Raw Racism in Louisiana
Matthew Brown of the New Orleans daily Times-Picayune recounts shocking incidents of racism during the recent human distress in the hurricane-ravaged city. Law enforcement departments in the communities listed below should be punished for this unexcusable disregard for the victims' plight--because of their skin color.
Bridge emphasizes divide between communities
When the Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center deteriorated into anarchy and food and water ran short, many who tried to escape the flooded streets of New Orleans found their paths blocked.
Gretna police fired shots over the heads of evacuees streaming across the Crescent City Connection, as bullhorns blared for them to go back to New Orleans.
In Plaquemines Parish, dozens of sheriff's deputies raised shotguns and pistols to turn back a convoy of school buses attempting to take storm victims to safety at the Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse.
And in Westwego, arriving evacuees had two choices: Leave immediately, or go to an overcrowded shelter with few supplies where armed guards accompanied by a police dog prevented anyone from leaving.
The confrontations occurred largely along racial lines: African-American residents of poor sections of New Orleans facing off against majority white law enforcement agencies.
Elected law enforcement officials remain unapologetic over their response and say they would take the same steps if the city flooded again.