Posted Aug. 10, 2008 – Shortly after the national outrage and international embarrassment over the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, there were tons of promises about how quickly and how thorough the commitment would be to restoring the historic city of New Orleans.
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But some three years later, the ravages of the killer storm are still visible – thousands of displaced residents are still unable to return home; for those who did return, their rent is much higher, and so is the cost of utilities and the overall toll the city is taking on their health.
In fact, most New Orleanians – especially Black New Orleanians – see the “Big Easy” as a tough place to survive, according to a new survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. More than half of New Orleanians say they are “dissatisfied,” even “angry” about the slowness of their city’s recovery.
A full 70 percent are displeased with the ability to find affordable housing, and 60 percent say their beloved city is now a bad place to raise children. There is also a wide divide in perspective between Whites and Blacks in New Orleans. For example, half of Black New Orleanians say the system is prejudiced against them; most say their lives are still in disarray; and see the recovery effort as biased against them; few see their lives as back to normal. Roughly a quarter of Blacks say they are "living comfortably," compared with 56 percent of Whites who said they are.
Compared to two years ago, there are significantly more people who report health-related concerns. A third of residents say their health is “fair” or “poor” – twice as many as in 2006. Three times as many people (15 percent) now say that they have serious mental health problems. About 40 percent say they have hypertension, the survey shows.
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