Hispanics Moved to Gulf Coast After Storms
— from the Associated Press
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita drove an estimated 450,000 people from their communities along the Gulf Coast last year, but in the storms’ wake Hispanics moved in _ perhaps 100,000 or more.
New government estimates show a region decimated by population losses four months after the storms. Orleans Parish in Louisiana lost 279,000 people, and nearby St. Bernard Parish lost 61,000, or 95 percent of its residents.
Hispanics, however, swept in by the tens of thousands, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.
Guillermo Meneses, spokesman for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said, ‘Where you see work and the opportunity for work, you will see Latinos.’
For example, the estimates showed that Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, grew by 93,000 people. The city and county have consistently placed the population influx at 150,000 people.
‘We know it says 90,000, but the number of people in the housing program alone exceeded that,’ said Frank Michel, spokesman for Houston Mayor Bill White.
Also, while the data clearly shows an increase in Hispanics and immigrants in the hurricane region as a whole, it is less clear where those increases happened because the changes were so small in some areas.