KRT Wire reported Four months after Hurricane Katrina, analyses of data suggest that some widely reported assumptions about the storm's victims were incorrect.
There were many things that were reported that were not true.For example, a comparison of locations where 874 bodies were recovered with U.S. Census tract data indicates that the victims weren't disproportionately poor. Another database, compiled by Knight Ridder of 486 Katrina victims from Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, suggests they also weren't disproportionately African-American.
But it made a better story (one that was designed to hurt the Bush administration) to pretend they were poor blacks.Both sets of data are incomplete; Louisiana state officials have released no comprehensive list of the dead. Still, they provide the most comprehensive information available to date about who paid the ultimate price in the storm.
The one group that was disproportionately affected by the storm appears to have been older adults. People 60 and older account for only about 15 percent of the population in the New Orleans area, but the Knight Ridder database found that 74 percent of the dead were 60 or older. Nearly half were older than 75. Many of those were at nursing homes and hospitals, where nearly 20 percent of the victims were recovered.
Lack of transportation was assumed to be a key reason that many people stayed behind and died, but at many addresses where the dead were found, their cars remained in their driveways, flood-ruined symbols of fatal miscalculation.