Sandy: Katrina Redux?
Sandy shaping up to be Katrina redux.
by Stephen Lendman
On August 29, 2005, New Orleans was woefully unprotected. It wasn't accidental. It was planned.
In early 2001, FEMA predicted the three most likely US disasters. They included a terrorist attack on New York, a major San Francisco earthquake, and a hurricane and flood in New Orleans.
Shaped like a bowl below sea level, unprotected areas didn't have a chance. Predatory capitalism took full advantage. Vulnerable poor Black communities suffered most.
Levees were deliberately left weak. They were no match for hurricane strength winds. They reached landfall as a Category 3. Then Congressman Richard Baker said, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it but God did."
At the time, Common Ground Relief (CGR) co-founder Malik Rahim said:
"They wanted them poor niggers out of there and they ain't had no intention to allow it to be reopened to no poor niggers, you know? And that's just the bottom line."
Ethnic cleansing was long-planned. Katrina erased poor neighborhoods. Upscale condos and other high-profit projects on choice city land replaced them.
Developers took full advantage. Political New Orleans and Bush administration officials provided generous support.
Most displaced Blacks weren't allowed back. They were no match for corporate predators and complicit politicians.
Lower Ninth Ward residents drew national attention. Floodwaters displaced them. Much of the area remains desolate. Around 85% of the population was displaced. Other Black areas suffered the same way.
Choice areas were redeveloped. Others were left barren. Residents got little help. For-profit projects were prioritized.
In August 2012, Loyola University New Orleans Law Professor/Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Bill Quigley headlined "Katrina Pain Index 2012: Seven Years Later," saying:
New Orleans has the world's highest prison rate. "Louisiana imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of the other 50 states."