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Devote Residents Abandon New Orleans

By Rachele Cermak

Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005 as a category 3 storm and
took the lives of over 1,300 people and caused over $125 billion dollars in economic damage.

A year and a half later many are leaving New Orleans yet again this time by choice. They say, because of high crime rate, high rent, increasing insurance premiums, a lack of leadership, institutional incompetence, lack of progress.

Others attribute the motivation for the move to the violence, the bureaucracy, the political finger-pointing, the sluggish rebuilding and the doubts about the safety of the levees.

Those who returned after the hurricane had hopes to help rebuild the city but became disenchanted and appalled at the ineptitude of the government. Those most likely to leave are the young and educated. This will force the city into an even more desperate state. The poverty stricken residents will be left for the already weakened government to handle.

People are upset with the federal government as well. President Bush’s State of the Union speech didn’t give any comfort.

"A year and a half after Hurricane Katrina, the president still doesn’t have a word to say about when or if he will keep his promises to help rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, or help thousands of stranded families return home,’" Vanessa Guerringer, chairperson of New Orleans ACORN’s Lower 9th ward chapter, told the press. "The president doesn’t even seem to remember the promises he made."

Katrina exposed the national problem of poverty and smacked media audiences with live footage of the powerful United States flaws.

“Years of under-funded public services, low wages (10 years and counting without an increase in the federal minimum wage), unaffordable housing, troubled public schools and suppression of union-organizing contributed to the decline in earning power of working families and the rise in poverty,? wrote Toni McElroy, President of Texas ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).