Hurricane Katrina

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Report: Dennis Quaid to play George W. Bush in Katrina: American Crime Story

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 7:21 PM


Actor Dennis Quaid is the latest high-profile name to join the cast of Katrina: American Crime Story, producer Ryan Murphy's limited series examining the days after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Quaid will play President George W. Bush.

Previous cast announcements have included Annette Bening as former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Matthew Broderick as hapless FEMA head Michael "Brownie" Brown.

The series is set to air on FX in 2018.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Remembering Bill O'Reilly and his Hurricane Katrina remarks

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 2:00 PM

  • Bill O'Reilly.
In the long list of inane — not to mention assholic — remarks made by political pundits following Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, those of now-former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly surely make the Top 10:
Many, many, many of the poor in New Orleans are in that condition [dependency]. They weren't going to leave no matter what you did. They were drug-addicted. They weren't going to get turned off from their source. They were thugs, whatever. ... It's the absence of personal responsibility, which the government can not force you to be responsible, not in a free society.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Report: Matthew Broderick to play Michael "Brownie" Brown in American Crime Story: Katrina

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 2:28 PM

  • Matthew Broderick.

Actor Matthew Broderick has been cast as hapless FEMA head Michael "Brownie" Brown in American Crime Story: Katrina, according to reports. Broderick joins the previously announced Annette Bening, who will play then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The production, which will air in 2018 on FX, is set to begin filming in Louisiana later this year.

Brown now hosts a radio show based in Denver. He wrote a book based on his experiences at FEMA, Deadly Indifference, and had his ass handed to him on a plate by Stephen Colbert on a 2011 edition of The Colbert Report.

Heckuva job, Broderick!

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Annette Bening to play Kathleen Blanco in Katrina: American Crime Story

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 12:31 PM

Annette Bening, left, will portray former Gov. Kathleen Blanco in the miniseries Katrina: American Crime Story.
  • Annette Bening, left, will portray former Gov. Kathleen Blanco in the miniseries Katrina: American Crime Story.

The first bit of star casting has been done for Katrina: American Crime Story, the miniseries sequel to The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story — and it's a big name: Annette Bening will take on the role of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, according to Deadline Hollywood:
Katrina: American Crime Story will tell the story of America’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Jacobson previously told Deadline the series would examine the neglect and disparity of care that followed the storm’s landfall on August 25 2005. “To explore these things from a character foundation, and to revel in the shades of grey — to explore moments in which there’s a disparity between the way our country wants to see itself and the way we actually are— that’s been a really inspiring perspective for us.”
(Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005, not the 25th.)

Filming on the project will be done here, so: yeah, we'll just set that down right here and let you decide how you feel about it.

The series is set to air in 2018 on the cable channel FX, according to Variety.

(Edited to add: One of our Facebook commenters noted that Bening could pretty much play Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — the resemblance in this photo is remarkable.)

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Jordan Flaherty on saviors, New Orleans, media and activism

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 11:59 AM

Jordan Flaherty's latest book, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, draws in part from his career as a reporter and TV producer — work that has taken him to sites of grassroots struggle around the world, but it's anchored in his home, New Orleans.

Mixed in with the movement for indigenous self-determination in Black Mesa and sex workers contesting the police state in Arizona are multiple local stories. Flaherty gives us a front-row seat for the cautionary tale of FBI snitch Brandon Darby, one of two white bros who came here from Austin and rose to power through Common Ground, living out the savior complex by launching a career at immense cost to the people he claimed to be rescuing and representing. On a more positive note, Flaherty also tells the story of the New Teachers' Roundtable, a New Orleans collective founded by three former Teach for America participants to push back against TFA and the charter school movement — educational "reforms" which function as a profitable large-scale weaponization of the savior complex.

The crux of this wide-ranging book is finding alternatives to activism's savior mentality, that hero model in which a person of privilege uses their genius or other exceptional qualities to "rescue" the less fortunate.

I came to Flaherty's book with wariness, braced for scolding — but instead found No More Heroes to be full of love and compassion, including towards those who fall into the traps of saviordom. 

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, the Community Book Center (2523 Bayou Road.) will host one of a series of book release events Flaherty has organized across the South, previewed here by Kat Stromquist.

Flaherty advocates going from "How can I be the single best white anti-racist activist with the sharpest critique / most specialized language / busiest schedule?" to "How can we find ways to bring more and more people into social justice work, from lots of entry points, to grow vibrant mass movements?" To clarify the answers, I sat down with Flaherty to discuss his book, journalism and activism.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

An open letter to Louisiana flood victims

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 5:48 PM


Dear Neighbors,

This time of year always evokes memories of Katrina, but this year those flashbacks are much more poignant for seeing the devastation that you are now enduring. As I look back on my Katrina experiences, I feel many emotions and recall many lessons. I’d like to share some of those lessons with you in the hope that they will help you get through the difficult times ahead.

• Recovery happens from the ground up. Government does not move quickly, though it was heartening to see FEMA doing a much better job with this flood than it did with Katrina. Thank FEMA head Craig Fugate and his team for that. Still, the best way to start the recovery is by picking yourselves up by your own bootstraps. That’s what we did — with the help of neighbors and strangers alike. You’ve already seen how that works. (Big hat tip to the Cajun Navy.)

• This tragedy is also an opportunity — to rebuild better, smarter, stronger. New Orleans did it in fits and starts, and with a lot of pain, but we did it. No doubt you will do it faster and, hopefully, even better. I say this as a way of offering hope, not in any way to minimize the human toll of this disaster.

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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

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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