieutenant general Russel Honoré, who led the military effort on the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “They’re doing all the right things,” he says. “They’re just doing it slow..”