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<nettime> [Fwdfyi: Le Monde Diplomatique/ Mike Davis: The predators of New Orleans]

---------------------------- Original Message ---------------------------
Subject: The predators of New Orleans
From:    "Le Monde diplomatique" <english {AT} monde-diplomatique.fr>
Date:    Thu, September 29, 2005 3:01 pm
To:      "Le Monde diplomatique" <english {AT} monde-diplomatique.fr>

Dear reader,

When Hurricane Ivan threatened the Gulf Coast in 2004, Mike Davis
wrote of the callousness of officialdom towards the largely black
poor of New Orleans*. Ivan missed the coast, but Davis's words
came true this year when first Katrina, and then Rita, inundated
New Orleans.

Because of Davis's reputation as a prophet of urban apocalypse,
there is enormous public interest in the article that he has
written for Le Monde diplomatique's October issue. In recognition
of that, we are exceptionally emailing the article to all of you
on our English edition mailing list in advance of its publication
in print. It is also available online at

We hope this will prompt you to subscribe to LMD either in print
or on line (either will give you access to all our archives
stretching back to 1997). Our website will give you full
subscription details, so check us out at:


Regards from all on LMD's English edition team.

* See the article at:



                The predators of New Orleans

    After the criticism of his disastrous handling the Katrina
    disaster, President George Bush promises a reconstruction
    programme of $200bn for areas destroyed by the hurricane.
    But the first and biggest beneficiaries will be businesses
    that specialise in profiting from disaster, and have already
    had lucrative contracts in Iraq; they will gentrify New
    Orleans at the expense of its poor, black citizens.

                                             By MIKE DAVIS

    THE tempest that destroyed New Orleans was conjured out of
    tropical seas and an angry atmosphere 250km offshore of the
    Bahamas. Labelled initially as "tropical depression 12" on
    23 August, it quickly intensified into "tropical storm
    Katrina", the eleventh named storm in one of the busiest
    hurricane seasons in history. Making landfall near Miami on
    24 August, Katrina had grown into a small hurricane,
    category one on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, with 125
    km/h winds that killed nine people and knocked out power to
    one million residents.

    Crossing over Florida to the Gulf of Mexico where it
    wandered for four days, Katrina underwent a monstrous and
    largely unexpected transformation. Siphoning vast quantities
    of energy from the Gulf's abnormally warm waters, 3=B0C above
    their usual August temperature, Katrina mushroomed into an
    awesome, top-of-the-scale, class five hurricane with 290
    km/h winds that propelled tsunami-like storm surges nearly
    10m in height. The journal Nature later reported that
    Katrina absorbed so much heat from the Gulf that "water
    temperatures dropped dramatically after it had passed, in
    some regions from 30=B0C to 26=B0C" (1). Horrified
    meteorologists had rarely seen a Caribbean hurricane
    replenish its power so dramatically, and researchers debated
    whether or not Katrina's explosive growth was a portent of
    global warming's impact on hurricane intensity.

    Although Katrina had dropped to category four, with 210-249
    km/h winds, by the time it careened ashore in Plaquemines
    Parish, Louisiana, near the mouth of the Mississippi river
    on early 29 August, it was small consolation to the doomed
    oil ports, fishing camps and Cajun villages in its direct
    path. In Plaquemines, and again on the Gulf Coast of
    Mississippi and Alabama, it churned the bayous with
    relentless wrath, leaving behind a devastated landscape that
    looked like a watery Hiroshima.

    Metropolitan New Orleans, with 1.3 million inhabitants, was
    originally dead centre in Katrina's way, but the storm
    veered to the right after landfall and its eye passed 55km
    to the east of the metropolis. The Big Easy, largely under
    sea-level and bordered by the salt-water embayments known as
    Lake Pontchartrain (on the north) and Lake Borgne (on the
    east), was spared the worst of Katrina's winds but not its

    Hurricane-driven storm surges from both lakes broke through
    the notoriously inadequate levees, not as high as in more
    affluent areas, which guard black-majority eastern New
    Orleans as well as adjacent white blue-collar suburbs in St
    Bernard Parish. There was no warning and the rapidly rising
    waters trapped and killed hundreds of unevacuated people in
    their bedrooms, including 34 elderly residents of a nursing
    home. Later, probably around midday, a more formidable
    floodwall gave way at the 17th Street Canal, allowing Lake
    Pontchartrain to pour into low-lying central districts.

    Although New Orleans's most famous tourist assets, including
    the French Quarter and the Garden District, and its most
    patrician neighbourhoods, such as Audubon Park, are built on
    high ground and survived the inundation, the rest of the
    city was flooded to its rooftops or higher, damaging or
    destroying more than 150,000 housing units. Locals promptly
    called it "Lake George" after the president who failed to
    build new levees or come to their aid after the old ones had

                   Inequalities of class and race

    Bush initially said that "the storm didn't discriminate", a
    claim he was later forced to retract: every aspect of the
    catastrophe was shaped by inequalities of class and race.
    Besides unmasking the fraudulent claims of the Department of
    Homeland Security to make Americans safer, the shock and awe
    of Katrina also exposed the devastating consequences of
    federal neglect of majority black and Latino big cities and
    their vital infrastructures. The incompetence of the Federal
    Emergency Management Agency (Fema) demonstrated the folly of
    entrusting life-and-death public mandates to clueless
    political appointees and ideological foes of "big
    government". The speed with which Washington suspended the
    prevailing wage standards of the Davis-Bacon Act (2) and
    swung open the doors of New Orleans to corporate looters
    such as Halliburton, the Shaw Group and Blackwater Security,
    already fat from the spoils of the Tigris, contrasted
    obscenely with Fema's deadly procrastination over sending
    water, food and buses to the multitudes trapped in the
    stinking hell of the Louisiana Superdome.

    But if New Orleans, as many bitter exiles now believe, was
    allowed to die as a result of governmental incompetence and
    neglect, blame also squarely falls on the Governor's Mansion
    in Baton Rouge, and especially on City Hall on Perdido
    Street. Mayor C Ray Nagin is a wealthy African-American
    cable television executive and a Democrat, who was elected
    in 2002 with 87% of the white vote (3).

    He was ultimately responsible for the safety of the
    estimated quarter of the population that was too poor or
    infirm to own a car. His stunning failure to mobilise
    resources to evacuate car-less residents and hospital
    patients, despite warning signals from the city's botched
    response to the threat of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004,
    reflected more than personal ineptitude: it was also a
    symbol of the callous attitude among the city's elites, both
    white and black, toward their poor neighbours in backswamp
    districts and rundown housing projects. Indeed, the ultimate
    revelation of Katrina was how comprehensively the promise of
    equal rights for poor African-Americans has been dishonoured
    and betrayed by every level of government.

                          A death foretold

    The death of New Orleans had been forewarned; indeed no
    disaster in American history had been so accurately
    predicted in advance. Although the Homeland Security
    Secretary, Michael Chertoff, would later claim that "the
    size of the storm was beyond anything his department could
    have anticipated," this was flatly untrue. If scientists
    were surprised by Katrina's sudden burgeoning to super-storm
    dimensions, they had grim confidence in exactly what New
    Orleans could expect from the landfall of a great hurricane.

    Since the nasty experience of Hurricane Betsy in September
    1965 (a category three storm that inundated many eastern
    parts of Orleans Parish that were drowned by Katrina), the
    vulnerability of the city to wind-driven storm surges has
    been intensively studied and widely publicised. In 1998,
    after a close call with Hurricane Georges, research
    increased and a sophisticated computer study by Louisiana
    State University warned of the "virtual destruction" of the
    city by a category four storm approaching from the
    southwest (4).

    The city's levees and stormwalls are only designed to
    withstand a category three hurricane, but even that
    threshold of protection was revealed as illusory in computer
    simulations last year by the Army Corps of Engineers. The
    continuous erosion of southern Louisiana's barrier islands
    and bayou wetlands (an estimated annual shoreline loss of
    60-100 sq km) increases the height of surges as they arrive
    at New Orleans, while the city, along with its levees, is
    slowly sinking. As a result even a category three, if slow
    moving, would flood most of it (5). Global warming and
    sea-level rise will only make the "Big One", as folks in New
    Orleans, like their counterparts in Los Angeles, call the
    local apocalypse, even bigger.

    Lest politicians have difficulty understanding the
    implications of such predictions, other studies modelled the
    exact extent of flooding as well as the expected casualties
    of a direct hit. Supercomputers repeatedly cranked out the
    same horrifying numbers: 160 sq km or more of the city under
    water with 80-100,000 dead, the worst disaster in United
    States history. In the light of these studies, Fema warned
    in 2001 that a hurricane flood in New Orleans was one of the
    three mega-catastrophes most likely to strike the US in the
    near future, along with a California earthquake and a
    terrorist attack on Manhattan.

    Shortly afterwards, the magazine Scientific American
    published an account of the flood danger ("Drowning New
    Orleans", October 2001) which, like an award-winning series
    ("The Big One') in the local newspaper, the Times-Picayune,
    in 2002, was chillingly accurate in its warnings. Last year,
    after meteorologists predicted a strong upsurge in hurricane
    activity, federal officials carried out an elaborate
    disaster drill ("Hurricane Pam") that re-confirmed that
    casualties would be likely to be in the tens of thousands.

    The Bush administration's response to these frightening
    forecasts was to rebuff Louisiana's urgent requests for more
    flood protection: the crucial Coast 2050 project to revive
    protective wetlands, the culmination of a decade of research
    and negotiation, was shelved and levee appropriations,
    including the completion of defences around Lake
    Pontchartrain, were repeatedly slashed.

                         Washington at work

    In part, this was a consequence of new priorities in
    Washington that squeezed the budget of the Army Corps: a
    huge tax cut for the rich, the financing of the war in Iraq,
    and the costs of "Homeland Security". Yet there was
    undoubtedly a brazen political motive as well: New Orleans
    is a black-majority, solidly Democratic city whose voters
    frequently wield the balance of power in state elections.
    Why would an administration so relentlessly focused on
    partisan warfare seek to reward this thorn in Karl Rove's
    side by authorising the $2.5bn that senior Corps officials
    estimated would be required to build a category five
    protection system around the city? (6).

    Indeed when the head of the Corps, a former Republican
    congressman, protested in 2002 against the way that
    flood-control projects were being short-changed, Bush
    removed him from office. Last year the administration also
    pressured Congress to cut $71m from the budget of the
    Corps's New Orleans district despite warnings of epic
    hurricane seasons close at hand.

    To be fair, Washington has spent a lot of money on
    Louisiana, but it has been largely on non-hurricane-related
    public works that benefit shipping interests and hardcore
    Republican districts (7). Besides underfunding coastline
    restoration and levee construction, the White House
    mindlessly vandalised Fema. Under director James Lee Witt
    (who enjoyed Cabinet rank), Fema had been the showpiece of
    the Clinton administration, winning bipartisan praise for
    its efficient dispatch of search and rescue teams and prompt
    provision of federal aid after the 1993 Mississippi River
    floods and the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake.

    When Republicans took over the agency in 2001, it was
    treated as enemy terrain: the new director, former Bush
    campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, decried disaster assistance
    as "an oversized entitlement programme" and urged Americans
    to rely more upon the Salvation Army and other faith-based
    groups. Allbaugh cut back many key flood and storm
    mitigation programmes, before resigning in 2003 to become a
    highly-paid consultant to firms seeking contracts in Iraq.
    (An inveterate ambulance-chaser, he recently reappeared in
    Louisiana as an insider broker for firms looking for
    lucrative reconstruction work in the wake of Katrina.)

    Since its absorption into the new Department of Homeland
    Security in 2003 (with the loss of its representation in the
    cabinet), Fema has been repeatedly downsized, and also
    ensnared in new layers of bureaucracy and patronage. Last
    year Fema employees wrote to Congress: "Emergency managers
    at Fema have been supplanted on the job by politically
    connected contractors and by novice employees with little
    background or knowledge" (8).

                         A new Maginot Line

    A prime example was Allbaugh's successor and protege,
    Michael Brown, a Republican lawyer with no emergency
    management experience, whose previous job was representing
    the wealthy owners of Arabian horses. Under Brown, Fema
    continued its metamorphosis from an "all hazards" approach
    to a monomaniacal emphasis on terrorism. Three-quarters of
    the federal disaster preparedness grants that Fema formerly
    used to support local earthquake, storm and flood prevention
    has been diverted to counter-terrorism scenarios. The Bush
    administration has built a Maginot Line against al-Qaida
    while neglecting levees, storm walls and pumps.

    There was every reason for anxiety, if not panic, when the
    director of the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Max
    Mayfield, warned Bush (still vacationing in Texas) and
    Homeland Security officials in a video-conference on 28
    August that Katrina was poised to devastate New Orleans. Yet
    Brown, faced with the possible death of 100,000
    locals,-exuded breathless, arrogant bravado: "We were so
    ready for this. We planned for this kind of disaster for
    many years because we've always known about New Orleans."
    For months Brown, and his boss Chertoff, had trumpeted the
    new National Response Plan that would ensure unprecedented
    coordination amongst government agencies during a major

    But as floodwaters swallowed New Orleans and its suburbs, it
    was difficult to find anyone to answer a phone, much less
    take charge of the relief operation. "A mayor in my
    district," an angry Republican congressman told the Wall
    Street Journal, "tried to get supplies for his constituents,
    who were hit directly by the hurricane. He called for help
    and was put on hold for 45 minutes. Eventually, a bureaucrat
    promised to write a memo to his supervisor" (9).
    Although state-of-the-art communications were supposedly the
    backbone of the new plan, frantic rescue workers and city
    officials were plagued by the breakdown of phone systems and
    the lack of a common bandwidth.

    At the same time they faced immediate shortages of the
    critical food rations, potable water, sandbags, generator
    fuel, satellite phones, portable toilets, buses, boats, and
    helicopters, Fema should have pre-positioned in New Orleans.
    Most fatefully, Chertoff inexplicably waited 24 hours after
    the city had been flooded to upgrade the disaster to an
    "incident of national significance", the legal precondition
    for moving federal response into high gear.

    Far more than the reluctance of the president to return to
    work, or the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, to interrupt a
    mansion-hunting trip, or the Secretary of State, Condoleezza
    Rice, to end a shoe-buying expedition in Manhattan, it was
    the dinosaur-like slowness of the brain of Homeland Security
    to register the magnitude of the disaster that doomed so
    many to die clinging to their roofs or hospital beds.
    Lathered in premature, embarrassing praise from Bush for
    their heroic exertions, Chertoff and Brown were more like

    As late as 2 September, Chertoff astonished an interviewer
    on National Public Radio by claiming that the scenes of
    death and desperation inside the Superdome, which the world
    was watching on television, were just "rumours and
    anecdotes". Brown blamed the victims, claiming that most
    deaths were the fault of "people who did not heed evacuation
    warnings", although he knew that "heeding" had nothing to do
    with the lack of an automobile or confinement in a

    Despite claims by the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld,
    that the tragedy had nothing to do with Iraq, the absence of
    more than a third of the Louisiana National Guard and much
    of its heavy equipment crippled rescue and relief operations
    from the outset. Fema often obstructed rather than
    facilitated relief: preventing civilian aircraft from
    evacuating hospital patients and delaying authorisations for
    out-of-state National Guard and rescue teams to enter the
    area. As an embittered representative from devastated St
    Bernard Parish told the Times-Picayune: "Canadian help
    arrived before the US Army did" (10).

                    A conservative New Jerusalem

    New Orleans City Hall could have used Canadian help: the
    emergency command centre on its ninth floor was put out of
    operation early in the emergency by a shortage of diesel to
    run its backup generator. For two days Nagin and his aides
    were cut off from the outside world by the failure of both
    their landlines and cellular phones. This collapse of the
    city's command-and-control apparatus is puzzling in view of
    the $18m in federal grants that the city had spent since
    2002 in training exercises to deal with such contingencies.
    Even more mysterious was the relationship between Nagin and
    his state and federal counterparts. As the mayor later
    summarised it, the city's disaster plan was: "Get people to
    higher ground and have the feds and the state -airlift
    supplies to them." Yet Nagin's Director of Homeland
    Security, Colonel Terry Ebbert, astonished journalists with
    the admission that "he never spoke with Fema about the state
    disaster blueprint" (11).

    Nagin later ranted with justification about Fema's failure
    to pre-position supplies or to rush buses and medical
    supplies promptly to the Superdome. But evacuation planning
    was, above all, a city responsibility; and earlier planning
    exercises and surveys had shown that at least a fifth of the
    population would be unable to leave without
    assistance (12). In September 2004 Nagin had been
    roundly criticised for making no effort to evacuate poor
    residents as their better-off neighbours drove off before
    category-three Hurricane Ivan (which fortunately veered away
    from the city at the last moment).

    In response, the city produced, but never distributed,
    30,000 videos targeted at poor neighbourhoods that urged
    residents "Don't wait for the city, don't wait for the
    state, don't wait for the Red Cross, leave." In the absence
    of official planning to provide buses or better, trains,
    such advice seem to imply that poor people had to start
    walking. But when, after the breakdown of sanitation and
    order in the Superdome, hundreds did attempt to escape the
    city by walking across a bridge into the white suburb of
    Gretna, they were turned back by panicky local police who
    fired over their heads.

    It is inevitable that many of those left behind in drowning
    neighbourhoods will interpret City Hall's unconscionable
    negligence in the context of the bitter economic and racial
    schisms that have long made New Orleans the most tragic city
    in the US. It is no secret that its business elites and
    their allies in City Hall would like to push the poorest
    segment of the population, blamed for high crime rates, out
    of the city. Historic public-housing projects have been
    razed to make room for upper-income townhouses and a
    Wal-Mart. In other housing projects, residents are routinely
    evicted for offences as trivial as their children's curfew
    violations. The ultimate goal seems to be a tourist
    theme-park New Orleans, Las Vegas on the Mississippi, with
    chronic poverty hidden away in bayous, trailer parks and
    prisons outside the city limits.

    Not surprisingly, some advocates of a whiter, safer city see
    a divine plan in Katrina. "We finally cleaned up public
    housing in New Orleans," a leading Louisiana Republican
    confined to Washington lobbyists. "We couldn't do it, but
    God did" (13). Nagin boasted of his empty streets and
    ruined neighbourhoods: "This city is for the first time free
    of drugs and violence, and we intend to keep it that way."

    A partial ethnic cleansing of New Orleans will be a fait
    accompli without massive local and federal efforts to
    provide affordable housing for tens of thousands of poor
    renters now dispersed across the country in refugee
    shelters. Already there is intense debate about transforming
    some of poorest, low-lying neighbourhoods, such the Lower
    Ninth Ward (flooded again by Hurricane Rita), into water
    retention ponds to protect wealthier parts. As the Wall
    Street Journal has rightly emphasised, "That would mean
    preventing some of New Orleans's poorest residents from ever
    returning to their neighbourhoods" (14).

                      Epic political dogfight

    As everyone recognises, the rebuilding of New Orleans and
    the rest of afflicted Gulf region will be an epic political
    dogfight. Already Nagin has staked out the claims of the
    local gentrifying class by announcing that he will appoint a
    16-member reconstruction commission evenly split between
    whites and blacks, although the city is more than 75%
    African-American. Its "white-flight" suburbs (social
    springboards for neo-Nazi David Duke's frightening electoral
    successes in the early 1990s) will fiercely lobby for their
    cause, while Mississippi's powerful Republican establishment
    has already warned that it will not play second fiddle to
    Big Easy Democrats. In this inevitable clash of interest
    groups, it is unlikely that the city's traditional black
    neighbourhoods, the true hearths of its joyous sensibility
    and jazz culture, will be able to exercise much clout.

    The Bush administration hopes to find its own resurrection
    in a combination of rampant fiscal Keynesianism and
    fundamentalist social engineering. Katrina's immediate
    impact on the Potomac was such a steep fall in Bush's
    popularity, and, collaterally, in approval for the US
    occupation of Iraq, that Republican hegemony seemed suddenly
    under threat. For the first time since the Los Angeles riots
    of 1992, "old Democrat" issues such as poverty, racial
    injustice and public investment temporarily commanded public
    discourse, and the Wall Street Journal warned that
    Republicans had "to get back on the political and
    intellectual offensive" before liberals like Ted Kennedy
    could revive New Deal nostrums, such as a massive federal
    agency for flood -control and shoreline restoration along
    the Gulf coast (15).

    The Heritage Foundation hosted meetings late into the night
    at which conservative ideologues, congressional cadres and
    the ghosts of Republicans past (such as Edwin Meese, Ronald
    Reagan's former Attorney General) hashed a strategy to
    rescue Bush from the toxic aftermath of Fema's disgrace. New
    Orleans's floodlit but empty Jackson Square was the eerie
    backdrop for Bush's 15 September speech on reconstruction.
    It was an extraordinary performance. He sunnily reassured
    two million victims that the White House would pick up most
    of the tab for the estimated $200bn flood damage: deficit
    spending on a scale that would have given Keynes vertigo.
    (It has not deterred him from proposing another huge tax cut
    for the super-rich.)

    Bush wooed his political base with a dream list of
    long-sought-after conservative social reforms: school and
    housing vouchers (16), a central role for churches, an
    urban homestead lottery (17), extensive tax breaks to
    businesses, the creation of a Gulf Opportunity
    Zone (18), and the suspension of annoying government
    regulations (in the fine print these include prevailing
    wages in construction and environmental regulations on
    offshore drilling).

    For connoisseurs of Bush-speak, the speech was a moment of
    exquisite deja vu. Had not similar promises been made on the
    banks of the Euphrates? As Paul Krugman cruelly pointed out,
    the White House, having tried and failed to turn Iraq "into
    a laboratory for conservative economic policies", would now
    experiment on traumatised inhabitants of Biloxi and the
    Ninth Ward (19). Congressman Mike Pence, a leader of the
    powerful Republican Study Group which helped draft Bush's
    reconstruction agenda, emphasised that Republicans would
    turn the rubble into a capitalist utopia: "We want to turn
    the Gulf Coast into a magnet for free enterprise. The last
    thing we want is a federal city where New Orleans once
    was" (20).

    Symptomatically, the Army Corps in New Orleans is now led by
    the official who formerly oversaw contracts in
    Iraq (21). The Lower Ninth Ward may never exist again,
    but already the barroom and strip-joint owners in the French
    Quarter are relishing the fat days ahead, as the Halliburton
    workers, Blackwater mercenaries, and Bechtel engineers leave
    their federal paychecks behind on Bourbon Street. As they
    say in Cajun, -- and no doubt now in the White House too --
    "laissez les bons temps rouler!"

     * Mike Davis is the author of 'The Monster at Our Door. The
     Global Threat of Avian Flu' (New Press, New York, 2005),
     'Dead cities, and other tales' (New Press, 2002), 'Late
     Victorian holocausts: El Nino famines and the making of the
     third world' (Verso, London and New York, 2001), 'Ecology of
     fear: Los Angeles and the imagination of disaster' (Picador,
     London, 2000) and many other works.

    Original text in English

    (1) Quirin Schiermeier, "The Power of Katrina," Nature,
    no 437, London, 8 September 2005.

    (2) Editorial note: legislation dating from the New Deal
    obliging public employers to respect the minimum local wage.

    (3) Though Louisiana voted for Bush in 2004 (56.7%), New
    Orleans is traditionally Democrat.

    (4) Study by engineering professor Joseph Suhayda
    described in Richard Campanella, Time and Place in New
    Orleans, Gretna, Los Angeles, 2002.

    (5) John Travis, "Scientists' Fears Come True as
    Hurricane Floods New Orleans", Science, no 309, New York, 9
    September 2005.

    (6) Andrew Revkin and Christopher Drew, "Intricate Flood
    Protection Long a Focus of Dispute," New York Times, 1
    September 2005.

    (7) "Katrina's Message on the Corps," New York Times, 13
    September 2005.

    (8) "Top Fema Jobs: No Experience Required," Los Angeles
    Times, 9 September 2005.

    (9) Congressman Bobby Jindal, "When Red Tape Trumped
    Common Sense," Wall Street Journal, 8 September 2005.

    (10) Melinda Deslatte, "St Bernard Parish residents
    overflow the Capital," Times-Picayune, 12 September 2005.

    (11) New York Times, 7 and 11 September 2005.

    (12) Tony Reichhardt, Erika Check and Emma Morris,
    "After the flood," Nature, no 437, 8 September 2005.

    (13) Congressman Richard Baker (Baton Rouge) quoted in
    "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 9 September 2005.

    (14) "As Gulf Prepares to Rebuild, Tensions Mount Over
    Control," Wall Street Journal, 15 September 2005.

    (15) "Hurricane Bush," Wall Street Journal, 15 September

    (16) Editor's note: rental vouchers were issued, backed
    by Congress-approved funds, to 20,000 homeless after the
    1994 Los Angeles earthquake to pay for rent anywhere in the

    (17) Editor's note: a plan to distribute federal land to
    those who would pledge to erect a house on it and could
    afford to do so. It is estimated that this would provide
    about 4,000 sites for 250,000 displaced people, 125,000 of
    whom were renting.

    (18) Editor's note: a zone in which relief is related to
    private financial initiatives.

    (19) "Not the New Deal," New York Times, 16 September

    (20) John Wilke and Brody Mullins, "After Katrina,
    Republicans Back a Sea of Conservative Ideas," Wall Street
    Journal, 15 September 2005.

    (21) Editorial, "Mr Bush in New Orleans," New York
    Times, 16 September 2005.

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