Thursday, April 02, 2015


Here is an oldie but goodie.

NY Times September 7 2005:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 - As President Bush battled criticism over the response to Hurricane Katrina, his mother declared it a success for evacuees who "were underprivileged anyway," saying on Monday that many of the poor people she had seen while touring a Houston relocation site were faring better than before the storm hit.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas," Barbara Bush said in an interview on Monday with the radio program "Marketplace." "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality."

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."
How well has it worked out?  
An untold number of kids—probably numbering in the tens of thousands—missed weeks, months, even years of school after Katrina. Only now, a decade later, are advocates and researchers beginning to grasp the lasting effects of this post-storm duress. Increasingly, they believe the same lower-income teens who waded through the city’s floodwaters and spent several rootless years afterward may now be helping drive a surging need for GED programs and entry-level job-training programs in the city. It’s no coincidence, they say, that Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults not in school or working.
That Atlantic piece (It's very good. Unblock me, Katy!) goes on to talk more in depth about the early failures of the (still failed) state takeover and eventual characterization of the public schools in New Orleans which only compounded the problem for those evacuees who were even able to return.
Lower-income children were also more likely to be displaced far from their homes, to move often, and to encounter bullying and discrimination, Peek and Fothergill found. "The children whose lives were most disrupted and whose social support systems and family networks were shattered were left with few tools or resources to pick up the pieces," they concluded. Those who conducted Katrina research in the early years wonder what happened to the displaced children they met. Thousands didn’t return, and the population of children in New Orleans dropped by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010. 
It's also worth remembering that a significant section of the local polity more or less cheered these developments via these oh so clever bumper stickers.  Who knows, maybe Barbara Bush really did think things were "working very well" for these displaced children.  But all that mattered to a lot of New Orleanians was that they remained displaced. 

No comments: