Poverty, distrust kept many blacks from fleeing Katrina, study finds

The Baltimore Sun

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Perceptions of racism and other factors influenced many black residents not to leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached, according to University of South Carolina researchers.

The study, based on the views of 53 black residents who were evacuated to Columbia after the storm, found that:

Poverty limited transportation options, keeping in the storm's path some who might have gotten out. Some did not leave because the storm struck just before payday and they did not have the money to find a way out.

Many thought they could ride out the storm.

Others concluded that local officials were most concerned about white residents and their neighborhoods.

"Some stayed behind because they did not trust the authorities to look after their communities," said Keith Elder, the study's lead author.


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