Katrina Pain Index 2011

by BILL QUIGLEY and DAVIDA FINGER

Six years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. The impact of Katrina and government bungling continue to inflict major pain on the people left behind. It is impossible to understand what happened and what still remains without considering race, gender, and poverty. The following offer some hints of what remains.

$62 million. Amount of money HUD and the State of Louisiana agreed to pay thousands of homeowners because of racial discrimination in Louisiana’s program to disburse federal rebuilding funds following Katrina and Rita. African American homeowners were more likely than whites to have their rebuilding grants based on much lower pre-storm value of their homes rather than the higher estimated cost to rebuild them. Source: Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.

343,829. The current population of the city of New Orleans, about 110,000 less than when Katrina hit. New Orleans is now whiter, more male and more prosperous. Source: Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. 

154,000. FEMA is now reviewing the grants it gave to 154,000 people following hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. It is now demanding that some return the long ago spent funds! FEMA admits that many of the cases under review stem from mistakes made by its own agency employees. FEMA’s error rate following Katrina was 14.5 per cent. Source: Michael Kunzelman and Ryan Foley, Associated Press.

65,423. In the New Orleans metropolitan area, there are now 65,423 fewer African American women and girls than when Katrina hit. Overall, the number of women and girls decreased since Katrina by 108,116. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

47,738. Number of vacant houses in New Orleans as of 2010. Source: GNOCDC.

3000. Over three thousand public housing apartments occupied before Katrina plus another thousand under renovation were bulldozed after Katrina. Less than ten percent, 238 families, have made it back into the apartments built on the renovated sites. Only half of the 3000+ families have even made it back to New Orleans at all. All were African American.Source: Katy Reckdahl, Times-Picayune.

75. Nearly seventy five percent of the public schools in New Orleans have become charters since Katrina. Over fifty percent of public school students in New Orleans attend public charter schools. There are now more than thirty different charter school operators in New Orleans alone. The reorganization of the public schools has created a separate but unequal tiered system of schools that steers a minority of students, including virtually all of the city’s white students, into a set of selective, higher-performing schools and most of the city’s students of color into a set of lower-performing schools.Sources: Andrew Vanacore, Times-Picayune; Valerie Strauss, Washington Post; Institute on Race & Poverty of University of Minnesota Law School.

70. Seventy percent more people are homeless in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. People living with HIV are estimated to be homeless at 10 times the rate of the general population, a condition amplified after Hurricane Katrina. Source: Unity for the Homeless and Times-Picayune.

59. Less than 60 percent of Louisiana’s public school students graduate from high school with their class. Among public school children with disabilities in New Orleans, the high school graduation rate is 6.8%.
Source: Education Week and Southern Poverty Law Center.

34. Thirty four percent of the children in New Orleans live in poverty; the national average is 20%. Source: Annie Casey Foundation Kids Count 2011.

11. Eleven New Orleans police officers convicted or plead guilty to federal crimes involving shootings of civilians during Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Source: Brendan McCarthy, Times-Picayune.

10. At least ten people were killed by police under questionable circumstances during days after Katrina. Source: Times-Picayune

3. A three-fold increase in heart attacks was documented in the two years after Katrina. Source: Tulane University Health Study.

Number unknown. The true impact of the BP oil spill in terms of adverse health effects is vast but unknown. Delays by the federal government in studying the spill’s physical and mental health effects hinder any ability to understand these issues with accuracy. A year after the spill, more people are reporting medical and mental health problems. Source: Campell Robertson, New York Times and National Geographic.

Bill Quigley and Davida Finger are professors at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Bill is also Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmail.com and Davida at davida.finger@gmail.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Patrick T. Hiller
There’s Nothing Collateral About a Toddler Washed Ashore
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Cesar Chelala
Cruelty is Not a Human Right
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
September 03, 2015
Sal Rodriguez
How California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Confinement Reforms