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New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at Ten: Who Was Left Behind


New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at Ten: Who Was Left Behind

Bill Quigley

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter.


Only 33 percent? Here in Pittsburgh, we had no hurricane, but with the storm of young white gentrification of its neighborhoods, rents have gone up 300 to 400 percent. A small apartment that rented for $450 a month in 2005 now rents at $1500 to $1800 per month.


Dia$ter Capitali$m.


Jonathan Swift wrote a valuable program for dealing with the poor (and starving during the Potato Famine) which may be recirculating in neocon and conservative circles as we speak… one never knows!

Nevertheless the point was then and now >>> Why waste money on people who need money? Give to those who need it least and… you’ll find that they are very polite about the whole thing. Poor people are not very polite about being poor and even worse they can be downright rude about starving.

Why rebuild New Orleans with poor people at all? Why rebuild with ordinary people for that matter? Lets just ‘re-move’ those who needed help the most which naturally leaves more for those who needed it less but were nice about how much they were really wanting it.

Obviously a lesson is to be learned here. If you ignore poor people then they just go away eventually and then you never have to think about them again. Gated communities are recommended and security is paramount. Perhaps snipers on the bridge?

Why are there even poor people in New Orleans at all needs to be faced up to. They are just ruining it for everybody.

Remember… saute yes but fried no. Lets watch the waistline.

Poor people ala Swift… is on the menu in New Orleans… a place with great chefs.


Going down hard in The Big Easy


Could we be honest for a minute? Katrina remains a powerful symbol of modern America. Those who had little, lost what little they had, and there is no way up. Even if a few jobs come along, it’s impossible to get a job without a home address, phone, bus fare, clean clothes. Not everyone is able to work. Nationwide, there are 7 jobs for every 10 people who urgently need one. I understand that it’s even worse in New Orleans. What do you think happens to those who are left out? They don’t have the means to move on in hopes of finding jobs. They’re just stuck.

For our jobless poor, and many of the unemployable, the pain index has been set at 10 for a long time, and there is no hint that conditions for our very poor will improve.


New Orleans? How about America. Middle classers can’t seem to grasp the consequences of what was done. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, telling the very poor to disappear. Liberal media have virtually ignored our poverty crisis since the Clinton admin., so the broader public has little concept of the conditions of US poverty today, much less of the consequences. One interesting point: When Reagan was first elected, launching the long campaign against our poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. By the time Obama was elected, the US had already plunged to #43, and we can no longer adequately compete in the modern world market. The levees have been crumbling, and the US is going to drown.


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Insurance went through the roof. The sweetheart trash deal means a double shotgun pays $50 a month for trash cans. No mass transit meant everyone who returned HAD to buy a car - which means an extra $400 a month - before rent.

The city should have gutted and remodeled public housing - then rented it to first responders, teachers and government workers. Which is what it was originally meant for.

Every chance to invest in infrastructure was blown off for private gain. $30 million community block grant for Faubourg Marigny went to build a riverfront park which is unreachable. and goes underwater. “Reconnecting the people with the water.”

what a waste.