ABC News is using the four year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to spread the rumor that vigilante bands of white "people hunters" roamed the streets of Algiers Point ("a historically white enclave") in the days after the hurricane hit looking for innocent black people to kill*. Although the white residents of Algiers Point likely did arm up and wall off neighborhoods to prevent black evacuees from looting, anything beyond that is wild speculation.
The allegation that white residents of Algiers Point murdered black evacuees is just the latest in a number of baseless rumors that black activists and white liberals have spread in the four years since Hurricane Katrina. Most of these allegations have been disproven, such as the claim that blacks were less prepared to evacuate New Orleans than whites and therefore had a higher death rate.
In September 2005, Barack Obama said that Hurricane Katrina showed "how little inner-city African Americans have to fall back on. They could not load up their families in a van, fill it up with $100 of gasoline, throw some bottled water in the back and check into a hotel with a credit card." Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean took it a step further, declaring, "Race was a factor in the death toll from Hurricane Katrina... We must come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color... played a deadly role in who survived and who did not."
In reality, blacks were underrepresented among the dead. While the population of the disaster area was 61% black and 36% white, blacks only accounted for 51% of the deaths. 44% of those killed were white.
The fact is, it was whites who were especially in danger of being victimized in the hurricane's aftermath. When a group of nine white Australian tourists sought refuge in the Superdome, the white women were repeatedly pestered and grabbed by black men. Other whites, including an English girl who had been nearly raped in a bathroom but managed to escape, joined the Aussies. The small group of white people sat huddled on the concourse, with the women in the middle and the men around the outside.
One of the men described the group's palpable sense of fear, telling Australian media that, "The girls were in real danger. We knew we had to stick together. We were a minority group inside a stadium with 25,000 people."
In light of this first-hand testimony of the savagery of many of the Katrina survivors, it would be wrong to condemn the white citizens of Algiers Point who took precautions to prevent Katrina evacuees from entering their neighborhoods. After welcoming thousands of Katrina refugees, Houston, TX experienced a spike in violent crime including murder. By taking up arms and defending themselves, the people of Algiers Point may have avoided a similar fate from befalling their community.
* The allegation that racially-motivated murders took place in Algiers Point is being publicized by A.C. Thompson, a reporter with ProPublica. Although ProPublica is ostensibly a non-partisan investigative journalism organization, it was founded by, and continues to be primarily funded by, Herb and Marion Sandler, who also fund a number of left-wing organizations such as ACORN and MoveOn. Click here to watch an unedited version of the infamous SNL bailout skit from last fall where the Sandlers appear above the caption "People who should be shot"; the Sandlers appear at the 5 minute mark.