That's what it's being called now by those dealing with the disaster.
It is beyond my comprehension how these people are still there without food and water, without medical attention, without any way to escape, and the failure of leadership is utter, complete and staggering. These people are breaking into stores to get food to save their lives and the lives of their children. They did what they were told. Their only crime was being too poor to heed Michael "I Could Not Be More Incompetent If I Tried" Chertoff's call to get out of town on their own steam when the government could've actually mobilized to help them. Well congratulations, America, we've got a pathologically indifferent dry drunk at the helm who has "zero tolerance" for such people.
For anyone who thinks now is not the time to lapse into negative politics, I'm sorry, but I'm invoking Wolcott:
Look at 9/11. There were tough questions about the breakdown of communications at Ground Zero, the lateness in scrambling fighter jets once the hijacked planes were heading toward NY and DC, Bush's strange behavior on that day, etc., and in the aftermath those questions were considered inappropriate, "divisive." We needed to grieve first, heal; and then the tough questions could be raised."Polite" people kept their mouths shut after 9/11, let the bastard walk away like it was some kind of personal triumph and wound up -- here.
But they weren't. As months passed, the focus was on overthrowing the Taliban and avenging 9/11, and tough questions were taken off the table as the drumbeat was about the Nation Moving Forward. The media fell into zombie lockstep behind the invigorated Bush agenda. It took the 9/11 widows and esp the "Jersey Girls" to push and shame the Congress, the media, and the administration into launching a proper investigation, otherwise it would have all slid into the memory hole apart from the iconic images of the smoking towers before their collapse.
No, this is the time for politics, none better, because I can tell you just from being out of NY a few days that a lot of people in this country are shocked and sobered by New Orleans, but they're also worried and pissed off. They're making the connection between the money, manpower, and resources expended in Iraq and how raggedy-ass the rescue effort has been in the Gulf. If you don't say it now when people's nerves are raw and they're paying full attention, it'll be too late once the waters receded and the media-emoting "healing process" begins.