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« Decisions. | WILLisms.com | Pop Culture Haiku #2. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 243 -- Katrina Victims.

Disproportionate Numbers-

A myth-- one not backed by the numbers-- has become the common wisdom in America. There is a myth that the "lack of response" to Hurricane Katrina was somehow correlated with the ethnicity and socioeconomic status of the victims. Because it was primarily black people, the myth goes, the government neglected to respond. Thus, the victims who lost their lives were primarily black.

This is bunk on so many levels. But some fairly recent numbers drive the final dagger through the heart of that ridiculous race-baiting myth.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (via Gateway Pundit) breaks down the demographics of the Katrina victims:


The victims were disproportionately white, relative to their population in the New Orleans metro area. Those of us who have looked past the posturing and pandering already had a hunch, as the victims were more likely to be found in primarily white neighborhoods. But we didn't know for sure. Now we know.

Meanwhile, look at the 2004 age breakdown of New Orleans, from the U.S. Census:


Okay, now look at the age breakdown of the victims, from the Louisiana DHH (.pdf):


Mostly older folks. And if you look even closer, you'll note that many victims were not only above the age of 75, several were well above the age of 90.

Now, it also must be noted that some victims still have yet to be identified, and it is possible that those victims were younger. It's also possible that those victims were more likely to be African-American than caucasian. That there are still unidentified bodies is devastating, but those numbers would not alter the statistics above in a meaningful way. Furthermore, from the facts we do have, it is not accurate to claim that Hurricane Katrina, the response to it, or the chaotic aftermath, killed primarily poor African-Americans while sparing wealthier white people.

If we want to be outraged, focus that outrage on the negligent nursing homes and those who left their grandmothers and grandfathers to fend for themselves.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Taxes On Dividends & Capital Gains.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 December 2005 08:26 AM


just correcting a repeated typo (feel free to delete) - it's caucasian not caucasion

Posted by: Jody at December 12, 2005 10:04 AM

Thanks. I can't believe I did that twice. And on a graph, too. Ugh.

Posted by: Will Franklin at December 12, 2005 01:09 PM

Serves to prove that only the poor and minorities age, as they were the main ones impacted according to MSM. Just another form for discrimination and subjugation by the upperclasses.


Posted by: Rodney Dill at December 12, 2005 03:29 PM

Number of MSM outlets I expect to report, mention, or subtlely hint to this: 0.00

Posted by: Hoodlumman at December 12, 2005 04:15 PM


cool. awesome. awesome. MM rocks.

Posted by: MacStansbury at December 12, 2005 07:21 PM

Just a quick comment on the negligent nursing homes- from my understanding, the owners of the nursing home were there at the facility with their staff when the levees broke and the tragedy ensued. As an administrator, I would have evacuated earlier but I also understand that there are risks involved as well. In Charleston, SC, when the governor ordered an evaucation due to an impending hurricane, residents sat in buses for 12 hours trying to go 100 miles on the interstate. Administrators are aware that the mortality of their residents goes up significantly in the next 6 months. It's not as cut and dried as it sounds.

Posted by: summervillebuck at December 12, 2005 07:22 PM


Got a Malkin link. Very classy!

Posted by: WunderKraut at December 12, 2005 08:28 PM

Will, you are the "stat" man. I love your visuals.

Something else... those bodies left in morgues before the hurricane are also included in this number.

Posted by: Jim Hoft at December 12, 2005 09:05 PM

> It's also possible that those victims were more likely to be African-American than caucasian

Doubtful.. In fact the exact opposite is probably true. Check my post on Wizbang if you care.

Posted by: Paul at December 13, 2005 01:06 AM

Great post, Will. Speaking as someone who spent nearly five days after the storm trying to locate my mother-in-law (a resident of a nursing home in Metairie), the media has dropped the ball on this.

As a segment of the healthcare community, the nursing homes, even those that were part of large corporate-owned chains, had almost no emergency plans in place. Not for evacuation nor for the care of the patients in a situation where there was no power or water. Communication plans were also nonexistent.

Posted by: Matt at December 13, 2005 05:09 AM

"The victims were disproportionately white, relative to their population in the New Orleans metro area."

I agree with you that the media has tried to make Hurricane Katrina a black-only disaster and largely ignored the destruction of white areas, but the graphic is incorrect.

For % of Deaths, it shows the comparison between black and white deaths STATEWIDE.
For % of Population, it shows the different percentages of blacks and whites in the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. (not the metro area)
The city of New Orleans (Orleans Parish) was 470,000 people. It was 68% black, 32% white. The metropolitan New Orleans area, however, was 1,300,000. It was probably 75% white.

Posted by: Doss at December 13, 2005 10:22 AM