Katrina 10 Years Later as Erika Heads for Florida and Hurricane Trump Surge …

28 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Associated Press Photographers Reflect on Katrina Coverage.

NEW ORLEANS – Former President Bush is returning to New Orleans — the scene of one of his presidency’s lowest points — to remember the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Barack Obama has told residents of the city that they inspired the whole country and that they were an example of “when in the face of tragedy, good people come together to lend a hand.” On August 29, 2005, a category 3 storm with 127mph winds made landfall between Grand Isle, Louisiana and the mouth of the Mississippi River: Hurricane Katrina had arrived in the American South.The southern U.S. city of New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, is seeing back-to-back-to-back visits by U.S. presidents: current President Barack Obama on Thursday, former President George W. Bill Haber and another AP photographer, the late Dave Martin, had been shooting around the city during the storm when they noticed water bubbling up from the sewers — an ominous sign of the flooding to come.

Driving out toward eastern New Orleans where they’d heard the inundation was intense, they stopped on an overpass from which they could see Canal Street. Many became victims of wage theft and still haven’t gotten paid for the work they did to help rebuild New Orleans—even 10 years after the storm. “The word was that there was a huge demand for workers to help with the reconstruction efforts,” said Santos Alvarado, an immigrant from Honduras who has temporary protected status in the United States.

Visiting New Orleans for the ninth time as President, Mr Obama went first to Treme, the historic black neighbourhood deluged during Katrina and later memorialised in the HBO drama Treme. The Bush administration was roundly criticized in the days following Katrina for a slow emergency response to the thousands of people needing shelter, supplies and security amid the flooding.

A series of faux pas — from flying over flooded New Orleans first on Air Force One to his “Heckuva job, Brownie” quip in support of then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael Brown— marred his personal record. Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University and author of “The Great Deluge,” a detailed account of the first days after Katrina, said the catastrophic hurricane became a “confluence of blunders” from which Bush would not recover.

The first time he left the city, he thought to himself that he wouldn’t go back: “But after you get out you think about it a little bit and you realize that all your friends and co-workers are still down there slugging it out and they’re sticking it out so you want to go back for them.” A decade later, he’s happy with the progress the city has made and aware of the importance of the photos he and others took. Obama, on his 10th visit to the coastal city, called New Orleans’ recovery a model for the nation in urban innovation and disaster response and resilience. More than $14 billion has been spent to reinforce levees. “We are going to see more extreme weather events as the result of climate change, deeper droughts, deadlier wildfires, stronger storms,” he said. “That’s why, in in addition to things like new and better levies, we have also been investing in restoring wetlands and other natural systems that are just as critical for storm protection.” Prior to his speech Thursday, Obama and New Orleans Mayor Landrieu walked through the historic African-American neighborhood of Treme, home to jazz legends. Bazemore covered the Mississippi coast, where the heart of the storm came ashore and scraped miles of homes off the map. “You could see where the water came up and pushed them off their foundations,” he said. Bazemore arrived in Gulfport before the storm and stayed for a couple of weeks, spending much of that time alongside Jackson-based reporter Holbrook Mohr, known as Bert. “We were living in a hotel with no running water or electricity for a while,” Bazemore said. “Most of the time, we slept in our clothes in the car in the parking lot.” He went to visit the Biloxi neighborhood where his step-grandfather used to live. “It was completely gone.

Nothing that resembled homes, just the frames.” One day, “I had gone out earlier and shot a picture of a guy wading through the sometime chest-deep water with a dog. Both looked miserable,” Bazemore recalled. “He told us he lived back where it was all flooded and there was one rowboat to get ‘all those ladies and children’ out.” “When we saw those women getting into that beat up old boat and the expressions on their faces, it was a situation we kind of lucked up on, but we worked hard to get into. Of the 218 workers that the group interviewed in New Orleans during the summer of 2006, almost half – 47 percent – said they didn’t receive all the pay they were owed and 55 percent said they didn’t received overtime pay.

Since Katrina, New Orleans has become a living experiment for a city-wide charter system, with many schools reporting greater diversity and steady academic gains. Workers are also given the opportunity to meet with law students and staff attorneys to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit against an employer. But also troubling, she said, are the stories of Latino immigrant workers who were injured on the job and didn’t get medical care or those who were harassed by employers when they demanded to get paid for their work. “For 10 years, we’ve heard horrible stories of contractors dehumanizing their workers,” she said. “And the truth of the matter is, if you took the Latino presence out, this city would not have recovered the way it did.

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