Time To Stop Saying Nasty Things About Hurricane Katrina Evacuees Living In Houston
A disturbing consequence of Hurricane Katrina is the demonization of former New Orleans residents now living here in Houston, Texas. I thought about this again last week while driving behind a lady with Louisiana plates on her car. She had a bumper sticker on the car announcing that her child was an honor student at the local Labay Middle School.
Much of the anger and fear the Katrina people have generated comes from local talk radio and the predominately right-wing audience these shows attract. These are the very same folks that do nothing about chronic poverty in America’s cities. We live in a society that is, to a degree, of our own making.
It is true the murder rate has gone up in Houston since Katrina. These crimes can be blamed on both those who committed the murders and on the barbaric conditions of third-world poverty which prevailed in much of New Orleans before Katrina.
Houstonians who see their safety jeopardized by the newcomers have a right to express their concerns and to demand action. Houston Mayor Bill White has attended public meetings on this topic. To his credit, the Mayor has insisted that Katrina victims be treated well.
Former New Orleans residents now in Houston are mostly decent people who need some help. I know this is an attitude I share with Houstonians of all political views— Including many who see themselves on the right.
Those forced to leave New Orleans because of the storm are going to be here for a long time. Many will stay for good. It’s important that these people be treated as individuals trying to make the best out of life.