Hurricane Katrina

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Barbara Bush, New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina: it's complicated

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 3:33 PM

Barbara Bush, in an official White House portrait in 1992. - WHITE HOUSE PHOTO OFFICE/COURTESY GEORGE BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM
  • WHITE HOUSE PHOTO OFFICE/COURTESY GEORGE BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM
  • Barbara Bush, in an official White House portrait in 1992.

Barbara Bush, the former First Lady who died yesterday at 92, will be remembered for many things: her literacy campaign; her support of people with HIV and AIDS; and her fierce loyalty to her family. Encomiums to Bush have poured in from Democrats and Republicans alike, from President Donald Trump (who said scathing things about her during her lifetime) to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who said in a statement, “She was an incredible first lady who served alongside her husband with class, grace and dignity."

New Orleanians who lived through Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, however, also remember her much-quoted statement that she made to NPR's Marketplace after touring the Houston Astrodome and meeting with Katrina refugees:
"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this ... this is working very well for them."
Bush's statement was hardly the least sensitive delivered in those frightening, confusing days. Far worse was that of then-U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, who said, ""Given the abysmal failure of state and local officials in Louisiana to plan adequately for or respond to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans, and given the long history of public corruption in Louisiana, I hope the House will refrain from directly appropriating any funds ... to either the state of Louisiana or the city of New Orleans."

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Editorial: New Orleans prepares to turn 300

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 2:33 PM

A “NOLA 300” sculpture in New Orleans City Park. - PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • A “NOLA 300” sculpture in New Orleans City Park.

As 2017 comes to an end — and with the mayor’s race almost over and the New Orleans Saints ascendant again — you’ll soon be hearing about a major citywide initiative that will encompass much of the city’s cultural life in 2018: the tricentennial of the founding of New Orleans, or what city leaders are calling NOLA 300.

Tonight, WYES-TV premieres New Orleans: The First 300 Years, a two-hour documentary narrated by John Goodman exploring the city’s history (the program repeats at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23), and there’s a coffee table book of the same name by Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, with an introduction by historian Lawrence Powell. Yesterday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and more than a dozen local leaders held a symposium at the Orpheum Theater “to recount the past, discuss the present and envision the future of New Orleans.”
Commemorative, Instagram-worthy “NOLA 300” sculptures like the one pictured, near the Big Lake in New Orleans City Park, are going up around town, and even Prospect.4, the New Orleans art triennial that starts this month, draws inspiration from the city’s history. After Jan. 1, opera, ballet, theater, art exhibits and concerts celebrating New Orleans history will be staged all over town. The celebration will culminate in late April 2018 (while New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival visitors are in town) with a tricentennial interfaith service, a weekend for international guests and dignitaries at the restored Gallier Hall, and a citywide celebration April 22.

Naturally, all this will be a major tourism draw and a chance for New Orleans to once again shine in front of the world. But NOLA 300 has to be more than a clever bit of marketing if it is to be a true celebration of New Orleans. Making sure that the city’s entire history — the good and the bad, the accomplishments and the still-imperfect — will be the challenge.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Want to have lunch with Donna Brazile and ask her a few things? Next week's your chance

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Louisiana native Donna Brazile led the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. - CREATIVE COMMONS/TIM PIERCE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/TIM PIERCE
  • Louisiana native Donna Brazile led the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election.

Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) head (and New Orleans native) Donna Brazile is coming home next week to speak to the annual Independent Women's Organization (IWO) at the group's annual fundraising lunch.

Brazile has been in the news a lot in the last week, mostly regarding her recently published memoir about Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House. In it, she says the Clinton campaign controlled the DNC's fundraising, to the detriment of challenger U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Former Clinton staffers and many Democratic leaders dispute this.)

But it was one comment she made yesterday on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos that may raise some eyebrows in Louisiana in particular: that her experience at the DNC was worse for her than Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

An open letter to Houston: Hope and the kindness of strangers

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts. - TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD/CAPT. MARTHA NIGRELLE
  • TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD/Capt. Martha Nigrelle
  • Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.

Southeast Louisiana may have escaped the worst of Hurricane Harvey, but we’ll never shake the memory of Katrina and its aftermath. That’s why so many have Louisianans have rushed to repay the debt we owe Houston. In times of greatest need, we all depend on the kindness of strangers. And neighbors.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, Houston will need even more help. In addition to our dollars, we must offer hope and comfort where we can. In that spirit, I’m reprinting portions of a column I wrote last year — almost exactly a year ago, in fact — as an open letter to flood victims in Louisiana. The lessons we learned from Katrina still apply.

This time the letter goes to our neighbors in Houston:

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rodrigue Foundation reissuing Katrina Blue Dog print to raise money for schools affected by Hurricane Harvey

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 5:03 PM

A detail from We Will Rise Again.
  • A detail from We Will Rise Again.

In 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, the late artist George Rodrigue produced a "Blue Dog" painting showing the familiar canine with a red cross on its chest, floating on an American flag in a sea of water. Sales from that silkscreen print, We Will Rise Again, raised $700,000 for disaster relief, according to the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA).

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Today the GRFA and the Rodrigue family announced it will be re-releasing We Will Rise Again in a 2017 edition, with sales going to schools in Texas and Louisiana that have been damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

"We Will Rise Again shows the American flag covered with water," Rodrigue explained in 2005. "The blue dog is partly submerged, and its eyes, normally yellow, are red with a broken heart. Like a ship's SOS, the red cross on the dog's chest calls out for help."

The 27"x18" silkscreen prints will sell for $500. To learn more, visit the Rodrigue Foundation website.


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How New Orleans can help survivors of Hurricane Harvey

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 3:43 PM

PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. TIM PRUITT/TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD
  • PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. TIM PRUITT/TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD

So much water. So much pain. And so much ahead.

While all Americans can sympathize with Houston and southeast Texas in the wake in Hurricane Harvey, New Orleanians can truly empathize with what our neighbors are going through — 12 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina felled the federal levees and flooded our city. We remember all too well the feeling of helplessness in the face of nature. We also remember the hope that sprang from strangers providing aid and comfort in our time of such devastating need.

Let’s channel those memories — and those feelings — into action. We can’t all hitch up our boats like the Cajun Navy, but the main thing survivors of Hurricane Harvey need now is money. Lots of money. Here are several ways to give:

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New Orleans under flash flood watch as Harvey heads to Louisiana

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 10:45 AM

National Weather Service projection for Harvey as of Aug. 29.
  • National Weather Service projection for Harvey as of Aug. 29.

With up to 4 inches of rain forecast in New Orleans as Tropical Storm Harvey slowly moves into Louisiana, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged residents to stay home and off the roads Tuesday, Aug. 29. Some parts of the city got as much as 6 inches of rain yesterday, and a flash flood watch remains through Thursday, as Harvey is expected to move eastward then tick north by Wednesday night.

The city braces for the possibility of more flooding following Aug. 5 floods and the recently publicly revealed compromised pump system. Sewerage & Water Board reports 107 of 120 pumps "are available to be operational in the event of heavy rainfall," according to the city.

Meanwhile, a banner hanging outside pump station No. 1 reads, "I think I can, I think I can."

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Monday, August 28, 2017

New Orleans restaurants, bars host Harvey relief events

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 3:33 PM

On August 29, several New Orleans restaurants will host a gift card drive to help victims of flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. - PHOTO BY BRANT KELLY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • PHOTO BY BRANT KELLY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • On August 29, several New Orleans restaurants will host a gift card drive to help victims of flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

As Hurricane Harvey continues to dump rain on the Gulf Coast and flood waters continue to rise, New Orleans chefs, restaurateurs and bar owners are joining forces to help donate to victims affected by the flooding in Texas.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco says Texas lacked 'sensible evacuation formula' for Harvey

Posted By on Sun, Aug 27, 2017 at 5:24 PM

Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco says Texas had not "developed a sensible evacuation formula" before Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco says Texas had not "developed a sensible evacuation formula" before Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast.
As the slow-motion disaster known as Tropical Storm Harvey goes on, there's already finger-pointing going on as to the wisdom of evacuating the Texas Gulf Coast and counties up to Houston. A Daily Beast report focuses on the mixed messages being sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who on Friday advised Houstonians to evacuate, while Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and emergency officials called the storm a "rainmaker" and said "In Harris County: very limited to select communities. LOCAL LEADERS KNOW BEST.”

The Daily Beast also quotes former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who was in office during Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, as saying "It's not apparent to us watching that they have developed a sensible evacuation formula":

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Second line and rally to commemorate 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 11:05 AM

Mardi Gras Indians participated in a healing ceremony at the site of the Lower 9th Ward levee breach during the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Mardi Gras Indians participated in a healing ceremony at the site of the Lower 9th Ward levee breach during the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Update: The event has been postponed to Sunday, Sept. 3 due to rain from Tropical Storm Harvey.

A memorial march will transform into a second line as it moves from the Lower 9th Ward to the 7th Ward on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures.

Hip Hop Caucus, New Orleans Katrina Commemoration Foundation, Nuthin But Fire Records, Q93.3-FM, People’s Climate Music, social aid and pleasure clubs and other community groups host the event beginning 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29.

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