New Orleans

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Longtime Newsday reporter Lou Dolinar has an interesting article on rescue efforts in New Orleans. It turns out that they–federal, state, and local government–were far more effective than we thought. Reason: They were so busy rescuing people they didn't coordinate their efforts and didn't, in most cases, hand out press releases. Cable news reporters outside the Superdome or on elevated portions of Interstate 10 couldn't get the story. But it happened.

The Washington Post and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll of New Orleans evacuees in Houston shelters and found that a majority do not intend to return to New Orleans. As the Post makes clear, this is not a representative sample of all evacuees: These people were disproportionately poor; 70 percent don't have a bank account or a usable credit card. This tends to substantiate the prediction I made earlier, that poor neighborhoods previously dominated by the criminal underclass in New Orleans will simply not be rebuilt. Of course, I'm not saying that all the evacuees are criminals; quite the contrary: It only takes a relatively small number of criminals, unchecked, to dominate a neighborhood.