December 18, 2005


Katrina Killed Across Class Lines: The well-to-do died along with the poor, an analysis of data shows. The findings counter common beliefs that disadvantaged blacks bore the brunt. (Nicholas Riccardi, Doug Smith and David Zucchino, December 18, 2005, LA Times)

The bodies of New Orleans residents killed by Hurricane Katrina were almost as likely to be recovered from middle-class neighborhoods as from the city's poorer districts, such as the Lower 9th Ward, according to a Times analysis of data released by the state of Louisiana.

The analysis contradicts what swiftly became conventional wisdom in the days after the storm hit — that it was the city's poorest African American residents who bore the brunt of the hurricane. Slightly more than half of the bodies were found in the city's poorer neighborhoods, with the remainder scattered throughout middle-class and even some richer districts.

"The fascinating thing is that it's so spread out," said Joachim Singelmann, director of the Louisiana Population Data Center at Louisiana State University. "It's not just the Lower 9th Ward or New Orleans East, which everybody has heard about. It's across the board, including some well-to-do neighborhoods."

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2005 8:06 AM

Hurricane Wilma wrecked my 180 home community. We're victims of cheap 1980s construction. Knowing victims.

Aside from CAT 3 proof new homes, guess who make out best? Hispanics in those old cinder block houses. They shrugged this storm off fast. Condo Critter Radio was whining for days about no ice at FEMA centers 24 hrs after Wilma hit. Latino stations played music.

Posted by: David at December 18, 2005 8:52 AM

The fact that older construction had higher tolerance standards in general isn't surprising, since as the techniques for gauging the minimum levels of tolerance have become more precise, builders have moved closer to that line, because it cuts costs.

Ground Zero in New York is the perfect example. The New York Telephone (Verizon) and federal buildings on the north side of the site came through the collapse of Tower 2 across the street with relatively minor damage, while the far newer WTC 7 building erected in-between those two structures collapsed as a result of the debris falling from Tower 2.

Posted by: John at December 18, 2005 11:01 AM

Now John, we all know that Bush ordered the demolition of WTC-7.

Posted by: Justin at December 18, 2005 7:26 PM

Commentary ran a good article about this in their latest issue. As might be expected, the media looked at the Superdome and insinuated that the Bush administration kept supplies away because the affected parties were all minority grouops. Well, as OJ says: Surprise, turns out that irreponsibility and unpreparedness cut across racial boundaries.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 19, 2005 1:31 AM