Hurricane Katrina leaves New Orleans’ poor out in the storm

By Sam Johns

New Orleans (BNW) —
While whites and the well-off Blacks got the hell out of town, poor Blacks and whites in New Orleans who were too poor to leave, had to wait out hurricane Katrina in the Superdome.

As New Orleans braced itself for one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the US, it's a shame how the poor in the city were left to fend for themselves. Consider this; if you are Black and still in News Orleans, and can't swim, then them crackers have left you up shit's creek!

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the low-lying southern city, or taken shelter on higher ground, amid fears of major flooding. The nightmare after the storm brought what some whites called looting, but it was not looting as the media tried to portray, it was desperate Black people trying to get food and water to survive the unsurvivable.

Although the storm has been downgraded from category five to four, sustained winds were still reaching 155mph (250km/h) as it reached the coast.

Winds of up to 71mph (114km/h) have already been recorded in New Orleans.

Even before the storm reached Grand Isle, off the Louisiana coast, gusts of up to 91mph (146km/h) were recorded there.

Hurricanes are extremely unpredictable, but forecasters said the storm could still strengthen as it approaches New Orleans.

Mayor Ray Nagin has said he believed 80% of the city's 485,000 residents have heeded his order for a mandatory evacuation of the city - which sits some 6ft (2m) below sea level.

The post-hurricane surge could reach 28ft (8.5m), toppling the barriers that protect the city and its historic French Quarter, he warned.

Highways were jammed on Sunday as residents fled. Those unable or unwilling to leave spent the night in shelters - including the 77,000-seat Superdome stadium, home of the NFL's New Orleans Saints. "We are facing the storm that most of us have feared," Mayor Nagin said. "This is a once in a lifetime event."

A series of barriers and pumps protect the bowl-shaped city from the Mississippi River on one side, and Lake Pontchartrain on the other.

Experts fear the city's defenses could be overwhelmed by floodwaters, inundating New Orleans with chemicals from refineries, and human waste from damaged septic systems.

There was some hope though, as the storm approached, that the worst of the hurricane might not directly hit the city. Forecasters said the storm had turned slightly eastward, which would put the weaker side of the hurricane over New Orleans.

Repoats in New Orleans says many people have headed to hotels in higher areas.

Businesses and homes have been boarded up and sandbags stacked up in doorways.

In the Gulf of Mexico, oil production has been hit, with capacity of over 650,000 barrels per day closed down, along with seven refineries and a huge offshore terminal.

In Asian trading on Monday, oil prices jumped nearly $5 a barrel to touch a high of $70.80.

States of emergency

The neighboring states of Mississippi and Alabama are also braced for the storm.

Stupid Bush has issued a state of emergency in Louisiana and Mississippi, freeing the path for federal aid.

The storm, which formed in the Bahamas, lashed South Florida on Thursday, killing nine people, uprooting trees, downing power lines and causing extensive flooding.

Katrina is the sixth hurricane to hit the Florida coastline since last August.

If Katrina strengthens again, it could be only the fourth category five storms to hit the US since record keeping began.

The last to strike the Louisiana area was Hurricane Camille in 1969, which killed more than 250 people.

Back to home page