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The Katrina Pain Index, 2012

August 24, 2012

This article by Bill Quigley and Davida Finger is re-posted from CounterPunch.

1 Rank of New Orleans in fastest growing US cities between 2010 and 2011.  Source: Census Bureau.

1 Rank of New Orleans, Louisiana in world prison rate.  Louisiana imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of the other 50 states.  Louisiana rate is five times higher than Iran, 13 times higher than China and 20 times Germany.  In Louisiana, one in 86 adults is in prison.  In New Orleans, one in 14 black men is behind bars.  In New Orleans, one of every seven black men is in prison, on parole or on probation.  Source: Times-Picayune.

2 Rank of New Orleans in rate of homelessness among US cities.  Source: 2012 Report of National Alliance to End Homelessness. 

2   Rank of New Orleans in highest income inequality for cities of over 10,000   Source: Census.  

3 Days a week the New Orleans daily paper, the Times-Picayune, will start publishing and delivering the paper this fall and switch to internet only on other days.  (See 44 below).  Source: The Times-Picayune.

10 Rate that New Orleans murders occur compared to US average.  According to FBI reports, the national average is 5 murders per 100,000.  The Louisiana average is 12 per 100,000.  The New Orleans reported 175 murders last year or 50 murders per 100,000 residents.  Source: WWL TV.

13 Rank of New Orleans in FBI overall crime rate rankings.  Source: Congressional Quarterly. 

15 Number of police officer-involved shootings in New Orleans so far in 2012.  In all of 2011 there were 16.  Source: Independent Police Monitor.

21 Percent of all residential addresses in New Orleans that are abandoned or blighted.   There were 35,700 abandoned or blighted homes and empty lots in New Orleans (21% of all residential addresses), a reduction from 43,755 in 2010 (when it was 34% of all addresses).  Compare to Detroit (24%), Cleveland (19%), and Baltimore (14%).  Source: Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC).

27 Percent of people in New Orleans live in poverty.  The national rate is 15%.  Among African American families the rate is 30% and for white families it is 8%.  Source: Corporation for Enterprise Development (CEFD) and Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC) Assets & Opportunity Profile: New Orleans (August 2012).

33 Percent of low income mothers in New Orleans study who were still suffering Post Traumatic Stress symptoms five years after Katrina.  Source: Princeton University Study.  

34 Bus routes in New Orleans now.  There were 89 before Katrina. Source: RTA data.

37 Percent of New Orleans families that are “asset poor” or lack enough assets to survive for three months without income.  The rate is 50% for black households, 40% for Latino household, 24% for Asian household and 22% for white households.  Source: Corporation for Enterprise Development (CEFD) and Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC) Assets & Opportunity Profile: New Orleans (August 2012)

40 Percent of poor adults in New Orleans region that work. One quarter of these people work full-time and still remain poor.  Source: GNOCDC.  

42 Percent of the children in New Orleans who live in poverty. The rate for black children is 65 percent compared to less than 1 percent for whites.  Source: Census.

44 Rank of Louisiana among the 50 states in broadband internet access.  New Orleans has 40 to 60 percent access.  Source: The Lens.

60 Percent of New Orleans which is African American.  Before Katrina the number was 67.  Source: GNOCDC. 

60 Percent of renters in New Orleans are paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities, up from 51 percent in 2004.  Source: GNOCDC.

68 Percent of public school children in New Orleans who attend schools that pass state standards.  In 2003-2004 it was 28 percent.  Source: GNOCDC.  

75 Percent of public school students in New Orleans who are enrolled in charter schools.  Source: Wall Street Journal.    This is the highest percentage in the US by far, with District of Columbia coming in second at 39 percent.  Sources: Wall Street Journal and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

76 Number of homes rebuilt by Make It Right Foundation.  Source: New York Times.  

123,934 Fewer people in New Orleans now than in 2000.  The Census reported the 2011 population of New Orleans source as 360,740.  The 2000 population was 484,674.  Source: Census.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 24, 2012 4:25 pm

    I’m glad to see you covering the Katrina legacy (though NOLA was impoverished before that and damaged by other significant storms from which it hadn’t totally recovered). Not to take away from 911, but I was saddened to see so much $ and attention put into the Sept. 11 memorial and Katrina was treated like a blip on the radar. I believe the US has abandoned NOLA just like Michigan has abandoned Detroit. Interestingly, both are predominantly black communities.

    We have kids living in both areas (Detroit and La.) and we’ve observed a lot in both communities. We visited the Lower 9th Ward and other Katrina-afflicted areas in June 2011 and July, 2012. The Garden District flourishes, while entire blocks in the lower ninth are empty save of head-high weeds and crumbling concrete. I saw an older man carefully cutting his grass next door to a blighted home. Our daughter had trouble navigating the streets as they were so torn up. Yet people survive. And though they don’t have as many buses, there is an inexpensive trolley system (it doesn’t go all the way into the poorer areas, though).

    It incenses me when people say NOLA residents should have evacuated. Where were they to go if they didn’t have a vehicle? The only way out is via a steep narrow heavily traveled bridge (Molly says people were trying to climb this with strollers, wheelchairs and babes in arms). There is no sidewalk so they had to navigate cars trying to get out. It’s horrific to imagine.

    Contrasting NOLA to Grand River and Detroit, I see more poverty in Detroit because more people are living and functioning in and around the destruction. For example, grocery stories and a library on E. Grand River, look abandoned but people use them. Also, the homes in Detroit are much larger and can be converted to house many people. Property is available for $5,000 and groups of students and single people share rent. Most homes in NOLA were tiny–more like wooden single-wide mobile homes.

    Our son lives in Midtown but wants to move to southwest Detroit because he doesn’t like the gentrification of Midtown. He objects to the notion that the wealthy are “revitalizing” Detroit. Even the urban garden thing is a (white) yuppie shtick. People have been surviving and adapting to poverty and job loss for decades. This isn’t about race (except government oppression of African Americans). It’s about loss of jobs (via the auto industry in Detroit and bad government coupled with lack of resources to protect against hurricanes in NOLA).

    Thank you for letting me share. Here’s an article I wrote contrasting 911 and Katrina.

    Here’s good video, too–


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