Skip to comments.Some say Katrina victims' welcome worn out
Posted on 11/26/2005 4:40:58 PM PST by Ellesu
Get a job. Find a place to live. Pull yourself up.
These are the things some people are saying about evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, about 12,000 of whom remain in taxpayer-funded hotel rooms in Georgia.
In the weeks after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, people across the country opened their wallets, homes and hearts to the victims. But three months after thousands of evacuees arrived in Georgia, some attitudes have shifted from compassion to something very different.
For Anna Corley, a 39-year-old communications worker from East Point, the change in attitude occurred while she was watching a television interview with a female evacuee. The woman was living in a Georgia hotel, in a room paid for by taxpayers, and complaining she wasn't getting enough help.
With that, Corley who had donated clothes and money, and dropped off spaghetti and tomato sauce at a supermarket bin changed her mind.
"Come on, people," Corley said. "Three months and they can't find a place to live? Oh, wait, they want to see how long Uncle Sugar will pay for it. How long did they think the gravy train ran? Have some self-respect and pride."
Corley is among a group of people disappointed, if not disgusted, with the thousands of evacuees still living in hotels a program that has cost federal taxpayers $300 million. Some of these critics initially supported the evacuees, but now believe many hurricane victims are taking advantage of the generosity.
Corley's anger is driven in part by her own experiences. She said she was homeless 20 years ago, living in a Buick, after losing her job and a place to stay.
"I think we need to give them a hand up, not a hand out," Corley said.
Veronica Jones, a 25-year-old corrections officer from Lawrenceville, feels the same way. After volunteering at a Red Cross shelter helping evacuees apply for assistance, talking them through the loss and dislocation her sympathy has run dry.
"They drink and smoke marijuana all night. Don't work or go to school," Jones said. She said she formed her opinion by observing some evacuees living in her area.
Evacuees, for their part, say they've heard the harsh remarks. Sometimes to their face.
"It just adds to the hurt. It doesn't help," said Mike Washington, who lost his home and print shop in the New Orleans flood.
It is unclear how much public sentiment has shifted regarding the evacuees. Several metro Atlanta charities say they still see strong support for the hurricane victims.
"We're not seeing that kind of backlash," said Edward Powers, executive director of Travelers Aid of Metro Atlanta.
This is a critical time for the hotel-dwelling evacuees. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given them until Jan. 7 to get out. After that, FEMA will no longer pay the hotel bills.
The deadline has sent many evacuees scrambling to find housing, but several nonprofit groups helping them say it will be difficult to move thousands of evacuees into new housing in a matter of weeks. They fear some will end up on the street.
State Senate leader Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) said FEMA's deadline provides the prodding needed to spur the evacuees into action. "At some point, the government can't be everybody's mama," he said earlier this month.
Such thinking has been bolstered by public criticism of the hotel evacuees by radio talk show hosts. Local talker Neal Boortz called them "parasites with rights."
Suzanne Phillips, a New York City psychologist who specializes in trauma, grief and loss, offered another explanation for the waning sympathy among some people. She said people feel uncomfortable that the tragedy has continued this long.
"It makes them anxious that the problem doesn't go away," she said.
As time goes on, Phillips said, people become emotionally fatigued dealing with the despair and devastation of the hurricanes. Much of the disgust over the evacuees has been directed at those still in hotels. Phillips worries those opinions will taint people's perceptions about the many other evacuees who are living in apartments and homes.
In addition, the aftermath of Katrina has brought to light the issue of poverty in New Orleans. But rather than explore the complex causes of poverty, people often politicize the issue and dismiss the victims as unworthy of their sympathy, she said.
"If you dismiss it, you don't have to deal with it," Phillips said. "People start blaming the victim for not wrapping it up and getting on with it."
Forget the discount
Stories about evacuees cashing in their assistance money on expensive purses and big televisions make it easier to write them off, said Rick Cohen, executive director of the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy.
Washington, the New Orleans evacuee who lost his home and printing shop, is living in an apartment in Smyrna with his wife and 5-year-old son, sleeping on mattresses on the floor. They don't even have a table for his son to do homework.
He said he has been offered a job at $10 an hour for 30 hours a week. But he said his time was better spent working with insurance companies, applying for loans and searching out a new location for his business in metro Atlanta.
Recently he asked a department store cashier if the store was offering a discount for evacuees. She responded, "You all want everything."
Janice Ramsey is still looking for a job, having been on 10 job interviews. A former advertising worker for a Biloxi casino, she thinks interviewers worry she will hold the job only until she can return home. But she says she plans to stay in Georgia.
She's been living with her four children in a Days Inn in Stone Mountain, in a FEMA-funded room. The criticism of evacuees, she believes, is getting worse.
"It makes it seem like I'm a freeloader," she said.
Ramsey had just gotten off Section 8 public assistance when Katrina hit. Her father drowned, and she has been back and forth to home identifying and burying his body.
Most of the $6,000 she received in storm assistance is gone, she said, but she has found a rental home.
"I don't want nobody to have sympathy for me. All I need is a boost," she said. "I want to be independent, like I was before."
How did that saying go? "God helps those that help themselves...?" Seems to sum up the displeasure with these freeloading captive democratic vote machine sprockets.
Bush's Fault! $300,000,000.00 is not enough. If he really cared about people of color, he should be a leader and guarentee them lifetime housing assistance at the Mariott of their choice.
A friend of mine is a Baptist Minister, he rented a van, drove to NO to drop off food, clothing and blankets a week or two after the hurricane. There was also room for 6 to come back to Buffalo with him, a place to stay, etc...
Not one person wanted to leave, they were all cozy in their big tent, watching TV and eating at the buffet table that was all set up and manned by the local Baptist Church.
My friend Lenny was disgusted at their lack of any desire to help themselves. He drove back here with an empty van.
We know the real answer, its Bush's fault! He should have put these people up at his ranch and taken care of them with all his Oil money. Why is he president if he can't take care of all these people and give them freebies for life? Clinton never had this problem, had it occurred during his time certainly he would have had all of them moved into his trailer. (SARC. of course.)
For more looting?
Where are all the nightly reports on the MSM about the drinking pot smoking goof balls who don't work, want more money, MO' free stuff!
This shouldn't be a surprise. All sensible sources said this was mostly a shiftless bum rot group of worthless scum.
I donated blood through The Red Cross for the cause, but I did not donate dime-one to this effort.
Call me jaded, but I knew what was ahead of us.
I have no sympathy whatsoever for these people from N.O.
We were poor when I was growing....many in the public housing project where I lived were poor.....bu poor then, meant the breadwinner lost his job. He was looking and ashamed to be living on assistance programs.
Not these N.O. leeches...most of them never worked in their lives, have lived off the taxpayer from birth.
When I look at them losers.
You know what? I want to know what happened to the Heineken guy. There's got to be an interesting story with that one.
The MSM cries foul every time FEMA tries to stop paying for the hotels.
I have a "poor" 21 year old grand son. Sorry to say but he is going to be poor all of his life, unless he learns the relationship between working and having things.
The use of the word 'victim' by the media and citizen drones is overused.
If you look at the definition of 'victim', then the rising price of gas or milk makes us all victims.
To be a victim you only need to be adversley affected.
I was adversly affected when I ran out of Vanilla extract on Thursday.
I guess that makes me a victim...
Message to Katrina 'survivors': Get off your arse, and go to work.
It used to be the day people were ashamed to be on welfare, today they brag about it. That along with being section 8, collecting SSI, heap, food stamps, living off the dime of the taxpayers is a way of life.
In the mean time, we fight to work, pay bills and do everything humanly possible to keep our heads above water. Ain't easy in Buffalo where there is no jobs, and taxes the highest in the country.
I have to balance the fact these people did suffer a tragedy in a natural disaster, maybe lost their house, job or business. But obviously many were welfare cases and the MSM has no desire to reveal that story - people who are unproductive, ungrateful, and expect the government (meaning us) to give them their entire lives, FOC.
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it.
Just wait for these hotel owners to send the government a bill for all the damages done to their rooms.
I wonder how many times she had to go back to NO to do this. I mean, really . . . ???
You sound like that editorial out of Lousiana that argued the rest of the country owned it to New Orleans to rebuild it because it was such a marvelous city. My answer is, no one "owes" anything to those who can but don't want to work. They are entitled to beg others for handouts to sustain themselves but I don't see that they are "owed" anything, by New Orleans, Louisiana, or anyplace else.
By the way, if you are implying that New Orleans was carrying beyond its fair share of human driftwood, I doubt it. If they were there, it was because the policies of the city were encouraging or sustaining it. You get what YOU deserve. If NO had a system of requiring quid pro quo or some other kinds of behavior that showed progress towards independence, then hard-core driftwood drifts on along with the current to other places. Maybe that is why was NO called "The Big Easy".
I like that.
I got out of Buffalo in 1982 when it was exactly the way you describe it 23 years later. I went to Atlanta, had 20 interviews in a week, got a job, an apartment and a flight home, loaded up the truck and was at work within 6 days. Lived in Atlanta 17 years and then moved here to Toronto.
I'm sorry to hear Buffalo is still just the way I left it in 1982.
For many of the people all the flood did was float their junk from one end of the room to the other. Many of them were sponging off the taxpayers before the flood and they do not know, or rather do not want to know, anything else. And if there is a form to fill out to get an extension to benefits becuase of "trauma" they will quickly learn with the help of poverty pimp social workers how to fill them out.
Can't his wife help too? Why can't she handle the paperwork and scout places for the print shop while he would be working the 30 hours and their son is in school?
No, it has gotten worse since 82
I got here in 91 and it has gotten worse.
They just raised the sales tax to 8.75
County Property taxes going up 14%
Plus all local property taxes going up.
This is my blog on Erie county and the state politics
How did that saying go? "God helps those that help themselves...?"
Is that a quote from the Looter Guy?
I don't know if you are being facetious, but the rest of the country is not going to bear the burden of the welfare state that is Louisiana. The rest of the country has had welfare reform, we don't let people live on welfare for indefinite periods of time, that are capable of working.
How would you like to be one of these hotel owners? I predict that these Katrina slackers will be given a deadline to become independent and if they don't make it, they will be shipped back to Louisiana.
This article paints with a pretty broad brush. Thousands of people were affected, and some for the rest of their lives. It will take years to recover from this disaster. My heart goes out to the victims. To focus on the minority of free-loaders diminishes the magnitude of this tragedy.
"I'm an evacuee. I ain't no refugee. That job offer is an insult!"
Beats working at that $10 an hour job, I guess. Almost three months after the fact, still asking for special treatment and looking for loans instead of working.
And we are supposed to feel bad because he hasn't bothered to get his son a ten dollar table at Salvation Army to do his homework on.
It hasn't been a matter of weeks, it's been a matter of months. It's only urgent now that there is a deadline.
If he's getting royalties, he's doing all right.
After the media circus and the craven congressional hustle to shovel billions at the problem, I agree you could see this coming a mile away. We will still be paying for some of these people's bills a year from now, and they will only be angrier and more demanding.
>>>I was adversly affected when I ran out of Vanilla extract on Thursday<<<
HAHAHA! I know I shouldn't laugh at such bonechilling downtrodden adversity, but I hope your pumpkin pies were already made.
No offense to Buffalo ... however, if I'm native to NOLA Buffalo, NY isn't exactly going to be my first choice for relocation ... neither is Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, etc..
I like what Ayn Rand said, something to the effect of--If you want a helping hand, just look at the end of your sleeve.
I'd be more concerned about getting money in my hand and food on the table first thing and pursue the other matters as time permits.
Washington, the New Orleans evacuee who lost his home and printing shop, is living in an apartment in Smyrna with his wife and 5-year-old son, sleeping on mattresses on the floor. They don't even have a table for his son to do homework
----And don't forget they do not have a table for the son to do his homework either. I guess the kids pencil won't work without one. My daughter bares on a book.
Boo fricking hoo. What makes this one so special? What about the California Earthquake a few years back? What about Fla that gets hit dang near every year? Wha about the wildfires that destroy so much every year? What about all the individual Katrinas that happen to a lot of people -- losing jobs, flooded out, fire destroying a home, etc. etc. etc.
Is Uncle Sugar going to put his (our) hand out for every sparrow that falls?
They enjoyed this perk of the hotel (paid for by FEMA):
Free Evening Beverages & Snacks Now Served Daily
You can't buy a drink around here. That's because our evening reception is FREE! Travelers can relax and enjoy . . . beverages and snacks are now available daily from 5:30pm - 7:00pm. (Service of alcohol subject to state and local law. Alcoholic beverages, if available, are limited to three per day.)
The last time I was there was back in late September. I didn't make the Happy Hour, I was too busy working. But some hotel employees were complaining even then. They said some hotel staff let them slide with the 3 drink maximum ticket limit, and the people were getting wasted every night. Plus, they were bringing in their own drinks into the lobby. I called a friend who was through there again recently, and many of the evacuees are still there, drinking a the hotel bar every single day.
This has been going on since the first week of September.
How did evacuees from early 1900's tragedies (San Francisco quake/fire, Chicago fire, Galveston hurricane), and those cities, recover without Uncle Sugar?
My eyes and ears have witnessed the lowest forms of humanity over the past few months, and they come in the form of New Orleans hurricane Katrina "victims". I call them the army of Mayor Ray Nagin, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrat party. It is actually pathetic to see what the so called "Black" leadership has reduced their following to. Working in the automotive business, I see these families every day. The men are never working, and just ooze of laziness. The women carry the credit cards (if they are valid). None of them can read or write or communicate as normal people in society. It actually breaks my heart to see what the children of these types of folks will turn out to be. At first I was all for reaching out and helping these folks, but as I witness their life style, all they want is something for nothing, and...they want to spend it on whatever they want. They are lost. Can't blame them in a way, other then they are so stupid as to follow the idiots that lead them, like Mayor Nagin, the Congressional Black Caucus and the entire Democrat "racist" Party. Right now, I would not give a penny to help this welfare state, demanding, failed sector of humanity. God help the United States if these people ever get any real power. And....folks, what I have described, is exactly the way it is!!! Shameful!!!! What a waste of humanity!!!
I got one face to face interview in one year after the dot.bomb implosion... maybe she should look to Vegas for a Casino job.
NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 26) - A man hailed by some as a hero for commandeering a school bus the day after Hurricane Katrina to take 60 stranded residents to safety in Houston has been arrested on drug charges where his bus journey began: the Fischer public housing complex.
Jabar Gibson, 20, who garnered a movie deal and national attention as the renegade bus driver, was booked Friday with possession with intent to distribute heroin after police stopped his rental car for allegedly driving erratically, New Orleans police said.