Race And Class In Katrina's Aftermath

"I would start with Homeland Security because Homeland Security got off the hook and they really should not have. Homeland Security, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and then you get down to city and local government because city and local government has the least power and the least amount of money. The federal government is just now moving money into the state and I really believe that the way the money is coming down favors political parties, Mississippi has just gotten more money and faster pace than Louisiana has which is the only Southern Democratic state left with a Democratic Governor. When you look at the amount of money Mississippi got compared to Louisiana, we had the most damage but Mississippi and Louisiana got the same amount of money. Now how does that make sense? The only sense you can make of that is that their political connections make a difference, and Mississippi has a Republican Governor that Governor was able to get more money than a Democratic Governor.

"We could all hold each others hands and say we shall overcome but you know that hasn't worked yet, and I'm being funny because it's just so difficult. First of all, I think so much of the way that we've been responded to is based on stereotypes of inferiority as it relates to African Americans. Nobody is dealing with the reality of the situation. People are just saying oh those people can't handle money. Mayor Nagin is not Mayor Guiliani, he's not being treated the same as Guiliani. They're trying to find all kinds of ways to side step our governing bodies here. They decided that everything that we did is corrupt which is not true and because of that many mistakes are being made. The people here have more faith in their own city council person that they can go to and say what's going on? Black people have always known that waiting on the federal government could be hazardous for your health, and they're proving it to be right, it's been no different. Had this happen in a place where the census track was a little different in terms of race I believe there would have been a better response, I really do. No one can make me believe that this would have happened in a very wealthy part of the country, you know where very rich white people live, like Manhattan, it never would have happened. And there's no comparison between the devastation from 9-11 and what happened here.

If we start treating everybody as Americans and as human beings and not basing it on stereotypes about race and class we might get a different response.

ANNE RICE

Novelist

I haven't been back since the storm. But I do receive constant reports first hand from people, through email, on the phone, and in person. What I hear is this: New Orleans is still a disaster area. People of all races and classes are suffering because the rebuilding is moving too slow, insurance companies are sluggish or non responsive, government red tape is creating a huge and unnecessary and demoralizing burden, and laws regarding new building or rebuilding are too confusing or simply not in place at all. Yet the people of New Orleans continue to show incredible love for their city and incredible courage. They simply will not give up on the efforts to restore New Orleans.

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