Is Louisiana ready for another hurricane?

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Church Bells Toll as US Gulf Coast Marks 10 Years Since Katrina.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Gulf Coast and New Orleans observed the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest storms in American history, in ways both devout and festive.New Orleans: New Orleans remembered the dead and celebrated its painstaking comeback from disaster on Saturday, a decade after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the “Big Easy” leaving devastation and chaos in its wake. Church bells rang and brass bands played as people across the storm-ravaged coast remembered the past and looked to the future. “Some people said that we shouldn’t come back. City leaders placed wreaths at a memorial to Katrina’s scores of unknown victims, marking the hour that the Category 5 storm struck with catastrophic force, overwhelming the Louisiana port’s system of levees.

Clinton said residents of New Orleans have much to be proud of in their achievements since the devastation of Katrina but should now rededicate themselves to eradicating the disparities of income, education and health. But in Mississippi, former Governor Haley Barbour, author of America’s Great Storm: Leading Through Hurricane Katrina received plaudits from all sides for his decisive, non-partisan leadership and political clout, which secured $24 billion in disaster relief from Congress. (Related: Protecting a New Generation of Poisoned Kids After Katrina.) Talking from his home in Mississippi, he describes what Katrina taught him about leadership; explains how a new word, “slabbed,” was coined; and why he still stands by President Bush. Dignitaries in the hard-hit city laid wreaths and eulogized the the storm’s 1,800 dead, while celebrating the recovery of the city and the resiliency of its inhabitants. New Orleans was plunged into a nightmarish scene of death and looting after Katrina barrelled her way through and government help was painfully slow to come, something which still rankles in the city. Residents of the city’s rebuilt lower Ninth Ward, which was devastated by Katrina, marched in a parade and listened to speakers describe the catastrophe and its aftermath.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, at a solemn ceremony attended by about 400 people at Charity Hospital Cemetery in the Mid-City neighbourhood, struck a defiant tone. “We know that even as New Orleans is rebuilding, there are those who are grieving the deaths of their mothers, their fathers, their sisters. Bush visited the city on Friday, accompanied by his wife, Laura, whose library foundation helped rebuild what is the oldest public school in New Orleans.

Louis was damaged but inhabitable after the storm. “I didn’t go through what all the other people did.” Saturday was a day to remember what “all the other people” went through. The Bush administration was roundly criticized in the days following the storm for a slow emergency response to the thousands of people needing shelter, supplies and security amid the flooding. Max Mayfield, called to say, “This is going to be a Camille-like storm.” Hurricane Camille hit Mississippi in 1969: one of only three storms ever to come ashore as a Category 5 hurricane. It’s still kind of bittersweet.” Neighbourhoods and cultural centres held parties and parades before former president Bill Clinton spoke at an evening commemoration, with performances by a number of Grammy-winning musicians.

And brick by brick, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, you build a better future.” “The project of rebuilding here wasn’t simply to restore the city as it had been, it was to build a city as it should be,” he told a crowd of 600. “A city where everyone, no matter who they are or what they look like or how much money they’ve got, has an opportunity to make it.” He weighed into a debate that has bubbled up during the Katrina anniversary about whether New Orleans’ post-Katrina story is one of a city resurrected or of people left behind. But after the news media started referring to this as a storm like Camille we had a hugely improved evacuation. (Related: Beyond Katrina: 7 Portraits of Grit and Determination) We thought Camille was the gold standard: 200 mph winds, with about 200 tornadoes. But plenty of white New Orleans residents also found the emotional and financial cost of rebuilding to be too high, though their numbers are harder to measure.

We had tens of thousands of houses where that was all that was left. (Related: New Orleans Door to Door) President Bush flew to Mobile, Alabama to meet with you and other governors. After the speeches were done, a parade snaked through the neighborhood while music played from boom boxes and people sold water from ice chests under the hot sun. He came back Saturday just to find old faces from the neighborhood but he couldn’t bring himself to see the vacant lot where his house used to be. “The family home is what kept us together and it’s gone,” he said.

When we were walking out to get on a helicopter that would take President Bush and I to Mississippi, the President made that remark— “Good job, Brownie!” — to Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, which would be interpreted by people as showing he was out of touch with what was happening. She recounted her post-Katrina experiences — fear and thirst in a sweltering Superdome, eventual transport to Kansas — with humor, grace and at times defiance. As we went along, President Bush leaned as far forward as federal law would permit to give us the maximum support after Congress passed special emergency disaster legislation in December. Compare the looting in Mississippi to other places; it was a very small fraction. (Related: 10 Years After Katrina, Some Are ‘Homeless in Their Own Homes’) You were widely praised for your lobbying efforts in Washington after Katrina. I’ll never forget one day in November, I walked into the Capitol, and a voice said, “Haley?” I looked over and it was Congressman Barney Frank from Massachusetts: liberal, Northeastern Democrat.

You send it to me and I will send it to every Democratic member of the House and ask every one of them to vote for it.” Seventy five percent of the housing damage from Katrina was in Louisiana, but Mississippi received seventy percent of FEMA’s housing funds. Many people have actually criticized me for not getting more money [Laughs] But I think the idea of pork barrel flies in the face of the sentiment of the American people. Second thing: Be open and inform the public through the press what the reality is, what you’re trying to do about it, how you’re trying to do it, and tell the truth. There’s nothing more damaging to the ability to lead than if people think you’re not telling the truth, or if they learn you’re not telling the truth.

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