NOLA human rights lawyer Bill Quigley outlines what he believes were thirty-three deliberate actions on the part of the federal government to undermine recovery in New Orleans.
"Step One. Delay. If there is one word that sums up the way to destroy an African-American city after a disaster, that word is DELAY. If you are in doubt about any of the following steps - just remember to delay, and you will probably be doing the right thing.
Step Two. When a disaster is coming, do not arrange a public evacuation. Rely only on individual resources. People with cars and money for hotels will leave. The elderly, the disabled and the poor will not be able to leave. Most of those without cars - 25 percent of households in New Orleans, overwhelmingly African-Americans - will not be able to leave.
Step Three. When the disaster hits, make certain the national response is overseen by someone who has no experience at all handling anything on a large scale, particularly disasters.
...Step Ten. Make sure that when government assistance finally has to be given out, it is given out in a totally arbitrary way. People will have lost their homes, jobs, churches, doctors, schools, neighbors and friends. Give them a little bit of money, but not too much. Make people dependent. Then cut off the money. Then give it to some and not others. Refuse to assist more than one person in every household. This will create conflicts where more than one generation lived together. Make it impossible for people to get consistent answers to their questions. Long lines and busy phones will discourage people from looking for help.
...Step Twelve. Whatever you do, keep people away from their city for as long as possible. This is the key to long-term success in destroying the African-American city. Do not permit people to come home. Keep people guessing about what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. Set numerous deadlines and then break them. This will discourage people and make it increasingly difficult for people to return.
...Step Nineteen. Make sure all the predominately white suburbs surrounding the African-American city make it very difficult for people displaced from the city to return to the metro area. Have one suburb refuse to allow any new subsidized housing at all.
Step Twenty. Reduce public transportation by more than 80 percent. The people without cars will understand the message.
...Step Twenty-Eight. Create lots of planning processes, but give them no authority. Overlap them where possible. Give people conflicting signals on whether their neighborhood will be allowed to rebuild or be turned into green space.
...Step Thirty-One. Keep people's attention diverted from the African-American city. Pour money into Iraq instead of the Gulf Coast. Corporations have figured out how to make big bucks whether we are winning or losing the war. It is easier to convince the country to support war - support for cities is much, much tougher. "