Ten months ago, the nation was riveted by televised images of people, most of them African Americans, fleeing the floodwaters in New Orleans. It was obvious that poor black neighborhoods were the most vulnerable when Hurricane Katrina hit and the levees broke, and that blacks had the fewest resources with which to cope with the disaster. Newsweek branded the situation “a national shame” in a cover story. Many people expected that the economic disparities exposed by Katrina would elicit a national conversation on poverty and race. President Bush spoke of building the city “bigger and better.” Some public figures talked of creating a Marshall Plan for the region or a New Deal–style public works program that would provide work for the displaced poor while rebuilding the city.