Hurricane Katrina: Aspects of the disaster, published by Indymedia, United States
The city has a 40% illiteracy rate. New Orleans Police Department officers, who have been accused of drug running, corruption and theft, were ‘caught’ on videotape looting a Wal-Mart.
The Arizona Republic reported that its local sheriffs “watched New Orleans police officers loading their patrol cars with items taken from various businesses, a couple of pharmacies, a hardware store, an auto-parts store and a grocery store.”
The Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming.
There are many first-hand reports of relief organizations being refused entry into the city. The Red Cross’ official website explains “The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request– that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.”
New Orleans is the only deepwater port in the US served by six class-one railroads. None of these were used to take people out of the city. Tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees was halted because of President Bush’s visit to the city. “We had arrangements to airlift food by helicopter to these folks, and now the food is sitting in trucks because they won’t let helicopters fly,” said Casey O’Shea, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon’s chief of staff. It was not reported whether the supplies ever actually made it to those who most needed it.
Private military companies have been employed to guard the property of the city’s millionaires from looters. “As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.”