Most of this post is from a Blue Moose Democrat piece that highlights some good coverage of the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina but laments that we only pay attention to the still struggling-Gulf Coast on the storm's anniversary and ignore that suffering the rest of the year. For the most part I stand by that point, but before getting to it, it is worth noting two encouraging things the President said in his weekly raido address yesterday. First, I was planning to ask readers to write the President and ask him to visit New Orleans several months after the anniversary in order to create attention for the issue rather than piggy backing off anniversary attention - but he beat me to it, promising to visit New Orleans before year's end. Second, he pointed out in his speech that already this year, eleven of his Cabinet officers to the region to, as the AP puts it, "inspect progress and to hear local ideas on how to speed up repairs." Bravo. Maybe we finally have a government that pays attention - indeed, the new head of FEMA, Craig Fugate, is earning bipartisan praise for cutting through the red tape that held up recovery under Bush and Blanco. If only journalists and the nation would follow that lead. Anyways, here's the post as it was written before the radio address, highlighting some great links about the recovery and struggle:
This weekend is the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina reaching Category 5 strength. I got my start as a blogger because of Katrina, launching "Wayward Episcopalian" as a personal journal during the three months I worked for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response in 2006. My first foray into the liberal blogosphere started when I began cross-posting the blog's Katrina content to Daily Kos, MyDD, and Democratic Underground after returning to New Hampshire in January 2007.
Four years on, New Orleans and Mississippi are still struggling. The media will give this issue a fair amount of coverage over the next few days, but it's a shame they don't pay attention during the rest of the year. I'm a bit guilty of that myself, but it's because I covered it so much for so long that I burned out on the issue. And yet, my "Katrina fatigue" is nothing compared to the 12,000 people still homeless in New Orleans and living in abandoned buildings, twice the pre-storm homeless population. And my Katrina fatigue is nothing compared to the families who see devestation everywhere they look every day with no out and spend all day focused on battling their insurance companies.
I posted a brief recovery update at Wayward earlier this week which included a Morning Joe interview with Rep. Maxine Waters about her hearings in New Orleans and a Levees.org e-mail about Sen. Mary Landrieu asking the Pentagon to investigate the levee failures. In addition to that post, be sure to visit NPR.org to see maps, graphs, and four short but important videos showcasing abandoned neighborhoods and interviews with struggling locals - all forgotten by their nation. Yet while these videos show that neighborhoods, tourism, and employment are all suffering, they also showcase the fact that New Orleans is now one of the best cities in the county for college grads to find work in a struggling economy. (On a side note, this sort of extra content is EXACTLY the opportunity the Internet affords journalistic organizations like NPR and the New York Times, and I wish more people would take advantage of it - it's just as important as the stuff you hear on the radio or read in the actual paper.) When you're done at NPR.org, visit Climate Progress to read "The Storm of the Century (so far)," a quality history of the storm and a personal account of a relative in Pass Christian, Mississippi. And returning to NPR's bread and butter, the radio itself, here's a good story called "The Gulf Coast's Recovery: Uneven And Uneasy."
"I get up every morning and look this way," says Stephanie Bosarge, a longtime resident of Coden, Ala. "It's all gone. Everything's changed. That piece of slab there was our den, that's where we had all our Christmases."
Bosarge walks through the weeds on her family's property. She still lives just next to where her mother's house and the family's oyster business, Nelson and Sons Seafood, used to stand. The shop was over here, and as you see, what's left [is] the concrete slab," Bosarge says. "She had nine kids, and the majority of us all worked right back here at one time or other. It was the mainstay for the family."