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Remembering Katrina

August 27, 2010

As I regularly monitor the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico for tropical trouble, thanks to the National Hurricane Center, I came across a few interesting and heartbreaking pieces on Hurricane Katrina and the long shadow it still casts on all of America five years later.

The big what-if: The San Antonio Current republished a New Orleans Gambit interview with Spike Lee about “If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don’t Rise,” his HBO documentary sequel to “When The Levees Broke.” Both multi-part films explore the history of New Orleans and the natural and political devastation its inhabitants endured in the days, months and years after Hurricane Katrina. “If God Is Willing” premiered this week on HBO.

‘We Knew the Story Was Not Done’: Newsweek also interviews Lee about the documentary. At one point, the filmmaker is asked if he thinks New Orleans residents will ever feel comfortable in their city again. Lee responds, “Still today, people are dealing with posttraumatic stress, especially kids, and this was five years ago. First of all, you can never feel 100 percent secure, because New Orleans is under sea level, and it’s in the direct path of storms during hurricane season. So it’s just a risk living there.”

Uneven Katrina recovery efforts often offered the most help to the most affluent: From the Washington Post: “In New Orleans, the massive government effort to repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina is fostering a stark divide as the state governments in Louisiana and Mississippi structured the rebuilding programs in ways that often offered the most help to the most affluent residents. The result, advocates say, has been an uneven recovery, with whites and middle-class people more likely than blacks and low-income people to have rebuilt their lives in the five years since the horrific storm.”

New Orleans’ Lower Ninth: Katrina’s Forgotten Victim? From Time: “Only a fifth of the Lower Ninth’s 20,000 residents have returned to live since 2005, in no small part because of inadequate reconstruction funding compared to aid that homeowners in other New Orleans neighborhoods have received, and because of the slow pace of long-promised infrastructure and other community development projects.”

From the New York Times: Maligned FEMA Chief Visits New Orleans and Rumor to Fact in Tales of Post-Katrina Violence

And finally: Check out “Law and Disorder,” the latest Frontline TV documentary, which was produced in a partnership with ProPublica.org and the Times-Picayune, which each have their own excellent investigation packages devoted to the post-Katrina chaos. And then take a look at “The Storm,” Frontline’s first riveting look at Katrina and New Orleans.

(Photo from the Associated Press and the NOAA.)

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