I have a big story on the Voice website today about what I saw when I was down in Baton Rouge, where they have registered about 8,000 Katrina kids in the public schools. Basically, it seems that the same people are being forgotten who are always being forgotten. This is Louisiana after all.
On the other hand, this disaster has raised a really good discussion about the social safety net, bringing a lot of conservative policies into serious question. The victims of Katrina need affordable health care, and the government is the only one who can realistically provide it on the scale necessary. They need affordable housing--ditto. (The link is to an editorial by the super-conservative Heritage Foundation which has joined in an ideologically diverse coalition to support Katrina federal housing vouchers). They are unfairly victimized by the new bankruptcy law--so is everyone. Basically, Katrina is just a large acute impossible-for-conservatives-to-ignore version of life: the unavoidable, unpredictable misfortunes that threaten everyone and require a collective response.
(sermon over) (Krugman's version of same)