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Fritz Feds

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What's that Kanye?

Information released by the state of Louisiana this week pretty much eviscerates any claim that the response to Hurricane Katrina was affected by race or that African Americans were disproportionately harmed.  There’s an article on it here, but here’s the gist of it all:

“But the state's demographic information suggests that whites in New Orleans died at a higher rate than minorities. According to the 2000 census, whites make up 28 percent of the city's population, but the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals indicates that whites constitute 36.6 percent of the storm's fatalities in the city.African-Americans make up 67.25 percent of the population and 59.1 percent of the deceased. Other minorities constitute approximately 5 percent of the population and represented 4.3 percent of the storm's fatalities.”    

UPDATE: Oh, there’s also this.


I'm not sure how that information eviscerates any claim that the response was affected by race. The argument I heard was that, since New Orleans is a predominantly black city and Louisiana a Democratic state, emergency response simply wasn't as high a priority as in, say, Florida a year ago when the state was practically overrun with assistance even prior to the hurricane's arrival. The statistics you cite don't really address that contention.
The circumastances in Flordia and Louisiana were very different, the flooding especially. While pointing fingers right now over who wouldn't let who do what when is pretty much pointless, I do think that these stats dispute the "hurricane relief slow: African Americans hit hardest" headlines. More people were affected by Katrina because it was, well, a bigger storm. I don't really consider Louisiana a Democratic state, the have one Senator from each party, 4 of 7 in Congress are R's, they do have a D governor (and I'll say it for you, she's not the President's brother). Florida's senators are also split, 17 out of 25 R's in Congress, slightly higher percentage wise than Louisiana.
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