… the name of a poem by Saul Williams, but also, a real life story.
The Nation Institute recently uncovered some brutal new stories of an older news topic: the hidden race war during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath in New Orleans, when white residents fearing black looters formed citizens’ militias that systematically targeted black residents.
In one neighborhood, Algiers Point – a small, white neighborhood surrounded by a black residential area – became an explosive environment. Whites rounded up shotguns, pistols, and rifles, and prowled the neighborhood for “niggers” who looked out of place. Black residents were murdered in the street, after which the white residents stretched the bodies out on the sidewalks to scare away “looters”. One vigilante described, “in this neighborhood we take care of our own.” According to a government aid group, by 2006 about 2,300 people had still not found after Hurricane Katrina, 3/4 of whom were black. The Nation says probably 11 people were murdered by the Algiers Point militia.
The Algiers Point militia was praised during the time period. Once the National Guard arrived, there was a flag-waving celebration, the murders forgotten, and the motivations never investigated. The article details the accounts of black residents who searched for drop-off and evacuation points and were harassed by the armed gunmen. Some were told to run, and then shot at – regardless of whether they lived in Algiers or not.