Nik Cohn’s observations about Katrina are well worth reading:
I’ve been obsessed by New Orleans and its music since childhood and have lived there, off and on, more than 30 years. For me, it has always been the most seductive city on earth – corrupt, murderous, half-mad, but so intensely alive that its sins could never outweigh its allure.
In the last few years I spent much of my time there working with rappers, including B, as a would-be producer. When Katrina struck, I was in New York, revving up for another round of recording…Now, on a chill winter morning, I walk the Lower Ninth Ward, close to the spot where the levee burst on the Industrial Canal. It’s my first time back in the city post-Katrina, and this is an area I knew well – a ramshackle quarter of wooden, shotgun houses and brick, ranch-styles, ragged and loud, overrun by children. The majority of homes were owned, not rented. Older people grew vegetables in their backyards and went to church every Sunday, but most of the young had lost faith. Guns and drugs had taken over the streets, there were constant shootings, yet the place was vivid with life. Families were all-important, extended tribes that stuck together. Sudden death was commonplace. Blood endured.
Read the whole thing. Nik has some facts wrong, and his bias is obvious. But he paints a strong picture of how Katrina has affected the poor people of this city.