From what I hear, the city remains largely in disarray today. This is tragic.
As everyone admits, the storm pulled back the curtain on the poverty of the city. The storm set us up for a national embarassment.
The fact is many urban areas in our nation today contain a "New Orleans" just beneath the surface. Poverty in our cities is persistant, pervasive and perilous.
The J. McDonald Williams Institute, the research arm of the Foundation for Community Empowerment, has published a comparison of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward with the Frazier community here in Dallas. Katrina wiped the Lower Ninth Ward off the map, a section populated by the city's poorest residents. The Frazier community here in Dallas rates as one of our poorest areas.
How do the two neighborhoods compare?
The Lower Ninth Ward (LNW) 98.4% African American
City of New Orleans (NO) 66.6% African American
Frazier Community (FC) 71.8% African American
City of Dallas (DAL) 23.8% African American
13% less for FC than for city of Dallas
10% higher for LNW than for NO
Families below poverty line LNW 32.77%
Families below poverty line NO 24.23%
Families below poverty line FC 33.25%
Families below poverty line DAL 12.53%
58.6% for LNW
62.6% for Frazier
40% of LNW adults lack high school diploma
25% of NO adults lack high school diploma
60% of Frazier adults lack high school diploma
26% of DAL adults lack high school diploma
Viewing the situation in Dallas through this data, it is clear that our problems are every bit as challenging, and then some, as those facing New Orleans before the hurricane struck. Further, the gap between residents of the Frazier community and the general populace in Dallas is greater than the gap between residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and the general poplulace in New Orleans prior to the terrible storm.
Poverty in America is a real problem across our urban landscape.
"New Orleans" is everywhere.