Friday, September 01, 2006

Houston Evacuees, Get Out While You Still Can

Around 1,700 Houston residents showed up at a town hall meeting to tell the Houston Mayor and Police Chief that they want the Katrina evacuees from New Orleans to leave:
“We just want you to understand our situation in this community and we appreciate the good work and the hard work that you’ve done, but we want the New Orleans residents to go home,” said one speaker.

“We can’t walk to a beautiful park that was put in without being accosted. I want to know what you’re going to do about it or do we have to take things into our own hands?” said another woman.


Barbara Miller, who lives in the Walnut Bend subdivision, told White that helping the Katrina evacuees after the deadly storm was "a heroic, Herculean and noble effort."

But now it's time to take the city back, she said.
Take things into their own hands? Time to take the city back? Yikes:
In the gun stores and on the shooting ranges of America's oil industry capital, business is booming as fearful locals take their defence into their own hands and buy concealed weapons licences that allow them to travel armed.

Although 9mm semi-automatic pistols are the easiest gun to carry, Jim Pruett, an arms salesman, says that his "looter shooter" - a pistol-grip, pump shotgun retailing at $370 (£200) - is also a big seller. "We've seen a 50 per cent increase in people taking our concealed weapons courses since the Katrina evacuees arrived," he said. "They are scared and they want to be able to defend themselves."
I want Houstonians to be safe. But, I am confident that all the New Orleanians temporarily living in Houston are not criminals. Houston has not become Dodge City.

The Houston residents seem to have an issue with the assistance receiving group, based on this:
John Kirkendahl, who identified himself as a 61-year old attorney, asked White bluntly: "Where do you stand on stopping the FEMA and the welfare money, in stopping the giveaways?" — to sustained applause and cheers.
And this:
When Mayor White said they would be phased out in February, he received boos from the crowd.
Out of the 110,000 to 120,000 Katrina evacuees still living in Houston, around 100,000 of them are from New Orleans. Yesterday, 2,600 evacuees lost FEMA housing assistance and 26,000 are set to lose theirs at the end of October with the possibility of extending their funding to February. We can assume that the majority of those who lost housing assistance or will lose it are from New Orleans.

So, when this town hall meeting occurred, around 28,000 New Orleanians were living off of FEMA money – less than a third of all the New Orleanians in Houston. Now, these numbers are my summation – not the official count. I am going on the news reports I can find.

But the Houston residents who spoke at the town hall meeting did not ask for that third to leave. They asked for “the New Orleans residents” to leave and urged the Mayor to “take back” the city, not just their neighborhood.

If you are a New Orleanian in Houston – and like the majority of them you are not a criminal – that’s got to hurt.

Houston Mayor Bill White has been a friend to the New Orleanians in his city. And at the town hall meeting, he seemed to get it:
"If people want do so something unlawful, then we need to catch them, try them, convict them and lock them up," White said.

"If they're just trying to get on with their lives, then we ought to respect our fellow Americans, and there's not much of a home to go to."
Notice he said “our fellow Americans.”

You know, I have seen a lot of Texas license plates driving around New Orleans, many of them on pick up trucks involved, in some way, in the rebuilding of our city. We appreciate it, but I don’t think they are here for a noble cause. The ones I talk to are here to make money.

I can’t get that out of my head. New Orleanians are in Texas being asked to go home when they have no home. Many who are receiving assitance didn’t have jobs or money before the storm, so they have no jobs or money now. Texans, who had a home in Texas, are in New Orleans, with a place to stay here, with a job, and making money. I don’t get that.

Can we come up with some kind of trade?

RELATED: Oyster says "Thanks, Houston," though Mr. Clio says it should be "THANKS HOUSTON."


Sophmom said...

You're right, White does seem to get it, and "our fellow Americans" is a big step up from the preznit's "that part of the world". *sigh*

dangerblond said...

I spent last fall evacuated in Houston and the Mayor was the only person who was welcoming to New Orleanians. That is a very unfriendly, ugly, vulgar city. The houses are so cheap-looking, if Katrina had hit there, there would not be anything left but sticks. They are scapegoating New Orleans people. I had to drive through some Houston slums every day and I would rather live in a houseboat in the Lower Ninth than live in that place. I intend never to go back there unless I am forced to at gun point.

Ian McGibboney said...

I'm not surprised. I used to work with the UL track team here in Lafayette, and we would travel to Texas on a regular basis. At the University of Houston indoor track, we'd be herded like cattle into a tiny team area with four or five other teams, while UH (ha ha) athletes had free rein of the place, including the wide-open spaces that could have spread the teams out better. Their security often had me wondering if Dick Cheney was at the meets. Granted, I wasn't manhandled like I was at LSU, but it was still a generally lousy expereince.

And in Beaumont, at a Lamar meet, we were leaving the facility when a giant riot broke out between two local teams in the parking lot. It totally enveloped us, this giant fight over pride. I doubt any of them were from New Orleans.

Finally, we hosted a high-school meet at out track one year. One girls' relay team (from the Hoouston area) came to me for medals and asked me this:

"Aren't you jealous?"

"Of what?"

"That we're from Texas and you're stuck in Louisiana?"

So screw Houston and their soulless, grimy, bigoted city.

da po' boy said...

I didn't mean for this post to imply that all Houstonians don't get it. That would be the same type of generalization as saying all New Orleanians are criminals.

Some Houstonians think that way, and some of them spoke at that town hall meeting. I would only criticize the entire city of Houston if it became city policy to harass or remove New Orleanians from Houston. Mayor White seems unwilling to do that.

Also, a safer Houston for Houstonians is a safer Houston for New Orleanians, until they come home.

mominem said...

I suggest we send a Texas pickup truck and driver back for every person they send home. We can simply exchange places and jobs. A sort of worker exchange program

dillyberto said...

They are just bent out of shape because Davis' injury and Reggie Bush's promise to be an impact player.

Houston can't handle the culture our people bring.

Houston can't handle the food our people cook.

Our people can't handle the food Houston cooks.

Believe me, many want to come home.

Polimom said...

"I didn't mean for this post to imply that all Houstonians don't get it. That would be the same type of generalization as saying all New Orleanians are criminals."

You're right, of course. They're not all narrow-minded and bigtoted. I'm glad that the first commenter to my post on this embarrassing story supports that... particularly in light of what came after it.


And this morning I read that there's some "agreement" between the mayors that if an evacuee commits a crime in Houston, they'll go to Louisiana to serve their time. Sounds like jurisdictional confusion to me, but the video includes an attorney seemingly confirming that there's precedent. (Video is available w/ the story, here.)

All in all, it's a sad, and dangerous, situation.

Realist2006 said...

Its only sad because these poor selfish pathetic saps who mooch off of our government and our taxes, refuse to get a job because they think they are still homeless a year later. Its been a year for heavens sake, I could go find a job in a week. These people need to get off of their lazy pathetic fat asses and get a job. If they wont get a job they deserve nothing more than to be sent where they came from so they can be homeless and jobless where they started. Even illegal immigrants have ennough self respect to get a job and a home! I would say let the illegal immigrants stay. At least they have jobs and homes!