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Who really died at New Orleans, and how many?

Katrina Post-Katrina

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#1 Delvo

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:45 AM

I heard a quick little news snippet a few days ago that it turns out that not only did far fewer people die than the tens of thousands we kept hearing would (of course), with a total of several hundred, but also that the victims are disproportionately white, more than the percentage in the city's pre-hurricane population. After all the wailing at the time about racism and how obvious it was that victims would be practically all black and the reason the response wasn't better was because it was only a bunch of black people nobody else cared about in there, this news seems rather inconvenient to some; it's gone virtually unreported in the main news sources, leaving it not only un-talked-about but even apparently pretty much unknown in the general population and here as well.

#2 Eskaminzim

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:48 AM

Last I heard, it was in the 1500-2000 range and the dead were mostly black, so I can't help ya there.

#3 Godeskian

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:49 AM

I know i haven't seen anything mentioned about New Orleans on the British news in some time, but i'm not sure I find that surprising. Even when it happened it was big, but not all important.

Let me see what I can find. :)

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#4 QueenTiye

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:57 AM

http://www.cnsnews.c...T20051214b.html

Quote

Statistics Suggest Race Not a Factor in Katrina Deaths
By Nathan Burchfiel
CNSNews.com Correspondent
December 14, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans.

Liberals in the aftermath of the storm were quick to allege that the Bush administration delayed its response to the catastrophe because most of the victims were black.

And yes, there was a disproportionate representation of deceased, according to the report (not by much, but yes, disproportionate):

Quote

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.

So - blacks still were the majority of the victims, but there was a statistical disproportion in racial make-up of the deceased.

Of course, it was my understanding that the problems of Katrina were not (mostly) about race, but about economic status - poor people were stuck.  And we have yet to account for the full extent of damage done - dieing is one way to be victimized, being displaced, in some cases permanently, is another, and the one I'm more worried about NOW is people who are displaced and cannot recover economically.

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#5 offworlder

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:06 PM

I wonder if maybe some older white folk were living close to the lake when the floods came in from there and swept across, and they unlike the younger yuppie types couldn't get out in luxury suvs in time

I also wonder if many old folk in the rest homes, those not evac'd and died, were white?

about the poor large numbers: I got a lot out of that recent show, think it was 60 minutes three days ago, showing that town of Gretna police chief supported by mayor barring access into town from the bridge from NO because a thousands of people over 90pct black were crossing and they feared criminal/looter/unsafe elements. eye opening show, you feel for the town trying to save selves from unknown but also for the people who just wanted to get the heck outta dodge with NO flooding and no resources: and even though the town said they had no resources, the people would have accepted just being out of the city as their biggest resource, rest up, then move on past that town.
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#6 Cardie

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:49 PM

A report I read said most of those who died were either over 65 or chronically ill/disabled.  That was a more telling indicator than race.

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#7 The Oncoming Storm

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:05 PM

^Kinda like that nursing home in St. Bernard's Parish.  Some 50+ people died 'cause those runnin' the home wouldn't get them out in time and they all drowned after the levees broke.

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#8 Shoshana

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 01:08 AM

Interesting about the percentages.

Alot of people drowned in St Bernard Parish - alot were people who'd lived there thru many hurricanes - and figured they'd be fine.

Correct me if I'm wrong - but I don't think the levees failing and causing Lake Ponchatrain to flow into NO were the cause of the St Bernard Parish flooding - I think that was storm surge from Katrina. Or maybe different levees breaking. I know the Plaquemines Parish flooding was ocean water...

Have they ever gotten any kind of figure on the number of missing - especially in Mississippi? Because I have read accounts of fishermen finding dead cows floating miles offshore and it stands to reason that people were also sucked out to sea.

#9 Spectacles

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 06:35 AM

http://en.wikipedia....l_.28summary.29
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#10 Spectacles

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 06:58 AM

The low number (a few hundred) apparently refers to the numbers of bodies released to families for burial. Bodies found thus far in LA are over a thousand, and they're still finding them:

http://www.katc.com/...y.asp?S=4226110

In addition, there are still thousands of missing people--five thousand by one estimate. Most will turn up alive, but estimates are that a small percentage will be found dead.

So it's really too early for NewsMax and Brent Bozell and Michelle Malkin to declare anything definitive about the racial demographics. I'd imagine that more black people died in New Orleans proper and more white people died in suburban NO. But that's just a guess based on the usual racial distribution in American cities.

Most of the storm's victims thus far do seem to be over 60--white and black.

I honestly haven't thought much about Katrina lately because it's been too painful to think about. Awful isn't it. There are people still going through hell down there and I've got my head in the sand because I feel overwhelmed by it a thousand miles away.

I'd like to think that the storm's victims are all happily settled here and there, they've mourned their dead, and are getting along with their lives. That's just not the case.

What disturbed me most in the information on the dead is how few have been released to families. I'm not blaming anyone because I don't know enough about it. But it's awful to think of having to wait months for some kind of closure while your loved ones' bodies lie in cold storage. That's emotionally gruesome.
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#11 Natolii

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 07:37 AM

Race was the issue, not because people died, but because people were viewing the rescues and the people left behind.

My friend is still sharing a 2 bedroom trailer with another friend that took her family in.
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#12 Delvo

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 11:35 AM

Yes, and they were viewing it all on TV images taken from cameras that just happened to be pointing at black people not 40% or 60% of the time but practically 100%. I wonder how they just happened to end up getting those images and putting them up everywhere :sarcasm:, given how much less of the population there was actually black than they led us to believe.

But there actually could be racial significance (of the kind that's bad for black people) in the victim demographic data anyway, in a more hidden form: the high ages of the victims could be the reason why it's leaning toward the white, because white people are more likely than black ones to get to such high ages in the first place...

#13 Mel

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 01:49 PM

Natolii, on Dec 22 2005, 06:37 AM, said:

My friend is still sharing a 2 bedroom trailer with another friend that took her family in.

That's common.  Most of my family lives outside Baton Rouge.  My brother-in-law's job takes him to people's houses (he works for Terminex) and he's still seeing multiple families living in single family homes.  

Quote

I'd like to think that the storm's victims are all happily settled here and there, they've mourned their dead, and are getting along with their lives. That's just not the case.


Yesterday I read a short article in the Houston Chronicle.

Quote

HOUSTON ó No lights ring the rooftop. No Christmas tree beckons holiday well-wishers through the living room window. No wreath adorns the front door.

For Cheryl Lee and the thousands of others who fled the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, those little traditions that make each family's Christmas its own were washed away, turning the weeks before Dec. 25 into a bittersweet season.

"If I was in New Orleans right now, I already would have got presents for one of my kids. The house would have been decorated," Lee said as the tears began. "Not too much, some simple stuff. Just make it a warm, cozy Christmas for me and my children."

Quote

For others, gathering the family for the holidays will be impossible this year. Shaleta Sudds' family is scattered across four states, so the large family gatherings of the past won't happen.

"I'm not putting up a tree this year," said Sudds' cousin, Yvonne Washington. "It just doesn't feel right."

Sudds is taking her 14-year-old son to New Orleans to visit his father. But she's not looking forward to the trip, and doesn't know if she will ever return again.

"It's hard," she said. "You know a lot of people that died, that drowned, and a lot of people who lost everything."

I can't imagine trying to have Christmas under these circumstances.  Or worse, having Christmas when you still don't know what has happened to your family members.  The scope of the disaster is still so overwhelming.

Edited to add the link to the article if anyone wants to read it.  Holiday Cheer in Short Supply for Refugees

Edited by Mel, 22 December 2005 - 01:52 PM.


#14 Mel

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 02:05 PM

Shoshana said:

Quote

Correct me if I'm wrong - but I don't think the levees failing and causing Lake Ponchatrain to flow into NO were the cause of the St Bernard Parish flooding - I think that was storm surge from Katrina. Or maybe different levees breaking. I know the Plaquemines Parish flooding was ocean water...

I don't know the details, but the St. Bernard levees are different levees.  I think they're state levees not US Corp of Engineers.  My brother was called up (he's in the National Guard) for a week a couple of days before Katrina.  He was released from active duty this week (long seven days). One of his jobs had something to do with trying to rebuild some levees in St. Bernard's Parish.  These are basically stop-gap levees to finish drying out the parish. He doesn't think they'd do much if a real storm came through.

I'm worried about next hurricane season.  It's supposed to have above average activity as well.  I don't see how they can have the levees repaired in time if there's another N.O. strike next season.  Seems like all this rebuilding and drying out could be wiped out in a matter of months if there is a strike next year--it wouldn't have to be a Katrina level storm considering how weakened the levees are.

Mel

#15 darthsikle

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 02:09 PM

Dude, that's so 2005.
Goodbye.

#16 The Oncoming Storm

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 11:56 PM

darthsikle, on Dec 22 2005, 01:09 PM, said:

Dude, that's so 2005.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If you mean, "It's been one helluva year," DS, then you're right.  It has been one helluva year.  One I think many, includin' myself, coulda lived without.

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#17 Omega

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 01:44 AM

Quote

I can't imagine trying to have Christmas under these circumstances.

It can be done.

#18 Balderdash

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 06:03 AM

I live in St Tammany Parish which was hit pretty hard, we're just the other side of Lake Pontchartrain from NO.  Specs article is closer to the truth about the dead from Katrina in Louisiana.  They either still don't know the actual number or they're not ready to tell us.  But it was way more than it should have been.

Quote

From Specs: So it's really too early for NewsMax and Brent Bozell and Michelle Malkin to declare anything definitive about the racial demographics. I'd imagine that more black people died in New Orleans proper and more white people died in suburban NO. But that's just a guess based on the usual racial distribution in American cities.

That would be a really good guess and the most accurate.

ST Bernards Parish was crushed by a wall of water.  Their levees couldn't handle the size of the storm surge.

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#19 Spectacles

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 08:12 AM

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Delvo: Yes, and they were viewing it all on TV images taken from cameras that just happened to be pointing at black people not 40% or 60% of the time but practically 100%. I wonder how they just happened to end up getting those images and putting them up everywhere sarcasm.gif, given how much less of the population there was actually black than they led us to believe.

As I recall, the two hotspots in NO were the Superdome and the Convention Center. That's where we were getting most of the images because there was considerable concern that people who had gathered at those locations weren't being rescued. Most of the people in both locations were black, but I don't think the media lingered on those two locations because there were black people there. I think they did so because there were PEOPLE there--people in dire need.

Along the Mississipi coast, most of the residents were white. They were equally distressed. And their stories were told, too, at least by Anderson Cooper. It's just that they were upstaged by the horror of a major U.S. city being under water--and that's not just the media's fault but our own. How many of us think New Orleans when we hear Katrina but forget the devastation along the Mississippi coast? I don't think it's because we have an agenda.

Edited by Spectacles, 23 December 2005 - 08:12 AM.

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#20 Cheile

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 04:14 AM

(FYI this is NOT, i repeat NOT, directed at anyone here.  this is my general statement/reply)

i get so tired of hearing the racial arguments in general on this subject.  PEOPLE DIED, period!!  white, black, biracial, purple, red, whatever.  race should not matter or even be discussed.

however, i still feel that those who WERE able to leave should have left rather than stay there and complain that they had no way out.  no car?  hell--i would have walked.  at least then i would have tried to save my skin.  but that is a topic for another time.

but i mourn for all those who died regardless of their status.  the fault really lies with whatever idiot(s) didn't build those levees properly.

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