The real story behind Katarina
September 4, 2005 1:30 AM Subscribe
The real disaster in New Orleans. David Aaronovitch of the London Times observes, "It isn’t the failure to act in New Orleans that is the story here, it’s the sheer, uninsured, uncared for, self-disenfranchised scale of the poverty that lies revealed. It looks like a scene from the Third World because that’s the truth. It’s a quiet disaster that ’s been going on for years." The truth is the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans has a poverty level of 36.4 percent. A quarter of households have an annual income of less than $10,000, while half live on less than $20,000. Over half of the population in the ward is categorized as “not in the labor force,” mainly because they have ceased looking for work. The truth is that even on a normal day, New Orleans is a sad city. "Sure, tourists think New Orleans is fun: you can drink and hop from strip club to strip club all night on Bourbon Street, and gamble all your money away at Harrah’s. But the city’s decline over the past three decades has left it impoverished and lacking the resources to build its economy from within. New Orleans can’t take care of itself even when it is not 80 percent underwater." The National Review is already blaming it - predictably - on the breakdown of the family. Conservatives in America are already dismissing the problem, as they have for years. But to those outside the United States, the scale of poverty in the world's richest country comes as a shock.
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