After almost 7 weeks since Katrina came upon shore and shook up the Gulf States like a good margarita in a shaker glass, many people cannot comprehend why this type of disaster can happen here in the US. Well, perhaps many of the liberals who still blame GWB for the hurricane are too afraid to admit the reality of what was New Orleans. New Orleans was populated by a large under-educated, under-employed population in a state that is among the poorest in the lower 48. The racism that ran rapid in the south prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevails today, only in an economic sense. The poverty stricken blacks who constitute 66% of New Orleans population had a day-to day existence similar to those living in third world nations. With approx. 25% unemployment among black men, despair has been commonplace in the region for years. New Orleans had the highest murder rate in the nation and one of the highest crime rates of any large city. As a tourist, I realized this early on during my stay in New Orleans. It was a great two day city if you watched your back. If you didn’t, you invited trouble.
The pictures that we saw on television and the stories we read about the social conditions after Katrina stuck were horrifying, but not shocking. Poverty is an everyday existence for many Americans, ethnicity notwithstanding. Perhaps many of us live in a bubble, but this continues to be a major issue that perpetually goes unaddressed by those with the resources (gov’t, educators and big business) to make the situation better. Entitlement programs are not the answer. Tax dollars targeted towards education is the first step in the right direction.
Katrina woke up this country from an idllyic slumber and showed the nightmare that has existed for some time. Instead of blaming GWB, lets face the issue of economic segregation head-on and find the solution now. No time better than the present.
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