Saturday, January 28, 2006

Brown University study details Katrina's disparities

A Brown University team led by John Logan recently released a major study detailing the effects of Katrina on the city of New Orleans. The study, The Impact of Katrina: Race and Class in Storm-Damaged Neighborhoods (Acrobat file, 8MB, 17 pages), is summarized in the introduction as follows:
1. More than a third of the region’s 1.7 million residents lived in areas that suffered flooding or moderate to catastrophic storm damage, according to FEMA. The majority of people living in damaged areas were in the City of New Orleans (over 350,000), with additional concentrations in suburban Jefferson Parish (175,000) and St. Bernard Parish (53,000) and along the Mississippi Coast (54,000).

2. In the region as a whole, the disparities in storm damage are shown in the following comparisons (arranged in order of the degree of disparity):
  • By race. Damaged areas were 45.8% black, compared to 26.4% in undamaged areas.
  • By housing tenure. 45.7% of homes in damaged areas were occupied by renters, compared to 30.9% in undamaged communities.
  • By poverty and employment status. 20.9% of households had incomes below the poverty line in damaged areas, compared to 15.3% in undamaged areas. 7.6% of persons in the labor force were unemployed in damaged areas (before the storm), compared to 6.0% in undamaged areas.
3. These comparisons are heavily influenced by the experience of the City of New Orleans. Outside the city, there were actually smaller shares of African American, poor, and unemployed residents in the damaged areas.

4. Closer inspection of neighborhoods within New Orleans shows that some affluent white neighborhoods were hard hit, while some poor minority neighborhoods were spared. Yet if the post-Katrina city were limited to the population previously living in areas that were undamaged by the storm – that is, if nobody were able to return to damaged neighborhoods – New Orleans is at risk of losing more than 80% of its black population. This means that policy choices affecting who can return, to which neighborhoods, and with what forms of public and private assistance, will greatly affect the future character of the city.
The study was picked up by the New York Times and the L.A. Times.

The project, formally called "Katrina and the Built Environment: Spatial and Social Impacts," also provides fantastically detailed, interactive maps of the affected areas of the Gulf Coast.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Katrina Death Toll At 1,417

Robert Lindsay:
The death toll from Hurricane Katrina climbed sharply on January 24, with the addition of 25 new deaths to the count, 23 in Louisiana and two in Mississippi, according to several news articles published on that date in the The New Orleans Times-Picayune (two articles), The Birmingham News, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Louisiana Weekly and The Insurance Journal.

That puts the new death toll over the 1,400 mark for the first time, at 1,417, up from 1,392 on January 17, a week before. [...]

Note that there are still around 3,200 people missing from Hurricane Katrina as of January 18, and possibly 5-10% of these may be dead.
I.e., another 160 fatalities may still not have been found. Click through for links to the various newspapers Lindsay cites.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

September Morn Galleries

This is a link to photos taken by my godmother, Coleen Perilloux Landry. She is a lifelong resident of Louisiana who suffered major damage to her home. Aside from the damage to her personal property, the city she has known and loved is no more. As are others who have known and loved the great Crescent City, she is suffering emotionally in the aftermath of Katrina. Her photos are part of the healing process:

Saturday, January 07, 2006

No Time to Give Up

Lindsay of Majikthise reflects on her trip to NOLA:

There was talk of a new New Deal for the entire Gulf Coast. Media watchers claimed that Katrina had awakened the obsequious press and ushered in a new era of aggressively critical journalism. People perched on cots in shelters talked animatedly about how they would rebuild their community--stronger, safer, fairer.

In retrospect, these projections seem naive. New Orleans drowned on Bush's terms. Now, it seems that the city will be rebuilt as another massive experiment in Republican crony capitalism: deregulation, cheap labor, environmental disregard, broken promises of assistance.

It's easy to be bitter about the situation on the Gulf Coast, but we can't afford to give up. The bad news is that the reconstruction process will take years. The good news is that we have time to turn the process around. We can only hope that the 2006 elections will begin to dismantle Republican power.

The links in the excerpt are Lindsay's. She found some good stories that you simply won't see explored in the corporate media.