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Distancing Rural Poverty

31 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2005  

Debra Lyn Bassett

Southwestern Law School


The horrifying images of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath - frightened, mostly African-American, survivors huddling on rooftops awaiting rescue, without food or water, abandoned for five desperate days, herded into the Superdome with an astonishing lack of planning that left the survivors surrounded by dead bodies, sewage, stench, and inadequate police protection - were televised again and again, bringing issues of race and poverty to the forefront of the collective public consciousness. Although the ravaged areas often were referred to as the Gulf Coast region, the focus of media attention was, unmistakably, New Orleans - with, at most, an occasional passing reference to the even greater devastation in rural Mississippi and Louisiana. The omission of any serious focus on rural areas following Hurricane Katrina is consistent with the lack of attention given to rural areas generally. Even in the subsequent well-intentioned consciousness-raising that called for increased attention to, and discussion of, issues pertaining to race and poverty, one consideration has consistently been overlooked. There are not two, but three components to the population that is forgotten, hidden, and indeed repressed from view and memory - components not only of race and poverty, but also of place.

Suggested Citation

Bassett, Debra Lyn, Distancing Rural Poverty. Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy, Vol. 13, 2006; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 172; U of Alabama Public Law Research Paper No. 832090. Available at SSRN:

Debra Lyn Bassett (Contact Author)

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

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