"Katrina Death Stats Contradict Racial Complaints"


The popular perception that African-Americans living in New Orleans were disproportionately victimized by the government's botched Hurricane Katrina rescue effort turns out not to be true - at least according to preliminary death statistics released by the state of Louisiana.
On Wednesday, Congress heard dramatic testimony from black Katrina survivors, who complained that racism drove the federal rescue efforts and resulted in an unnecessarily high number of African-American deaths.
"People were allowed to die," storm survivor Leah Hodges testified, telling a House panel that black residents of New Orleans had been victims of "genocide and ethnic cleansing."
But preliminary figures compiled by the morgue in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, which is the primary facility handling the bodies of Katrina deceased, show that a majority of the dead in New Orleans and surrounding parishes were actually not black...

This is discussed here, which also does a bit of the math. That links to this post from Aug 28; it's interesting to compare to what ended up happening.
Search for Gabriel to see the even-more-interesting aspects of this side of things...

Disaster trip for tourists

Gray Line is running a Hurricane Katrina disaster tour bus.

Downers decry Mardi Gras, boosting civic pride, tourism income

City officials announced last month that New Orleans would hold an abbreviated Mardi Gras celebration. Civic boosters say the festivities can help revitalize New Orleans' economy, lift morale and show the world that the city is on its way back.

That sounds reasonable, no? Especially considering that Mardi Gras reportedly generates $840 million a year for the city.
Needless to say, a small number of people can't see the benefits. As can be expected, the MSM gives them a voice:

Some storm refugees and black organizations say the party preparations are insensitive to the plight of so many displaced New Orleanians.
"I just think it sends the wrong message to have a celebration when people are not back in their houses," said Ernest Johnson, the Louisiana president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Wouldn't the celebration lead to income, jobs, increased tourist dollars, and other good things? Perhaps they need to look at the bigger picture.
Note that this AP report references the earlier "Nagin pleads with residents to return", which included the following from a former resident:

Why would he have Carnival? Carnival is mostly for the white folks.


St. Bernard Parish: people living in cars, barns, tents

St. Bernard Parish president, Henry "Junior" Rodriguez, says they need 12,000 trailers, but only a small percentage of that amount have been set up:

...1,400 trailers are sitting unused in St. Bernard Parish. The parish ordered them from a private contractor days after the hurricane hit on August 29, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has not agreed to pay for them.
There are also more than 5,000 FEMA mobile homes in Arkansas sitting unused, CNN has learned.
FEMA responded Tuesday, telling CNN it is ready to deliver 125,000 trailers to the area but that parish officials "still have to identify places to put them."

From the pull-up-your-socks file, Rodriguez says:

"We got a serious situation in St. Bernard Parish... We got people living in tents and automobiles. We got people living in barns. We got people living in their houses -- in tents... This is the beginning of winter. This is unacceptable."

It's certainly unacceptable from the standpoint that those residents have paid for such federal assistance through taxation. However, perhaps it would be best for all concerned if they considered how this would have been handled a hundred years ago: residents would have gotten together and helped each other out rather than simply giving up and relying on the federal government.

Lakeview residents place ad in Roll Call demanding stronger levees

Residents of New Orleans' Lakeview neighborhood will run an ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call demanding that Congress pays for stronger levees and allows them to return and rebuild. They raised the money online.
It's called "Message From Homeless New Orleanians" and says in part:

"Since the breakdown of the New Orleans flood protection system on August 29, 2005, we have lived like refugees in our own country... The residents of Lakeview and countless other displaced New Orleans communities are sending you this holiday wish in one voice - 'We want to go home.' "

A PDF file is available in the 'Files' section of this Yahoo group. You'll need to join first, but membership is open. However, the ad is an illegible bitmap, so don't bother. The ad directs you to this blog, which doesn't have a copy of the ad. It just tries to pull your heartstrings by reprinting letters from former residents. However, you can see a legible copy in this PDF file.
If they're able to get into the NYT, they probably don't need a better publicist, but perhaps they need a little help in the overall strategy arena.

"Ideological Hurricane"

Joel Kotkin has a long piece on New Orleans, the welfare state, and related topics here. Snippet:

Social workers like New Orleanian Sonya Heisser point out that even the poorest individuals still have control of their own lives. She tells her clients, "I don't have to go the fast way. I don't have to sell drugs. I make my own changes. Most of this is about choices-we all make choices."
But while underclass behaviors eventually boil down to personal decisions, society and government set the table with the ground rules they establish in cities. Today, most central cities feature horrific educational deficiences, crumbling infrastructure, and stultifying regulations that drive commerce ever more into the suburban periphery. Yet most city leaders-not to mention productive citizens in the rest of the nation-avert their eyes from these problems until a trauma like Katrina forces the products of our urban maladministration into view. Rather than re-examine their bankrupt social and economic premises, urban elites prefer to channel money into sports stadia and convention centers, hip lofts and restaurants, hoping somehow this will suck talent and wealth into their cities. As if today's urban underclass will just fade away, and leave the cool hipsters unbothered to enjoy their entertainment districts.
This collapse of responsibility and discipline goes against the entire grain of urban history. From republican Rome to the golden ages of Venice, Amsterdam, London, and New York, cities have flourished most when they have served as places of aspiration and upward mobility, of hard work and individual accountability. By becoming mass dispensers of welfare for the unskilled, playpens for the well-heeled and fashionable, easy marks for special interests, and bunglers at maintaining public safety and dispensing efficient services to residents and businesses, many cities have become useless to the middle class, and toxic for the disorganized poor. Today's liberal urban leadership across America needs to see the New Orleans storm not as just a tragedy, but also as a dispeller of illusions, a revealer of awful truths, and a potential harbinger of things to come in their own backyards.
Look beyond the tourist districts. Few contemporary cities are actually healthy in terms of job growth or middle-class amenities. Most are in the grips of moral and economic crisis.

Aides worried over Blanco's image

A set of emails released by Congress show Blanco's aides offering wardrobe and image advice:

...In a Sept. 4 e-mail exchange, top Blanco aides bristled at Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's remark that the federal government "is in control of New Orleans."
"Our answer is the National Guard is in charge of security under her direction," Blanco chief of staff Andy Kopplin wrote. "The mayor is in charge of the city. The governor is in charge of the state and the guard and security. The federal government is now meeting important missions that it has."
The next day, two Blanco press staffers appealed to other senior aides to stop travel that would have had the governor leaving the state on a day when President Bush was scheduled to be there.
"Reinforces the notion that she's not in charge and LA (Louisiana) needs to be federalized," wrote Blanco press secretary Denise Bottcher in a Sept. 5 e-mail.
Agreed Blanco communications director Bob Mann: "White House will be thrilled that she left the state. They will eat us for lunch. She cannot snub potus [Bush]."
...Their ideas, according to the e-mails, included having Blanco "put a few bags of ice in the hands of the citizens who need it" and stop "doing too many 'first lady' things."
... "You send that many black folks out of state, we will have a perception problem," Blanco assistant chief of staff Johnny Anderson wrote in a Sept. 2 e-mail.
"Word is already that we are only sending blacks out of this state," Anderson wrote. We are make (sic) a strategic error. FEMA will not have to answer to the people, we will."

Another part of the emails was discussed in Kathleen Blanco is MOVING MOUNTAINS

Brian Williams interviews George Bush

NBC's Brian Williams conducted a long interview with president Bush, and the section about Katrina has Bush:
- repeating his blame-taking for the weak federal response ("to the extent that the federal government was ineffective, I'm responsible")
- given the opportunity to blame Blanco, Nagin, or others, he said "we're beyond that"
- he was watching the TV reports from the Superdome...
- he "certainly hopes" that we won't lose New Orleans on his watch...
- Bush not only knows what the Ninth Ward is, he's familiar with the conspiracy theory about the government blowing up the levees...
- Bush has read about- or had someone tell him about - the blowing up of the levees that occured in the 20s...
And, there's this perhaps-not-entirely-accurate bit:

one of the things we've learned about the levees, Brian, is that they call the levees a certain category, but they weren't up to standards. And so we're now in the process of working with local folks to get the standards of the levees up to where they should have been prior to the storm and even better. And hopefully we'll have the capacity to announce that relatively quickly.

The levees and floodwalls might not have been designed correctly however.

I remember saying that, when I thanked those chopper drivers from the Coast Guard who performed brilliantly, they didn't lower those booms to pick up people saying, "What color skin do you have?" They said, "A fellow American's in jeopardy. And I'm going to do my best to rescue that person."

However, some far-lefties have speculated that shots fired at choppers were because they were being ignored because of triage.
Speaking about Brownie:

You know, Michael [Brown], resigned. And I, you know, I had worked with him during the four hurricanes that hit Florida. He got pretty good marks. And in this case, for whatever reason, the system overwhelmed the whole process. And Michael said, "I'm responsible." And he left.

Kathleen Blanco is MOVING MOUNTAINS

On September 4, Kim Fuller, press consultant from Witt Associates, sent an email to various Kathleen Blanco aides. It included the following:
"Gov. Blanco might dress down a bit and look like she has rolled up her sleeves... I have some great Liz Claiborne sports clothes that look kind of Eddie Bauer, but with class, but would bring her down to level of getting to work... She would look like a woman, but show she is MOVING MOUNTAINS".
Now, you can buy a MOVING MOUNTAINS t-shirt, women's tank top, and coffee mug and support this site at the same time.

NPR still covering New Orleans, just not well

Harry Shearer points to two recent NPR reports about New Orleans, both of which were "light" and neither of which mentioned the possibility of the Army Corps of Engineers' design flaws leading to the flooding:

...[the two shows were:] the debate on whether to hold Mardi Gras, and the recording of Elvis Costellos' collaboration with Allen Toussaint at Piety St. Studio in the Bywater. Anthony Brookes, in the first story, referred to the cause of the devastation as "the wrath of Katrina"... [the second was more light weight]

In comments, someone says:

The most recent edition of "On the Media" had a good story on the myths of Katrina, along with a bit of gratuitious navel gazing on journalists becoming part of the story.

And, provides this: mp3 link, mp3 link. If you listen, leave a comment.


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