October 23, 2005

THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW CASUALTY EXPECTATIONS:

Grim Map Details Toll In 9th Ward and Beyond: Katrina Proved Deadly in Every Section of New Orleans (Ceci Connolly and Manuel Roig-Franzia, 10/23/05, Washington Post)

Nearly two months after Hurricane Katrina savaged this city, demographers have come to a chilling conclusion: No part of New Orleans was untouched by death. Bodies have been found in every neighborhood in the city, from the pitiably engulfed Lower Ninth Ward to the nouveau riche mansions in Lakeview, from the sodden neighborhoods along the city's Industrial Canal to the elegant Garden District.

The mapping by researchers at Louisiana State University, using preliminary data from the state's temporary morgue in a warehouse 40 miles north of here, gives the first look at the still opaque matter of where people died during Katrina. Information about the dead has only begun to trickle out, delayed by the massive challenges of identifying decayed bodies, by complications related to notifying scattered relatives and by too few forensic experts to perform autopsies.

The city's two worst-hit neighborhoods, the data show, were the Lower Ninth Ward, the predominantly black, working-class community east of the French Quarter, and Gentilly, a fast-gentrifying area where homeownership rates among middle-class blacks had been rising before the storm. Each neighborhood accounted for 31 to 75 deaths, according to the mapping data, which assigned a range of deaths for each region of the city, rather than an exact figure.

More surprising were the high death figures in upscale neighborhoods once considered less vulnerable to flooding deaths because residents had the means to escape, particularly along Lake Pontchartrain in Lakeview, a predominantly white neighborhood where 21 to 30 bodies were recovered on streets where homes routinely sell for $1 million. Nearly all of Lakeview is uninhabitable, and several thousand residents, most relocated to neighboring cities or states, gathered Saturday in a church parking lot to seek answers about a recovery process expected to take years.


There's nothing more egalitarian than the distribution of stupidity and unpreparedness in human society.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2005 10:04 AM
Comments

Low lying riverfront lands have historically been the location for the poorest neighborhoods, while the wealthy occupied the high ground. But the wealthy also enjoy the lakefront and oceanfront properties. It is all a part of Nature's balance.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at October 23, 2005 11:46 AM

Intellegence, common sense and the ability to make/inherit money are quite often competely disconnected from each other.

Posted by: John at October 23, 2005 11:48 AM

Especially the inherit part. The effects of inbreeding aren't limited to West Virginia and Arkansas, but can also be found on Beacon Hill, in the Hamptons and in Hollywood.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 23, 2005 1:29 PM

Well obviously, George Bush must be oppressing the rich. The million millionaire march in DC will speak truth to power.

Posted by: Gideon at October 23, 2005 1:53 PM

Why is Katrina still being blamed for the disaster when it's been clearly shown that it wasn't an act of God that destroyed the city, but an act of unimaginable human incompetence and folly?

Posted by: tefta at October 23, 2005 7:50 PM

tefta:

When do we ever blame ourselves for anything?

Posted by: oj at October 23, 2005 7:53 PM

Great post title.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 1:31 AM
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