As I was walking through the River Market this afternoon about to eat lunch, I came across a couple of police officers dressing down a black guy. The guy, who was drinking a paperbag-sheathed beer, said he was a Katrina refugee and planned to go back to Louisiana for Mardi Gras. The officers gave him a warning for public drinking and took his photograph. Fair enough. They also continued to question him to no purpose and suggested that he take “15 or 20 of his Salvation Army buddies” with him when he goes back home. Not necessary.
Is he really a Katrina refugee? Who knows. But the mention prompted a reader to share a photo taken when buses from Louisiana streamed into Fort Chaffee with people in need of temporary shelter here. How many of them — many of them extremely needy because they were the very people least able to cope independently — remain in Arkansas?