I just followed a link in our comments to a fascinating post from theorajones at True Blue. She wrote this back in September:
Every middle-class mother hears “immediate evacuation” and “5 days in the Superdome” and thinks, “Jesus Christ, I have no idea how much water I would bring for 5 days. Is it 5 gallons? Ohmigod, where are our passports? Do I have to bring the kids’ birth certificates? What about the deed to the house? Would I have time to get my mother’s jewelery out of the safe deposit, or is that selfishness that’s going to kill my children?”
Tell her that she’s got to evacuate without a car, and she’ll start shaking her head. Tell her she’s gotta do it in 18 hours, Grayhound and Amtrak are shut down, it’s 250 miles to get out of the hurricane’s path, and she’s got $200 bucks in her pocket, and every soccer mom will know with certainty what every soccer dad doesn’t get—that it’s impossible. Flat out impossible.
Matt Welch was the first journalist that I saw questioning some of the Katrina-related rumors about “dysfunctional urbanites too depraved to be saved.” He recently received an email from a contractor who was sent in to help rebuild. Take it with a grain of salt, but do go read it:
The one thing that haunts me the most is that when they finally started door to door search and rescue they would spray paint the front of the building, and it would contain the date of the search, who performed the search, how many were found dead, and how many were found living. As you probably know the flood waters came in on August 29-30. I can’t even begin to count how many homes that we saw that were not checked for survivors for the first time until the 24-26 of September. I would just like to know why it took almost a month to check these homes for survivors? There were people who starved to death because they could not escape their attics, and the resources were there to help them. THEY LET PEOPLE DIE!