The difference is that some people might have thought they had more time to play with in New Orleans, whereas in California they didn't. Would you hang around if there was fire on your ***? In addition to that, New Orleans was a city where the majority of people were disadvantaged. Where there are so many poor people, you will also find those who react in desperation. I read you loud and clear. Your question seems innocuous enough but I decipher a subtle, racial implication to it. No. It had nothing to do with race. It had everything to do with poverty and desperation,too many people all thrown together in one small space, young, old, decent and criminal, sane and demented, and that inevitably led to bad behavior. If thousands of different people in California had to be confined to one auditorium for several days or weeks, what do you think the outcome would be?
Edit: I would like to add that one of the major contentions by people in New Orleans, is that many of them tried to take items that they needed in order to survive. Not everyone tried to commit theft or other crimes. Some reports of looting were exaggerated. If you were in a disaster area and needed food, blankets,formula and diapers for your children and saw them sitting in a store that was abandoned and getting destroyed by water, what would you do?