Monday, August 29, 2005

Criminal Policy

    Joseph Barnes, who is homeless, stands in the nearly deserted French Quarter with his cat Patches. Barnes said he was not allowed to enter the Superdome shelter with his cat, because pets were not permitted in the shelter. He said he was unsure where he would spend the night. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) from the LA Times

And in another attempt to discourage the poor from seeking refuge, the New York Times reports "On Sunday outside the Superdome, which holds 70,000 people, security forces searched everyone entering for drugs, weapons and other contraband."

More from The Guardian:

    The Dome was set up as a divided safe haven, with one side of the facility for the disabled and medically ill, where food and water and emergency personnel were plentiful, officials said. For the masses of residents, however, there was the other side, where all that was provided was a concrete stadium built for athletes and spectators.

Update 9/30 More and worse along the same lines here

Update 9/31 Class, Race, Iraq and Katrina in the Village Voice has possibly the best overall analysis.
    That is the physical damage as of now. Then there will be Katrina's more far-reaching harm, caused by the ways in which the Gulf South is part of the Caribbean Rim. The city of New Orleans has a 34 percent poverty rate, triple the national average. It's about 70 percent black. White flight, first to Jefferson Parish and then across Lake Pontchartrain, to the North Shore, has accomplished the desired aim of de facto segregation in the public schools, which are 93 percent black in Orleans Parish and some of the worst in the country...

    This stuff is bad and it's only going to get worse. To belabor the obvious, a lot of the people who stayed did so because they didn't have the money to leave. An estimated hundred thousand had no cars. Many didn't have jobs in the first place, and now they don't have homes, and there's plenty of stored-up resentment to go around. The city government cleared out Tuesday night, leaving a sinking ship...

    Finally, thousands of National Guardsmen and women can't be there to help their neighbors. Forty percent of Mississippi's National Guard force and 35 percent of Louisiana's are in Iraq, totaling around 6,000 troops. They took a lot of equipment with them that would be pretty useful right now—high water vehicles, Humvees, refuelers, and generators. A general warned early this month that this might be a problem in event of a natural disaster.


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