Surge of Katrina Evacuees Strains nearby Baton Rouge
In the immediate wake of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s capital city of Baton Rouge was inundated with as many as 235,000 evacuees—temporarily doubling the city’s population. One year later, Baton Rouge residents are still adjusting to the changes caused by the surge in new residents: increased traffic, soaring housing costs, more police calls and crime. No one knows exactly how many New Orleanians remain in Baton Rouge, but the number does include 3,700 displaced students who have joined the school district, stretching teachers and classrooms thin.
Now Baton Rouge residents are beginning to wonder if the changes in their city are here to stay. With a variety of municipal resources in short supply, tensions between long-term residents and recent New Orleans transplants are increasing. Debates about racial and socio-economic factors have become all but unavoidable. This Washington Post article delves into some of the criticisms and concerns currently bubbling to the surface in what may now be Louisiana’s most populous city.