Gray Panthers of San Francisco
June, 2006 Newsletter

Six Months After Katrina
The final installment of our condensation of Bill Quigley’s article for Common Dreams.
Part 1, Part 2

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When I teach about the working poor, I tell my students to look for the working poor at the bus stops in the morning and in the evening. The working poor have not returned to New Orleans.

The sick are not likely to return anytime soon. Healthcare in New Orleans is now difficult even for those with insurance but nearly impossible for those without it. Worse still for the poor, there is no public hospital in New Orleans anymore.

Many of the disabled are still in the areas where they evacuated to. Children have not returned. Most public schools remain closed or have been converted into charter schools. Prisoners have again been left behind. Some of those evacuated were kept in jail long after their sentences had run.

Even among homeowners, it is much more likely that white homeowners will have the chance to rebuild than black homeowners because of deep patterns of racial disparities in income.

There is not a sign outside of New Orleans saying “If you are poor, sick, elderly, disabled, children or African-American, you cannot return.” But there might as well be.

We are back. But where are our neighbors, the people we rode out of the city with? Where are the hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and will they ever be allowed to return?

If all levels of government and corporate power allow this to happen in New Orleans, do you think it will be any different in your city?

Bill Quigley is a civil and human rights lawyer and Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.

In Louisiana alone, more than 100,000 people are still living in FEMA trailers. The levee repair is not yet finished in New Orleans, and hurricane season is upon us. What fall-out will we see from governmental neglect and corruption this year?


Also read Bill Quigley's article 'Don't come back to New Orleans unless you intend to join the fight for justice!'

(back to June 2006 Newsletter front page)