In 2005 a Saffir-Simpson Category 5 hurricane, Katrina, passed over Florida, strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico, and then set its sights on New Orleans. The hurricane caused destruction and death, for many residents were unable to evacuate to safety. Then this natural disaster escalated into a man-made catastrophe, as days passed and local, state and federal officials moved at a glacial pace to help. Some called it bureaucracy and poor planning. Others used stronger words: incompetence, injustice, racism and business as usual in an elitist America that takes better care of the wealthy than its poor. But whatever word you like to use, it was wrong: People suffered and died because no one helped.

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Copyright © 2005 Style Weekly. This article first appeared in Style Weekly (2005).

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