Katrina and Dependency
75% of the population got out of New Orleans before Katrina hit. The remaining 25% were made up of the welfare parasites, drug addicts, street gangs, criminals who were simply released from prisons in the absence of an evacuation plan, and the true victims -- the aged, the ill, and the handicapped. What I am about to say does not apply to the last group.
After decades of welfare entitlement mentality, there were hundred of thousands of people in New Orleans trained not to prepare, not to fend for themselves, not to protect what was valuable to them; they were trained to wait for the government to "do something", to take care of them.
Most of these people are able-bodied. If they could make it to the SuperDome, they could have made it another 1/4 mile to dry land and started walking. There would be rides and places to stay. There would be comparative safety and comfort. There would be some self-determination to their fate.
They were warned days in advance to get out of the city. They did not. They were ORDERED to get out the day before the hurricane hit. They stayed. Prior storms provided lessons to supply themselves with several days' worth of food, water, and emergency supplies. They did not.
75% of the population had homes, jobs, productive lives, something to lose. They left.
25% of the population had nothing of intrinsic value; no real job, no ownership of assets, no productivity, nothing to miss. They stayed.
The 75% have learned that things can be replaced, that life must trump all, and that they have a responsibility to their own safety and that of their loved ones first. Get away to safety, come back and weep over the destruction, then rebuild and move on. They are not hostage to the governmental collapse of the region.
The 25% have learned nothing, except that the great Welfare State that they put so much trust in has let them down when they needed it the most. They are dependent on a broken system, and they have not learned to work without it. Now they are at best in great discomort, and at worst in fear for their lives.
Accustomed to taking handouts from the government or forcing a living through violent means over vulnerable people, the 25% were doomed to the fate they are facing now. When the crack stopped coming in, the druggies had to go cold turkey, prompting the waves of violence and looting. Naturally, in addition to breaking in to stores and stealing things, it also meant preying on the weaker and more vulnerable in their midst. The welfare state created both the sheep and the wolves, suddenly thrown together in the oldest battle -- for survival. The lack of any "grownups" -- external authority -- has prompted the wolves to begin running wild. Not content to steal or victimize for fun, now they are starting fires, ambushing police, shooting at rescuers, and threatening hospitals.
Arguments about "not having the resources to escape" ring hollow. If you have to get away, you have to get away. Walk. Get a bike. Get on a bus. Hitch a ride. There are reasons survival of the fittest worked so well for so long, and our modern technological burst has managed to allow people who would previously have fallen into Darwin's pit to survive (as long as the modern tech holds up).
Some may say that blaming the victims at this time is callous. As mentioned above and elsewhere, the number of true victims is small -- the aged, the ill, and handicapped. Every single other person still left in New Orleans is only a victim of their own bad judgment and dependence on a Welfare State to take care of them.