By Julia Craven –Huff Post Katrina 10
WASHINGTON — The streets of Algiers Point, a mostly white enclave nestled in a predominantly black New Orleans neighborhood, were not safe. White militias blocked off most of the area’s streets, posted signs declaring that they had no issue gunning down looters. Bullets cut through the stale, moist air.
Reginald Bell, a black Algiers resident, stood on a street several blocks from his home, staring down the barrel of a white man’s pump-action shotgun fixed on him from a balcony. Bell was told his kind wasn’t wanted around, according to The New York Times. The following day, the man and an accomplice shoved that shotgun and a long-nose .357 Magnum into the faces of Bell and his girlfriend as they sat on their porch.
“There was no electricity, no police, no nothing,” Bell told the Times in 2010. “We were like sitting ducks. I slept with a butcher knife and a hatchet under my pillow.”
Media coverage of Hurricane Katrina failed Bell and those who looked like him. His story wasn’t told until five years later. Black residents, most of them poor, were hit hardest by the 2005 storm, yet only rumors of rape, murder and other atrocious crimes committed by black people — rather than against them — made their way into the national narrative. Everything was in disarray. Post-Katrina New Orleans was presented to the rest of the nation as a lawless state made up of dead bodies, dehydrated, half-naked, dirty men and women, screaming children and unforgivable stench.
How would media coverage of Katrina have been different in the age of social media?
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