Most people don't have cars to leave, don't have money for gas. Pay for a hotel that long? I mean, you have to do whatever you have to do, and I guess I'm gonna stay and work.
Jeremiah O'Farrell, another dishwasher:
If I left, I'll probably lose my job. I really don't have anywhere to go if I could leave.
I wish I had the money to go... ....Lot of folks around here are gonna make do with what they have, and you won't hear a terrible amount of complaining. You can't just come in here and expect to hear people fussing about how they don't have nothing.
Mayor Ray Nagin warned "residents that staying would be 'one of the biggest mistakes of your life'", and "emphasized that the city will not offer emergency services to anyone who chooses to stay behind". But for too many, staying behind is not an independent choice, but a decision tempered by other factors. And even though the city is providing transportation for those who have no other way out to shelters in northern Louisiana, that does not protect the poorest (or just poor) from losing their source of income. It does not offer much in the way of actual shelter or assistance once the storm is over and they return (or not) to their old lives, with less than they had before and very possibly no way to pay for necessities like food and shelter.
It is easy to blame the poor, the immigrants frightened of deportation, the disabled, and the wary for their fate in this storm. But that isn't the whole story. It doesn't take into account that these are people existing on the precipice, and it doesn't take into account that people -regardless of race, gender, or income level- deserve to feel safe enough and secure enough in their position to take whatever assistance is available in preparation for the onslaught of the storm. But that isn't the reality these people who are staying in New Orleans live with. They aren't guaranteed anything after the storm dissipates and life returns to some semblance of normalcy. And that is a modern injustice and a tragedy.