Hurricane Katrina

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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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Report: American Crime Story: Katrina gets cast shakeup, drops Doug Brinkley source material

Posted By on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 4:25 PM

Sarah Paulson will play Dr. Anna Pou in American Crime Story: Katrina. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Sarah Paulson will play Dr. Anna Pou in American Crime Story: Katrina.

The third season of American Crime Story, which was originally planned to be based on historian Douglas Brinkley's book The Great Deluge, is having a major change of focus, according to a report this afternoon by Variety. The anthology series now will focus on the humanitarian crisis at Memorial Medical Center as described in Sheri Fink's book Five Days at Memorial.

Most of the previously announced cast, Variety wrote, has been jettisoned (Annette Being as then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco; Dennis Quaid as then-President George W. Bush; Matthew Broderick as hapless FEMA head Michael "Brownie" Brown), while Sarah Paulson now will star as Dr. Anna Pou, who has taken major exception with Fink's book and reporting.

Read Variety's report here.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

City and state officials announce meetings to address issues from Aug. 5 flood

Posted By on Sun, Aug 6, 2017 at 6:54 PM

A van drives through Mid-City floodwaters Aug. 5. - PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • A van drives through Mid-City floodwaters Aug. 5.

One day after a drenching flood that seemed to catch people, politicians, pumps and all of New Orleans by surprise, city and state officials announced investigations into municipal response, while Sewerage & Water Board president Cedric Grant insisted, "We are dealing with 8 to 10 inches of rain in three hours. It is not going to be able to pump that in an hour.”

Six members of the New Orleans City Council held a press conference this afternoon to announce a special council meeting for 1 p.m. Tuesday to "express their concerns and pose questions to the Sewerage and Water Board and appropriate City officials," according to a statement from the council.

City Councilwoman At-Large Stacy Head, who has been openly critical of catch basin and utility maintenance in recent weeks, was not at today's meeting and was said to be out of town. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is in Aspen, Colorado, for a security conference, according to Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni, and will be returning to the city Monday.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Editorial: It's hurricane season again. Tips for preparing

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 1:33 PM

A thermal image of Hurricane Sandy, the second most costly storm in U.S. history. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/ NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
  • A thermal image of Hurricane Sandy, the second most costly storm in U.S. history.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, even though the first named storm of the season (Tropical Storm Arlene) formed April 19, one of only two named storms to form in April since at least the 1960s. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center have forecast a second above-normal hurricane season for the Atlantic, with 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of which could become hurricanes and two to four Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes. But as we know in Louisiana, it only takes one.

Now is the time to review hurricane preparations and make sure friends, relatives and neighbors have a plan as well. The basics for “hunkering down” in a non-evacuation situation include bottled water (at least a gallon per person per day), ready-to-eat food, flashlights, a battery-operated radio (and extra batteries), baby supplies, pet supplies, wet wipes, a stash of cash, cellphone chargers (a portable power source for them is a good idea) and at least a week’s worth of necessary medication. For emergency fixes, a tool kit and contractors’ garbage bags are a good idea. A rule of thumb throughout hurricane season is not to let your gas tank go below half-full.

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