Hurricane Katrina

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CNBC's American Greed season premiere to feature former Mayor Ray Nagin

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:03 PM

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The CNBC documentary series American Greed has its season premiere March 31 with an installment titled "Ray Nagin: New Orleans Shakedown."

The hourlong report, which begins at 9 p.m., will focus on Nagin's business dealings, including those with now-disgraced and jailed former tech whiz Greg Meffert. Also in the story: Stone Age Granite & Marble, the granite company Nagin ran with his sons. Nagin, who was convicted on federal corruption charges in February 2014, is serving a 10-year prison term in Texarkana, Texas.

Watch a preview:

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Orleans opens new coroner's and EMS facility

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 4:50 PM

City officials cut the ribbon marking the opening of a nearly $15 million joint office for EMS and the coroner — the first permanent home for both agencies in more than 10 years. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • City officials cut the ribbon marking the opening of a nearly $15 million joint office for EMS and the coroner — the first permanent home for both agencies in more than 10 years.

City officials cut the blue ribbon on a joint coroner's office and Emergency Medical Service facility on Earhart Boulevard and Claiborne Avenue, bringing both offices into a permanent home after years of trailers and other temporary digs.

"I know y'all like it better than that trailer," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

After Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, the Orleans Parish Coroner's office moved from its damaged headquarters to refrigerated trucks. EMS left its flooded headquarters on Moss Street to a string of makeshift spaces, from parking lots to trailers. Coroner Jeffrey Rouse, who was elected in 2014, said the office was operating in "difficult and quasi-adequate conditions."

Landrieu said the offices made due with "literally working in trailers" to ensure "the city recovered first." Rouse said the new joint facility and its design — a years-in-the-making $14.8 million project — "reflects the professionalism" of the staffs and will be "the envy of coroners around the country."

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

American Crime Story season 2 to focus on Hurricane Katrina

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Ryan Murphy, producer of American Crime Story and American Horror Story (seen in a file photo with actor Kathy Bates), says that season 2 of his crime anthology will be set in the days following Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods of New Orleans. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Ryan Murphy, producer of American Crime Story and American Horror Story (seen in a file photo with actor Kathy Bates), says that season 2 of his crime anthology will be set in the days following Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods of New Orleans.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, season 2 of the FX network anthology series American Crime Story will be set in the days following Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods.

Producer Ryan Murphy, who created Glee and the various American Horror Story installments (one of which was set in New Orleans), told the paper:
Murphy says the working plan is to follow a group of six to eight people in an attempt to examine all sides of the tragedy, from the Superdome in New Orleans to the hospital to those who were put on buses and dropped off with babies who had to wear trash bags for multiple days. "I want this show to be a socially conscious, socially aware examination of different types of crime around the world," he says on a rare quiet afternoon in his L.A. office in mid-December. "And in my opinion, Katrina was a f—ing crime — a crime against a lot of people who didn't have a strong voice, and we're going to treat it as a crime. That's what this show is all about."
No script has been written, but the producer hopes to begin filming this fall. Meanwhile, season 1 of American Crime Story — 10 episodes focusing on the media circus around O.J. Simpson's 1995 trial — will begin airing Feb. 2.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Katrina 10 closes with epic program featuring former President Bill Clinton

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 2:05 PM

John Boutte singing during the Katrina 10 commemoration at the Smoothie King Center Aug. 29. - ZACH O'BRIEN/UPTOWN MESSENGER
  • ZACH O'BRIEN/UPTOWN MESSENGER
  • John Boutte singing during the Katrina 10 commemoration at the Smoothie King Center Aug. 29.


Over the last week, the 10th anniversary of New Orleans has a tale of two narratives: the city’s official story of recovery and a newly heralded “resilience,” contrasted with media accounts describing the growing disparities from neighborhood to neighborhood.

In an attempt to bridge both those perspectives, former President Bill Clinton used his keynote address during Saturday’s commemorative ceremonies to call for a “new unity” in New Orleans, saying the city should both celebrate the progress made since the floods and rededicate itself to overcoming the deeply-rooted challenges that remain.

The foundation-funded “Katrina 10″ program heavily featured the images that have predominated the city’s messaging since the storm: Mardi Gras Indians and John Boutte, Soledad O’Brien and charter schools, Cafe Reconcile, AmeriCorps and Circle Food Store (one of only six black-owned groceries in the country, said owner Brooke Boudreaux). Eight leaders representing the city’s major faith groups — Catholic and Protestant, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism — offered prayers in a variety of New Orleans accents as well as in Spanish, Hebrew and Vietnamese. Bishop Darryl Brister of Beacon Light International asked for guidance seeking meaning in suffering, and the Rev. Elizabeth Lott of St. Charles Avenue Baptist prayed that injustice not be dismissed as a “quirk” of New Orleans.

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Y@ Speak: 10 years and some days later

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 12:30 PM

If Twitter was around 10 years ago, what would New Orleans look like today? (I got in touch with friends and family through, um, Livejournal back then; Facebook wasn't really helpful.) Last week was most definitely a week. We talked about it, listened, goofed around, then Lil Wayne came home, we walked a lot, then cried a lot, then Thomas Morstead ended it appropriately by puking in a trash can.

Because I can't fit it all on here: read Michael Grunwald's tweets on the frustrations of reporting on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all of the updates from Rising Tide X, and the story behind @skooks, in his words.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Memorials and second lines in New Orleans commemorate Katrina's 10th anniversary

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 4:40 PM

Several social aid and pleasure clubs led a march and second line from the Lower 9th Ward.
  • Several social aid and pleasure clubs led a march and second line from the Lower 9th Ward.

Before he led a procession of city, state and U.S. officials, all carrying wreaths, clarinetist Dr. Michael White performed "Amazing Grace" to a crowd gathered under a white tent nearby.

In marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and elected officials held a somber memorial for the lives lost in the floods, particularly the dozens of people interred at the memorial.

"They are not unclaimed, because we claim them," Landrieu said.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Community Voices Project asks longtime New Orleans residents to assess the city's recovery

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Victor Carter
  • Victor Carter


It's inevitable during anniversary periods for New Orleanians — especially those of us who lived the experience and survived — to feel bombarded to the point of overwhelmed with all the Katrina-related news stories and events this month.

For me, I figure if I’m going to be here enduring the chronic scab picking of our collective wound, I need to come up with an antidote to the memory of feeling so helpless and broken during those first early days, weeks, months... It was from this mindset that the Community Voices Project was born.

Ten years after the worst disaster our country has ever faced, New Orleans is alive and thriving due in large part to residents that banded together and worked tirelessly towards a recovery that would have otherwise failed had it been left up to government. In recognition of the community-driven, grass-roots fueled recovery,  Linda Usdin and I co-produced a video project called the Community Voices Project, which features native-born and longterm residents discussing the city’s recovery to date: what worked, what didn’t work and what steps we need to take going forward to help our city evolve further.

There are 15 interviewees, each answering the same set of questions:

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#BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza delivers keynote at Katrina memorial

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 10:57 AM

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#BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza told a packed audience at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center that despite the city’s largely positive message of recovery during the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, there exists a “tale of two cities.”

Garza helped coin the hashtag and phrase, which has gained traction worldwide, in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. She delivered the keynote speech for “Katrina 10 Year Memorial: Equity, Justice and Black Leadership for New Orleans” on Aug. 27.

Garza, special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said Katrina and the levee failures were another chapter in the country’s “storm of structural racism and violence.” The government’s failure to protect black lives as infrastructure crumbled and levees collapsed, as well as its failure “to bring people home,” are among the “most defining moments of my generation,” she said.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Michael Brown absolves himself of Hurricane Katrina blame in Politico editorial

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 11:17 AM

MICHAEL BROWN: FEMA’s nimble. We’re only 2,500 people. We can move on a dime.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Uh-huh. And what dime were you standing on during the hurricane?
 — From Brown's 2006 appearance on The Colbert Report

You thought we could get through Katrinapalooza week without hearing from Michael "Brownie" Brown? Dream on. The disgraced former FEMA head, who now has a radio talk show in Denver, weighed in with his usual chorus of "It Wasn't Me" on Politico this morning:
People are still saying now, as they said then, that what went wrong in New Orleans a decade ago was all my fault. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now. There were many dark moments in those three weeks on the Gulf Coast, and FEMA and the federal government certainly made some mistakes, but perhaps the worst part was being held responsible for the things that I didn’t control at all.
If you've heard Brownie revise history over the years, there's little new here, except a new chorus of blaming the media (of which, it should be pointed out, he's now a member). "My mishandling of the press during the disaster response was among my greatest mistakes," he writes, citing CNN's Anderson Cooper and Time magazine as two of the worst offenders.

His conclusion? Cut down the size of federal government (of which, it should be pointed out, he was an employee):

Today government needs to affirmatively reassert its commitment to the all-hazards approach to disasters. Whether a disaster is man-made, natural or the result of terrorism, the response is the same. And the federal government must not become a first responder. The more state and local governments become dependent upon federal dollars, the weaker and more dependent upon the federal government they will become.

Why is that important? Disasters happen every day. The federal government should be involved only in those disasters that are beyond the capacity of state and local governments to handle. Centralized disaster response at the national level would destroy the inherent close relationship between citizens and those who save their lives and protect their property in times of everyday disasters. We must not allow that to happen.
Those who want more Brownie on Brownie can listen to his talk show Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. New Orleans time, where he promises more hot takes and hard truths.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

World's largest second line set for Katrina anniversary

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Rapper Dee-1 joins a march and rally to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, along with Wild Wayne, Mia X and other artists and community organizations. - KOWARSKI/FLICKR
  • KOWARSKI/FLICKR
  • Rapper Dee-1 joins a march and rally to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, along with Wild Wayne, Mia X and other artists and community organizations.

Among the dozens of 10th anniversary events commemorating Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures is one annual event that promises to have its biggest, most important year yet. An annual second line and interfaith prayer service that begins at the site of the Lower 9th Ward levee breach will be the "world's largest," according to organizers, highlighting the needs and injustices still faced by low-income New Orleanians and people of color despite the "progress" championed in the Katrina narrative.

The event — presented by the New Orleans Katrina Commemoration Foundation, Hip Hop Caucus, Nuthin But Fire Records, Q93, People’s Climate Music and Sierra Club — will honor the lives lost during Katrina, calling on city, state and federal officials to fight for racial and economic justice and to recognize Aug. 29 as a local and state holiday, as well as global action on addressing climate change.

"This will be the people's march," said Hip Hop Caucus president Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. "We believe demonstration without legislation leads to frustration."

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