Hurricane Katrina: Graphic - What Went Wrong The Washington Post produced a timeline tracking Hurricane Katrina's path and listing the federal, state and local responses to the storm before and after it hit the Gulf Coast (updated thru 10/05)
Katrina's Aftermath -- Accountability This collection showcases Washington Post reporting on the debate over the government's response to the Gulf Coast Hurricanes and pre-storm planning. (updated thru 10/05)
You've got to hand it to this storm. Tropical Storm Ernesto is nearing hurricane strength as it nears landfall on the Carolina coasts. Hurricane Hunters on recon this aftermoon found winds of up to 67 mph and a central pressure of 991 mb, which is only 1 mb lower than when Ernesto was a hurricane just shy of Haiti. Radar animations do not reveal an eyewall has formed but spiral banding and rainfall intensity is increasing. Because Ernesto is so close to landfall it won't be any stronger than a category 1 hurricane as it moves across the border of the South Carolina/North Carolina coasts.
Publisher's note: The following post was submitted by friend and Rennaissance woman, Michele Fry. Michele also generously shared her photo-journal of Katrina's damage to Slidell/Mandeville, Louisiana and Waveland, Mississippi at this post.
The other day there was a special CNN report on the new Girl's Leadership School that Oprah has opened in Kenya. It was an hour long report of how she designed the school, worked with the architects to realize her vision, interviewed all the girls, and selected the teachers.
The program ws 100% positive information for a full hour about what she's been doing with her time and money to solve the social problems she sees. It was all about vision and generosity and independence. It made me feel absolutely wonderful. It also made me realize how we are so inundated with bad news 24-7 despite all the good news and heroic, heartwarming things that happen every single day -- it has to make a difference in our depression level and mistrust of one another.
I yearn to hear about the manufacturers who keep on making those FEMA trailers, and building all that heavy equipment. The driver training schools where folks learn to operate the heavy equipment. How the Corps of Engineers is on the job every day figuring out new solutions. How the government is finally reviewing it's ability to respond quickly, and getting rid of red tape. How did we get all the red tape in the first place? Wasn't it to appease a public screaming for "accountability"? How do we weigh the cry for accountability against the need to be nimble?
These questions keep percolating through my mind. Are private institutions and individuals doing anything to help themselves? Would things be better if we depended less on government? What if private groups and organizations decided to take matters into their own hands, like Oprah did? Is anyone doing it? This is supposed to be the great American experiment, where free enterprise comes up with solutions faster and better than any other system. Who is singing about that? Who says federal government has to resolve all our problems?
I mentioned to a friend of mine the other day that a light bulb needed changing at public facility. She said, "they'll have to put in a work order, which will take 2 weeks to process, so I'll just bring a few light bulbs and we can change it ourselves!!!"
One of the most damaging effects of Katrina, to me, is the notion that people are helpless and the federal government is responsible for saving everyone from every disaster. This mentality has been successfully projected onto the whole country now, discussed and accepted as a given, undisputed by any voice I've heard. We are all reduced to helpless children. We are supposed to just stand in line and sign papers and wait to be assisted. We have psychologically given up our power, and given it all to government. Bye, Bye America. The experiment of freedom is over.
We fear. We doubt. We are oppressed by all the bad news. How to turn that around? For me, focusing on<as much good news as possible, and as often as possible, without being an ostrich, sounds like a wonderful, uplifting plan.
Radar out of Charleston shows Ernesto is steadily re-organizing and could be a strong tropical storm with a partial eyewall and winds of up to 65-75 mph when it makes landfall. Hurricane Hunters report the pressure has dropped to 996, which as Dr. Jeff Master's points out, is "not far from Ernesto's 990 mb pressure it had when it was a hurricane with 75 mph winds south of Haiti".
On another note, two Pacific storms are worth a mention here. Hurricane John, a dangerous cat 3 hurricane is just 100 miles off the coast of Mexico, while Loke, a borderline category 4/5 super typhoon, is hanging on as possibly the longest lived category 4 hurricane on record.
I envision us building an incredible city that is so livable, so unique with all the New Orleans wonderful things that everybody appreciates, that everybody is going to want to come( Ray Nagin)
The following is from an editorial at Wisconsin's Appleton-Post Crescent sadly proclaiming the lack of a cohesive vision for building the city of New Orleans...
"Bureaucracy and politics have triumphed over hope and the human spirit, at least for now, as a lack of leadership and clear planning has left the city spinning its wheels...On Sept. 11 last year, we called for a Rudy Giuliani figure to emerge in New Orleans, someone who would step forward and lead the city out of the rubble of catastrophe the way the New York mayor did after the World Trade Center fell in 2001. We offered names from Nagin all the way up to President Bush. No one seems to have filled that role".
On the heels of a recent post focused on the national/global media's inability to grasp the true situation in New Orleans, this one is the exception. While it doesn't paint a pretty picture, nevertheless for an accurate depiction of the state of affairs in NOLA, it's a good read. Check it out here.
I became a newsman because I believe in the power of well-crafted words and images to bring compelling stories to life. Katrina deepened my pride in the profession's potential to do good. In the confusing days after last year's storm, as I watched colleagues risk their lives to bring the news of the devastation to an anxious world, their sacrifices renewed my sense that in humanity's dark hours, the work of the storyteller can be a high calling. (Danny Heitman, The Christian Monitor)
Baton Rouge journalist Danny Heitman absolutely nails it in this excellent opinion piece at the Christian Science Monitor. Writing on behalf of New Orleanians who complain "that even after months of coverage by TV, print, and Internet outlets, the full dimension of the disaster has somehow eluded the media's yardstick", he paints a poignant word picture of what it's like to stand in the eerie silence of devastated neighborhoods, "completely emptied by the flood waters".
He writes, "the senses numb at the horrifying redundancy of such destruction, which is a kinder way of saying that the long-term aftermath of a disaster can be quite boring". Heitman's words really strike a chord for me. I have the same impressions when visiting these abandoned communities, and even when I am here in Baton Rouge, far removed from the endless trail of flooded out homes, there are days when my soul revolts against having to cover the disaster anymore.
On those days, thinking, reading and writing about Katrina recovery invites me to feel as though I am the poor, merciless victim of a chinese water torture - drip...drip...drip...drip...drip...drip...boring...boring...boring...boring, or so goes my internal chatter. For as Heitman so succinctly points out, recovery is slow, recovery is painful, and truth be told it isn't very interesting most of the time.
Assessing that the global media has been unable to capture the "monotony of existence in post-Katrina New Orleans", and "the dry continuum that a recovery from disaster can be", Heitman concedes that "to ask a news organization to cover boredom presents a paradox that even journalism, with all its logistical and technological magic, cannot fully resolve". I suppose asking bloggers to do it can be equally as precarious.
While it may be true that the global media has failed to capture the essence of the Katrina disaster, I can assure you Danny Heitman hasn't, as is true for many local reporters - and yes even bloggers - who are living at the epi-center of a something so incomprehensible that one really does have to be immersed in it to fully "get" it.
Heitman's op piece does go a long way in explaining what it's really like over in New Orleans, and while its not the focus of his story, not to forget the Mississippi Gulf Coast too. Speaking of the media, did anyone from the fourth estate even show up there for the anniversary? After perusing hundreds of articles from across the web, I noted an absence in coverage of the Mississippi anniversary experience. If the folks in NOLA say they're forgotten, how about those poor souls along the gulf coast?
At any rate, Heitman's piece is a damned good read, so be sure and check it out here.
I am curious. At the end of the day, is the NHC going to continue to classify Ernesto as a hurricane? The storm didn't maintain 'cane status for very long and has spent most of its short life as a tropical storm. I've tagged it as 'cane in the category section of this blog, but every time I see that label I bristle a little. At this moment in time Ernesto doesn't seem very worthy of the title.
At any rate, the storm has been downgraded again to a TD. While some re-strengthening is possible as it makes its way up the Atlantic, expect no more than a Category 1 hurricane, if that.
With peak winds of only about 45 mph, Ernesto never quite got it together in time for its south Florida landfall. The area will experience periodic heavy rains, but nothing major. As Ernesto continues to move across Florida, the storm is expected to re-emerge into the Atlantic where it will strengthen over warm waters. It is expected to be a cat 1 hurricane or less, depending on whether it makes landfall on the South Carolina, or North Carolina coast.
Margaret Saizan is a digital media producer, visual arts rep & vision strategist. Her mission is to inspire new vision through transformational media and communications.
Paul A. Greenberg Paul A. Greenberg teaches journalism at Tulane University in New Orleans. He also writes for a number of local, regional and national publications. Greenberg has been chronicling post-Katrina New Orleans since five days after the storm.
Maida Owens Ad director of the Louisiana Folklife Program Owens has curated exhibits & websites, authored & edited books & articles, produced videos, & created educational materials on Louisiana’s many traditional cultures.
Matthew White White has photographed every notable location on the La. coast. His photos and essays capture a landscape touched by and triumphing over catastrophe
Yoshio & Keiko Toyama Japanese Jazz Musicians and Co-founders of The Wonderful World Jazz Foundation which aids musicians in New Orleans.
Rick Portier As a TV photog in Baton Rouge Rick's been telling stories all of his life - Here are some of his!
Carol McClelland, PhD Transition expert focused on helping people get back on their feet after their lives have been turned upside down by natural disasters.
Making Change For Katrina National citizen-driven fundraising campaign to collect spare change to benefit the victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. The recipient is Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds simple, decent housing for people in need.
Emergency Communities a grassroots, on-the-ground relief effort using compassion and creativity to provide for those worst effected by disasters.
Sister City Support Network We are one city assisting one other city in its long term effort to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by: networking within our community, with other towns who embrace Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi as a sister city, and most importantly, with locals who live in Bay Saint Louis.
Levees.org grass roots effort to petition President Bush to build stronger levees. Excellent resource with facts related to Louisiana levees
Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana The failed levees in New Orleans are just a symptom of this larger problem.While reasons for Louisiana's coastal erosion may be more complex than levees, they are part of the problem that has a solution.
Alternate ROOTS artists, activists, and culturalworkers supporting constructive self-determination by affected communities as they begin the process of healing and rebuilding & assistance for artists & cultural workers affected by the hurricane.