Once in the city, the Corps patched the levees and pumped the water out. Thousands of utility workers converged on the city clearing the streets, restoring power, water, and phone services. Firms with FEMA no bid contracts brought in thousands of Latino's with chainsaws.
One month after Katrina the still flooded city
was threatened by Hurricane Rita, but that storm veered west, causing a
panic in Houston before slamming into southwest Louisiana near Lake
In September the President appeared in Jackson Square at the heart of the empty city and pledged "...we will do what it
takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their
communities and their lives. And all who question the future of the
Crescent City need to know: There is no way to imagine America without
New Orleans, and this great city will rise again."
Later in the year Hurricane Wilma and then the storm dubbed
Alpha, because all the names for 2005 had been used, threatened briefly.
The season didn't end until 2006 when tropical storm Zeta which had
formed on December 30 dissipated on January 6. In the end, 2005 was
the most active year ever for storms. But it wasn't the last year for
storms, and in 2008 Gustav caused another evacuation before hitting
Cocodrie, and Ike threatened before heading west like Rita.
Reconstruction remains slow and uncertain. Leadership is lacking. The land use controversy remains mired in politics as group after group tries to convince the citizenry that some low lying areas aren't worth rebuilding. Funding for critical infrastructure repairs is being withheld. Wetlands are not being restored. Flood control remains the dominant issue of the recover
y. If we can provide adequate flood control we can stay, otherwise lets pack up and move out before the next event drives us out. Real protection will require the wetlands and barrier islands to be restored. The Corps of Engineers needs to add ecology to its bag of tricks, engineering alone won't make us safe.
The Mayor remains committed to an unrealistic policy of "Rebuilding Everywhere First."
The Governor is continuing to work at the same doggedly determined (and incredibly slow) pace she always has. The President has other problems on his mind. Consulting groups, commissions and experts of all types are planning a bright future, but all are assuming there are more sources of money to be tapped. Other forces are quietly saying that it just isn't worthwhile to rebuild.Watch the video to get an idea of how its going after two years.
The real recovery action continues at a snail's pace, one house at a time. Everything is urgently needed, more expensive and more difficult to accomplish than before the storm. We are making progress.