According to census figures just released, New Orleans, my hometown, has lost a third of its population during the past decade. But actually, it's not over the past decade that the city has taken such a hit. It's since Hurricane Katrina, which occurred on August 29, 2005. Before the storm, the city was about 455,000 people. Now, after it, we're talking 344,000. That missing third of the populace has been scattered to the four winds. Shortly after Susan and I moved back here we met a lady driven out of New Orleans all the way up here to Oklahoma City; she said she's not going back. Baton Rouge LA has added about 40,000 people to its population since the storm. Places all over south Louisiana have experienced similar jumps in population. But overall the state has shed enough population to lose one congressional representative as a result of the storm. One has to wonder what New Orleans would have looked like and what its population would have been had the national government reacted to the disaster the way we have a right to expect a merely competent national government would have. Damn George Bush, I say . . . the evils this man visited upon this country we're still living with and will be for a long time. Our kids will live with them, too, long after we're gone.
Update I: Actually, the state of Louisiana gained 1.4 percent in population from 2000-2010. See interactive map here. But compared to the rate of growth of other states, this was not enough to allow it to keep its present congressional delegation at the same size. Next-door Mississippi, for example, gained 4.3 percent population during the same period. Of the six Gulf Coast counties ravaged by Katrina, five gained in population during the decade.