Many people are raised BADLY - with no respect for law or life. We see this most graphically in parts of Palestine where and when jihadistic parents dress their children up as sucide bombers and extol to them the "loveliness" of committing genocide.
Poverty does NOT cause children grow up badly and to behave in this way - nor does ethnicity; bad parenting does. Some of the finest parents in the history of the world were poor. Or ARE poor! Some of the worst are rich. Poor people can - and DO - raise WONDERFUL children who grow up to be good people (regardless of whether they become rich or poor themselves). And poor persecuted people can also raise wonderful kids. So racism is NO EXCUSE.
The breakdown of LAW AND ORDER in New Orleans is widespread BUT PERPETRATED by RELATIVELY FEW PEOPLE -- by THUGS and CRIMINALS - these are people who were thugs and criminals BEFORE the flood, and they are merely using the flood as an excuse to do what they ALWAYS want to do and often do when tthere is no flood and they think no one is looking!
Primarliy the lawlessness is the fault of the lawbreakers. As I have written and linked to in other posts: lawbreakers have been tolerated for way way WAY TOO LONG in New Orleans. This must stop. Adult lawbreakers must be dealt with harshly and imprisoned. Parents and schools must be made accountable for raising good LAW-ABIDING citizens.
After the clean up, and BEFORE reconstruction, we must plan a "NEW NEW ORLEANS" with better housing, better plumbing, better schools, and better jobs. Whole sections of the city will be bulldozed and perhaps the stae and the city and ther feds should declare vast tracks PUBLIC - by eminent domain - and then redeveloped with factories and schools and churches and everything that makes a city's physical plant attractive to investment, businesses, and the middleclass. I belive that New New Orleans might very well become a shining city on a hill - or levee, (HEH! - you should please PARDON the bad joke!).
With a new urban physical plant - properly zoned and financed by a combination of private and public sources - and with a new public committment to pro-social values and a new INTOLERANCE for lawlessness I am ABSOLUTELY SURE that NEW New Orleans will be mo' better than ever!
Besides the perp's themselves, the LOCAL AUTHORITIES BEAR THE MOST RESPONSIBILTY for allowing the conditions which permitted the lawlessness to be so rampant. The local government was inept and utterly incompetent. They should have been better prepared and had a plan to get poor people out of the city and to prevent looting in the otherwise vacated city. They did neither.
FOR INSTANCE, (as had been noted elsewhere), the locals could have AND THEREFORE SHOULD HAVE commandeered ALL CITY BUSES to forcibly evacuate EVERYONE BEFORE THE HURRICANE. They had the buses. They did nothing. The buses are now flooded, and useless because hey weren't even moved to higher ground for use AFTER a flood! This is UTTER INCOMPETENCE by LOCAL GOVERNMENT - (and somewhat by the state and the feds for NOT CATCHING IT BEFOREHAND).
The slowness of relief is another matter. Water and food should have been air-dropped at all central gathering locations (such as the Dome and the Convention Center) within the first 48 hours. It wasn't. For this the FEMA chief should be FIRED. But the slowness of relief is NO EXCUSE FOR LAWLESSNESS.
NOW: I think that the president ought to appoint Colin Powell and Tommy Franks and Rudy Giuliani (and a staff) nto lead a 3-man "Katrina Reconstruction Presidential Oversight Commission" to advise and assist the 3 effected governors (and all the effected mayors) and to make sure that they DO THE RIGHT THINGS with federal assistance.