To kick off what we hope will be a year-long series to highlight the work our many fine writers contribute to the LA Progressive, we’d like to give you a fuller view of Georgianne Nienaber’s life and work.
As a widely published investigative reporter and political writer, Georgianne specializes in deeply sourced, on-the-ground reports of human tragedies such as the ongoing genocide in Rwanda and the Congo and the effect of Hurricane Katrina on local Louisiana communities, sticking with her subjects long after the headlines have faded and the mainstream media has moved on, illuminating newsworthy events scantly covered elsewhere.
In her ongoing series on Haiti, Georgianne has made three trips so far to the country, starting shortly after the massive earthquake last January and continuing with recent medical relief efforts in rural areas away from the capital where some of the deepest effects of the earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic were felt and where little press coverage of any kind was available. Notable in this continuing series are the following articles, which always include her photographs and often videos as well:
- Haiti Recovery: “We Can Grow Our Own Chickens
- Voices From the Camps in Haiti: “We Don’t Know What Will Happen
- Fighting Cholera While OCHA Says 400,000 at Risk“
Georgianne divides her time between Sanibel Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Louisiana’s Bayou Country, and the Lakes Country of northern Minnesota, where she lived with her country doctor husband and raised their daughter Sarah, now 24. “My proudest accomplishment is raising Sarah and having it turn out that she embodies my love of music as a successful musician and songwriter,” Georgianne says. “I can’t play a note!”
Georgianne fell in love with rural Louisiana while diving behind the scenes to report the full extent of Hurricane Katrina and then the BP oil spill on local indigenous communities, even as government bodies and corporate forces sought to keep the media spotlight at bay. Notable in this series were such articles as
- Macondo Wellhead Flyover: Damage Control at The Source
- BP’s Oiled Pelicans: “They Look Like Dead Angels in the Sand”
- Oil-Soaked Dolphins Struggle in Lousiana’s Barataria Bay
As an outgrowth of her work in Louisiana, Georgianne completed her latest work, “Voices from the Wetlands,” a two-part look at the effect the massive oil spill had on the Atakana-Ishak people who have inhabited the region for 15,000 years and then bluesman Tab Benoit’s efforts to rally his Cajun community to save their bayou homes and lifestyle. Earlier, she wrote two full-length books, “Gorilla Dreams” and “Horse Sense.”
These days, Georgianne draws spiritual sustenance from Pema Chodron, the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery for Westerners, who is known for her down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism for Western audiences.
In yet a third series of articles developed over the past several years, Georgianne built on her extensive travels in South Africa, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to report the continuing revolution and ethnic exterminations that are again rarely reported in Western media. Notable here are such articles as
- 100,000 Civilians at Risk of Attack in Congo
- West Gives Rwandan Rebels, Congolese Soldiers Free Pass on Gang Rape and Murder
- Congo: New Year, New Ops, Same Questions, Same Fears
Georgianne plans to take the next couple of months off to rest and reflect, then has another trip to Haiti’s cholera camps planned for February and March when she’ll get back in the saddle. You may contact Georgianne by commenting on one of her more recent articles.