Heck of a Job

A story to appear in tomorrow’s New York Times says that a study of more than 260 Louisianans who died during Hurricane Katrina or its aftermath “found that almost all survived the height of the storm but died in the chaos and flooding that followed.”

The results are not necessarily representative of the 1,100 people who died in the storm-ravaged part of the state. The 268 deaths examined by The Times were not chosen through a scientific or random sample, but rather were selected on the basis of which family members could be reached, and which names had been released by state officials.

Nonetheless, the study represents the most comprehensive picture to date of the Louisiana victims of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures. The Times conducted more than 200 interviews with relatives, neighbors and friends of the victims, and culled information from local coroners and medical examiners, census data, obituaries, and news articles.

It’s a heartbreaking thing to read. One suspects some of those people could have been saved had there been halfway adequate response.