UC Berkeley still volunteers to rebuild New Orleans, 10 years after Hurricane …

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Katrina Q&A: New Orleans before and after the historic storm.

A: New Orleans was – and still is – a popular destination for tourists, known for its unique cuisine, music and arts, and, of course, Mardi Gras. NEW ORLEANS – The vibrant sounds of brass bands and buskers echo through the streets of New Orleans ten years after the birthplace of jazz was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast 10 years ago, she inflicted major pain on the touring industry in that region, but a decade later live music in the region is thriving. But it has also been historically wrought with challenges: Public schools were some of the worst in the country; the murder rate was among the highest in the USA; there was deep-seated economic disparity between races; and the city’s population had been on a steep decline for nearly a half-century. The market is on solid footing these days and has, “bounced back very strongly,” says veteran promoter Don Fox, founder of New Orleans-based Beaver Productions, whose offices on West Harrison St. in New Orleans were flooded during Katrina. “Now, everybody that is on tour is playing New Orleans.

The loss of neighborhood clubs and an increased emphasis on tourism has shaped the opportunities for musicians and the types of music they play, he said. All of the major theaters have reopened and are doing great business.” Several venues were flooded or nearly destroyed by Katrina, but none are more symbolic of both the misery Katrina brought, nor the resiliency of those left in its wake, than the Mercedes Benz (commonly known as Louisiana) Superdome. Most of the deaths came in low-lying areas such as the Lower Ninth Ward, where the collapse of the federal levees led to floods that overwhelmed homes. The Superdome was only meant to play a small role in the Katrina saga by hosting 850 special needs hospital patients, but was designated a “refuge of last resort” by public officials the day before Katrina hit. McGoey run the chain in exchange for an ownership stake? “I say proudly but not braggadociously that we are the largest-growth restaurant company in the city, post Katrina,” said the 50-year-old Mr.

Saturday marks the 10-year anniversary of the devastating storm that ravaged New Orleans and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in more than 1,200 deaths. McGoey, wearing jeans, Prada glasses and a mulberry-colored blazer at the bar of his Legacy Kitchen on Tchoupitoulas Street in the city’s hip warehouse district.

For a handful of athletes that Yahoo Sports spoke to about the tragic events, much of their Katrina stories revolve around the immediate and/or lasting impact the hurricane had on their families, particularly their parents. Here’s a brief collection of tales of the hardship and triumph experienced by an NBA rookie, NFL rookie, two NFL veterans and a retired NBA player with ties to New Orleans: “I never really talk about it. Stranded citizens were brought in by helicopters, boats, and high-water vehicles from rooftops or wherever they were stranded, and the Superdome became the focal point of Katrina.

Eighteen “essential” SMG employees, backed up by total of 225 staffers (and their families) from SMG and concessionaire Centerplate, also sought refuge at the Superdome and were pressed into service, along with about 375 National Guardsmen. Lacy, 25, has done his best to tuck away his teenage memories about that Sunday night in 2005 when wind, rain, terror and fear ripped through the family’s Gretna, La., house and left it for naught. As power went out, 70 percent of the Superdome roof was lost, and water poured into “every nook and cranny of the building,” evacuees were faced with no functioning toilets, no HVAC, massive mold growth, no trash removal, and rapidly deteriorating conditions. In the years since the storm forced out about half the metropolitan area’s residents, the population has rebounded to 1.25 million people, 90% of its pre-Katrina level.

But as the $135 billion rebuilding winds down, federal employment data reveal a local economy increasingly skewed to low-wage jobs, especially restaurant work, one of the few sectors now employing more people than before Katrina. The economy is booming, a whopping nine million tourists visited last year, and there are scores of new festivals and venues offering work to local musicians. People were breaking into and occupying the suites, drinking the liquor, and having their way, there was no way to police all of that entirely,” Thornton recalls. “Most of these folks were just plain, hard-working citizens with their families.

Those jobs drag down average incomes, analysts say, widening the economic divide between whites, who are generally richer than before, and blacks, who aren’t. The rescue effort included local fire and rescue squads, boat teams from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Coast Guard and Navy helicopters and thousands of National Guardsmen, as well as neighbors in smaller boats. You had gang members, you had homeless people on the street, you had a cross-section of people thrust into a situation where they were trying to survive.

But the region lost 3,800 jobs in the year that ended in July, while most U.S. metropolitan areas of more than a million residents gained jobs, federal data show. Lacy’s family did what it could to survive, and though the family moved dozens of times to wherever it could safely stay for a while – going as far as Texas to have a temporary roof over its heads – it never permanently left the area. I would say we did the best that we could under the circumstances, and we may never know all the things that happened.” Six people died in the Superdome in the wake of Katrina, four of natural causes, one from an overdose, and one an apparent suicide. A: The federal government and Bush, who was president at the time of Katrina’s landfall, were criticized for a perceived lack of urgency in responding to the disaster and a general lack of leadership and mismanagement at the height of the crisis. In recent years, Frenchmen Street has transformed from the hipper alternative to Bourbon Street into a more tourist-friendly destination, where a well-lit outdoor market and a giant gourmet hot dog stand welcome visitors.

The family was not going to let a storm push it away from the place it knew was home. “I don’t know exactly what made them to decide to stay [near Gretna], but it was pretty much our only option because we didn’t have money to just go where they wanted,” Lacy said. “They had to bounce around in the area for a long time, live with people they knew. The city now has a greater proportion of white residents—about 31% compared with 27% before the storm—and the percentage of white families with top-tier annual incomes—more than $105,000—has risen to 30% from 25% a decade ago, according to the Data Center.

Bush was also criticized for surveying the city’s destruction from aboard Air Force One two days after the storm but waiting another week before visiting the devastated city. Just people looking out for one another.” When Lacy signed his $3.39 million rookie deal with the Packers, he knew what one of his first big purchases would be: a new home for his parents. New Orleans hasn’t yet become the high-tech mecca promised by the hopeful sobriquet Silicon Bayou or an economy transformed by entrepreneurs and artisans, among the dreams leaders espoused after Katrina. Bush later teamed up with former president Bill Clinton to create the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which has raised more than $130 million to support relief and long-term recovery efforts. Civic boosters these days trumpet the city’s new levees, revamped educational system and a new medical center that they hope will anchor a biotech corridor on Canal Street, the city’s main drag.

Musicians said that while tourism had a homogenizing effect on the music, the city’s changing demographics pose another threat to its penchant for improvisation. The black population has fallen by about 115,000 people, dropping from 68 percent of residents in 2000 to 60 percent in 2013, the latest census figures show. “We understand our position as musicians and culture bearers is to educate the younger ones so they can grab the torch,” he said. “Right now, we still have a lot more walking and torch carrying to do.” One that other people could come and stay whenever they needed shelter from any kind of storm, meteorological or metaphysical, that might be blowing through.

This was chance to make the Superdome a better place but also a chance to reset the dial for New Orleans, repair our school system, our hotels, our hospitals. Creating a diversity of jobs is “kind of the fundamental challenge, over time,” said Michael Hecht, president of Greater New Orleans Inc., the local economic development agency. Ada Livingston eventually departed New Orleans on a bus with other evacuees that took her to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio with a 2 a.m. arrival.

The city had to die to be reborn.” The road to recovery was a long one for the historic Saenger Theatre, a 2,800-capacity show palace on the Big Easy’s Canal Street. Restaurant employees in Louisiana eligible for tips make a minimum of $2.13 an hour in base pay, though their bosses are supposed to make up the difference to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour if customers are stingy. The Saenger, which opened in 1927, suffered four feet of water on its orchestra level and a completely flooded basement housing all mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems.

These workers in and around New Orleans made an average of $17,378 last year, not including cash tips, less than half of the region’s average pay of $48,437, said Raymond Brady, an economist and vice president of the New Orleans Regional Council of Business Economics. Presti quickly agreed to aid the Livingstons, but there was a challenge in finding a woman he never met amongst hundreds of evacuees. “I recall driving up to the base and seeing what looked like hundreds of yellow school buses,” Presti told Yahoo Sports. “I thought to myself, ‘How am I going to find this woman?’ It didn’t dawn on me the amount of people that would probably get evacuated to the same spot. That included the daunting two-year task of recreating the venue’s intricate painting scheme that created biggest challenge, a project that took itself took two years.

By the time Katrina hit, the local economy depended on tourism, government, small business and colleges; the two largest private employers were hospital chains. Presti kept in touch with her before she departed. “It’s one of those things that is way out of the scope of basketball,” Presti said about aiding the Livingstons. “It’s kind of makes you realize it’s a small community of people who are involved in it.” There were no NFL plans back then, not even college plans. The Saenger is tops in the nation in subscriptions for the Broadway Across America series, is so strong it’s No. 1 market for Broadway Across America, never the case before Katrina. Biloxi is home to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, which sits just across the Highway 90 from the Gulf, not an enviable position in hurricane season. Attracting young doctors is tough, he said, “though if you don’t mind potholes and broken sidewalks, everything else is delicious.” Employment losses have been masked somewhat by the boom in construction after Katrina.

While the number of workers employed in home-rebuilding projects are hard to track, those hired for major projects rose to 34,000 in 2006; the number has since dropped to 28,600, below pre-storm levels. Those are incredibly resilient people down there, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.” Waveland specifically was hammered by Katrina, and 3DD’s Better Life Foundation helped by purchasing three police cars and a fire truck to help with rescue efforts and supported rebuilding efforts for the area. The government tallied more than 33,000 jobs in scientific and technical services, which tend here to be in engineering and architecture, experts here say. With Wal-Mart, the BLF shipped down three semi-trucks full of supplies. “There was so much to be done there, I don’t know if we even put a dent in it,” Arnold says. “It was the least we could do.” And local firms are likely to benefit from the billions of dollars BP PLC has agreed to pay for wetland restoration after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The next day my dad turned on the news and we saw tragedy, people dying and people losing their houses, people losing their families through evacuation. Despite the crowds of visitors, there are about 2,000 fewer hotel jobs, which generally pay better than restaurants, despite hundreds more rooms, according to federal data. Only in the past eight months has the boom showed signs of leveling off, he said: “Quite a few new restaurants have opened, but an equal number have quit the business.” In prospering neighborhoods from the Garden District to Bywater, new restaurants offer Brazilian, Vietnamese, Cuban, tapas, Indian and vegetarian cuisine, just to name a few. The hospitality industry filled that void.” Matthew Fultz, a 36-year-old chef at Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar isn’t sure how long the boom will last. “Not to be a pessimist but the bubble’s got to burst at some point,” he said. “I mean, how many restaurants can you have? During a slow week in July, he made a total of about $300, which he described as “nothing but a smile.” He recently left to become a cook at another restaurant.

Robert Barnard is the 32-year-old sous chef at the Press Street Station restaurant that opened this year on the boundary of the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Tia Henry, age 36, studied biology at Xavier University, but with her contractor husband and his sister, she borrowed money to buy an old corner store in the Ninth Ward, near where her husband’s grandmother lived. Most of his belongings, including high school and college football jerseys and helmets, simply washed away in the storm. “You look back like, man, that’s crazy. Because I know the change, from living there,” said Clark, who started at left tackle for the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII two seasons ago. “Other people, like tourists, don’t understand it.

Henry said, in a break from her late-lunch customers. “I love it, it’s hard,” she said of the business, which is open seven days a week in a neighborhood where freshly painted houses square off with wrecked buildings and vacant lots. Clark heard the horror stories from them, of crimes being committed at the stadium and the people being packed in with what they felt like was little help from the city.

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