With all the riveting headline issues – Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, unemployment, terrorist bombing attempts – not to mention health care reform and the U.S. Senate race – it’s easier to forget the continuing effects of hurricane Katrina on the least powerful residents of New Orleans. Levelled by winds, rain and flooding back in 2005, thousands are being ground down still further by unrelenting government bureaucracy as they try to get help for their desperate circumstances. Take the case of Chris Meehan, (son of a classmate of mine), whom the New Orleans Times-Picayune editorialized about yesterday.
The details of his case were laid out dramatically in a Times-Picayune article by reporter David Hammer on December 23. Only one outrage among many was when Meehan’s application for assistance was rejected on the basis of fraud. An inspector, Meehan says, from Boston, claimed Meehan couldn’t possibly live where he said he lived because “a white person wouldn’t live in a black neighborhood.” Meehan was cleared of fraud. Will Boston ever be cleared of charges of racism?